Pulled pork is a key ingredient in smoked grilled food. But how do you make sure the leftovers are just as good the next day? Here’s how to reheat pulled pork while keeping it juicy, tender and delicious.
The pulled pork is lovely . The top of the pork shoulder (also called “butt”) comes from a large piece of meat. That means you get plenty of tasty, juicy meat to use, but it also means there’s almost always plenty of leftovers.
Leftovers are great, but they can be tricky to reheat to the same level YOU cooked them on first.
In this article, I describe six of the best methods for reheating pulled pork and evaluate their effectiveness in preserving the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the meat.
How to reheat pulled pork on the grill
Besides good grilling, where else would I start?
When grilling, there are two main methods of cooking: one by smoking directly on the grill; the other smokes indirectly.
When roasting, the meat IS exposed to extremely high temperatures, which simply wicks the moisture out of the meat.
With indirect roasting, however , the meat is constantly cooked at a controlled rate, allowing it to retain all of the juices that made it delicious in the first place.
That’s exactly what we want.
If you have a charcoal grill, place the coals under one side of the grill. Turn it on and close the grill lid to increase the temperature to 107°C. Once you’ve reached your desired temperature, place the pork on the other side of the grill, away from the coals.
If you have a gas grill, simply repeat this by turning up a burner and placing the meat on one of your unlit burners.
Double wrap the pork in foil and add about 1/3 cup of water to the wrapper. Wrap it up and pin it in your indirect heat zone.
Once the meat has reached 70°C, remove the packaging from the grill and unwrap it. If you want to brown the meat quickly or give it a crust-like finish, place over direct heat for a few minutes.
How to reheat pulled pork in the oven
Though it’s not as quick as microwaving, reheating pulled pork in the oven is just as easy.
In fact, it’s also much healthier and more efficient at retaining moisture and flavor quality. It’s also especially useful when you need to reheat a large batch of pork.
Preheat the oven at 120°C. Cut off the remaining layer of fat from the cooled pulled leek and add a little apple juice if the meat needs more moisture.
Place the meat in an ovenproof container and a skillet lined with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 75°C.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
It should come as no surprise that using a crock pot is an excellent way to reheat pulled pork without losing much of its moisture or flavor.
The added benefit is that although it takes longer to cook, once it’s ready to serve, you can let it cook for a few hours before using it again.
Transfer the meat to the Dutch oven. Add the remaining meat juice and apple juice. Because of the long cooking time and the amount of steam the slow cooker releases, it’s important to add a bit more moisture here.
Place the crock pot on the heat and let it cook for a few hours. It is ready to serve once the internal temperature has reached 75°C.
How to reheat pulled pork with steam
This method might seem a bit unexpected, but steaming is a great way to slowly reheat food without drying it out or losing its juices.
You need a large pot and a steamer basket.
Place the pot on the stove and pour in a generous amount of apple juice. Place the steamer basket on the pot and bring it to a boil.
Place the pork in the steamer basket and steam for 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 75°C.
How to reheat vacuum pulled pork
A method often preferred in professional kitchens is the sous vide process, where we vacuum seal the meat before submerging it in boiling water.
The reason this method is so good is that by searing the meat we allow the pork to slowly come up to temperature as it cooks in its own juices.
Pour the juice over the meat before vacuum sealing.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Transfer the wrapped meat to the water and submerge.
Turn off the heat and let the meat cook. This should be done for 20-30 minutes or until the pig’s internal temperature reaches 75°C.
How to reheat pulled pork in the microwave
Okay, this might sound like a scam, but the quickest and easiest way to reheat meat is using a microwave.
Confidence in using a microwave comes at a price, however, as microwaved meat, especially high-quality meat that has been specially prepared, has a tendency to dry out and lose a significant portion of its flavor.
But when you’re in a hurry, sometimes there’s no avoiding it. So, here’s a way that limits the loss of quality you typically suffer from heating meat in the microwave.
After removing the top layer of fat from the juices, gently stir the pork to allow more of the unsolidified juices to penetrate further into the meat. This is important to retain moisture, so don’t skip this step. If you think you don’t have enough juice, add a few drops of apple juice to moisten the meat.
Transfer the meat to a microwave-safe container before microwaving. Heat over high heat for a minute before removing the meat. Heat for another minute and stir again. Take the temperature with a meat thermometer and point to an internal temperature of 75°C.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is beef jerky so bad?
Having to reheat meat can be the bane of any cook’s existence since it’s so easy to get it wrong and leave meat dry.
This is particularly annoying with smoked meat.
What makes barbecue smoking so beautiful is that it brings out the best in the meat. It has delicious juices stored in the fibers of the flesh; the fat has been rendered to create a sweet and salty taste; and its textures have been broken down to make it tender and juicy on the palate.
Losing this by improper cooking, which means losing everything that is perfect about cured meats.
Do you plan to serve pulled pork? In my guide you will learn how to calculate the perfect amount of pulled pork to serve .
What is the best way to store pulled pork?
Proper storage of meat will affect or affect the quality of your meat when it is reheated. So the process of reheating really starts the moment you finish cooking it for the first time.
After smoking and serving, collect leftovers and portion into plastic containers. You may only need one container or several.
In any case, after portioning, you should also pour the remaining juice and runoff from the meat into the bowls. This will help the meat retain its moisture and flavor after reheating.
Once you’ve portioned it out and poured over any leftover juices, close the container lids and place in the fridge for when you’re ready to serve the next day.
If you want to serve beyond that, stand in the freezer. Pulled pork can be frozen for up to 4 months.
Just a few final remarks. When the pork has cooled, the juice will form a layer of fat on top. It is recommended that these be removed prior to reheating as most forms of reheating do not get the most out of this layer of fat.
Finally, if you have decided to freeze your meat, I recommend thawing it and leaving it in your fridge overnight. This allows for safe thawing without BREAKING the meat vulnerable to the effects of bacteria.