Can I freeze pulled pork?
I'm due to give birth to our first child in a few weeks and I am cooking and freezing some meals in advance.
Can I freeze pulled pork? If so, should I freeze it in any remaining cooking liquid or chicken stock? I don't want to add any sauce to it before I freeze it because I want to use the pork in a number of ways (with BBQ sauce, in carnitas, etc).
Bonus question: any recommendations for cook-and-freeze meals beyond the usual soups and pastas?
Thanks in advance
I frequently freeze pulled pork with excellent results. I do not add in the remaining liquid or any other liquid as I have found the texture to get mushy during the thawing process. Another idea that freezes well is meat for tacos. I use ground turkey breast and add in taco seasonings, sliced black olives, chopped green chilies and salsa. Once cooked, it freezes and thaws well and can be used in lots of mexican inspired dishes. Congratulations in advance!
If you're smoking, do some chicken breasts as well. Freeze individually and thaw for eating on salads or tacos or something of that nature.
Enchiladas can freeze really well too.
Chili and just about anything else that's a stew can be frozen with good results.
Hot dogs and you can premake burgers and freeze as well.
I freeze it pulled and flattened in freezer quality Ziplocks. That way I can break it off to use in single- or two- serving portions. If it is fatty enough you shouldn't need any other liquid- and IMO it's better not to anyway, so you don't influence the flavor too much. My favorite uses for it are tacos and ramen.
Frozen onigiri- I've started taking these in my lunch. The site where I learned this technique has a lot of other great make-ahead freezer ideas:
Although wanting to freeze food ahead of time is great for saving money, it may not, in the long run, save you a lot of time and effort when caring for your new baby. (Congrats!!!) It takes a certain amount of effort and processing time to freeze food properly and safely. The pork is a good way to go though because you can use it dozens of ways. Another good way to go is freezing meats in marinades so you can pull them out in the morning and have a helper throw them on the grill for you while you make a pot of rice or warm up some tortillas. Easy!
No problem. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn, and you're good for weeks.
Agree with baseballfan about Mexican-inspired dishes, but unless you used a pretty distinctive spice rub, your pulled pork will be good for that, too. Tacos, enchiladas, etc. And last night we had leftover pulled pork stir-fried with black bean garlic sauce and cabbage. Today what's left of that will probably go into some fried rice.
I've had a lot of luck freezing braises and stews. I've found that if I'm going to be around and heating up the oven for a long braise, it's easy enough to make two or three different kinds at the same time. After the browning and prep, throw them all into the oven. Cool off when done and just put in the freezer.
Great to pull out the night before, either nuke or stovetop reheat, make some pasta, rice or bread to serve with it. Pretty low muss and fuss for a hearty meal.
I have heard from my friends with kids that something that can be eaten out of hand and/or eaten at various temperatures are great things to have in the freezer for new parents. so things like premade burritos that can be pulled out of freezer and nuked at any time, day or night. Empanadas or some other type of dough-meat pie thing in individual servings. quiche. assuming you're breastfeeding, there are certain things that may not work well for baby (like cabbage) but I am sure you have a baby book for that.
I would definitely freeze the pork in 1-2 person servings in a ziplock. I usually freeze with a little liquid because sometimes I think it dries out on defrosting.
Let me preface this by saying that I have a FoodSaver Which makes freezing "almost" anything a breeze.
Meatballs w/ sauce
Meatballs w/o sauce
Home made tomato sauce
Mac and cheese
Matzoh balls (if you're so inclined)
Hope this helps and best of luck.
I have a FoodSaver but don't use it ALL the time. For what you're describing, I'd take a "portion" and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Do the whole thing that way and put the packages in a locking bag. Best wishes.
Thanks to everyone for the input and suggestions. Fingers crossed the kiddo will stay put for a few more weeks so I can complete this project.
1) Yes, pulled pork freezes well. Add a little "juice" (either from the pork, pork stock, or chicken stock). Making sure all the air is out (food saver or squeezing flat a ziplock) is a key.
2) I've made and frozen all of these in the last 6 months:
"braised" chicken breasts, bone in, with onions and peppers. pull chicken off bone in large chunks after it's cooled down.
rice and beans (black) - gussied up with shredded cococut, meat, and red and green peppers.
shredded pork with sauteed mushrooms, stewed in pork stock. Froze it with a lot of juice, served over whole wheat pasta or polenta.
sausage and peppers; meatballs in sauce
while we're on italian, a bolognese sauce.
I've frozen (using a FoodSaver, but it should work with the ziplock version too) large chunks of roasted chicken, and later used it to make an easy "soup" with chicken broth, frozen tortellini, and the chicken (sort of a heartier tortellini en brodo)
2 pound chunk of beef brisket
2 pound chunk of porchetta (using a pork loin, roasted, and the porchetta seasoning recipe from the porchetta recipe in La Cucina Italiana, http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/r...)
a white bean "stew" using the bones from the porchetta above (it was a bone in roast), alone with a little of the diced porchetta. made for a very nice tuscan-ish white bean, one pot meal (with the addition of some carrots, onions, and celery, maybe a little white wine?).
the ubiquitous meatloaf
Lastly...Congratulations in advance!!!!!
Hope you still have time to nest, yes cooked pulled pork freezes beautifully, evne if you cook with a liquid and you pull before you freeze. I prefer to de-fat the pork, defat the cooking liquid and then repackage, cool and freeze. if you are just preparing enough for you and the spouse and aren't looking for long term storage, then you'll be fixe with freezer bags or plastic storage containers. Looking to take the storage out to 6+ months you'll want to be sure you remove as much air as possible to avoid the meat picking up an off oxadized fat flavor. Blech. Also taco soup is wonderful, makes vats of high protein, high fiber and low fat soup that reheats wonderfully. Have lots of peanut butter, cheese and crackers on hand too, you are going to need food to help you recover and, if at all possible, nurse, which takes calories. Good luck and healthy birthing!