Pulled pork is one of the greatest meal items you could possibly add to your arsenal. First of all, pulled pork tends to spread which means you can serve more meals and more people for fewer dollars.
If you aren’t using pulled pork on occasion you are definitely missing out. It’s a versatile meat that you can do a million and one different things with. Not only can you make multiple types of dishes but you can freeze it or refrigerate it and use it for days (or just again months down the road).
Can you eat pulled pork cold? Yes. There are a number of ways to eat pulled pork – hot, cold, and everything in between. As long as your pulled pork is sufficiently cooked initially to the proper temperature you can do whatever you want with it after that.
We’ve put together a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know about serving pulled pork, the best ways to cook it, and some ideas for using it cold. In the end, you will find this guide to be useful for many things pulled pork, but most importantly for eating it cold.
Keep reading to get all of the inside details and need-to-know information for eating pulled pork cold and more.
A Simple Guide to Pulled Pork
If you’re not familiar with pulled pork, it’s a pretty basic concept. Pulled pork is a common barbecue meat (have you ever tried Thai bbq?) and a staple throughout the US for feeding large groups, catering events, and enjoying parties or festivities throughout the year.
Even if you are not a fan of barbecue, pulled pork is still a delicious food that can be used for a variety of things, including various recipes.
Here are some general ideas for using pulled pork:
- Pulled pork sandwich
- A topping (delicious on a baked potato)
- By itself (maybe with some BBQ sauce)
- Use as a meat for your salad
- Pork and beans
- Egg rolls
- Pizza topping
These are just a few basic ideas but you can really do about anything you want to with pulled pork. It’s a shredded meat so you can easily use it for any type of recipe that requires shredded meat of any kind. You can replace shredded beef in recipes with pulled pork.
What’s even better is that you can just enjoy your pulled pork cold if you really want to. The flavor is savory and satisfying no matter how you decide to use the meat.
How Pulled Pork Is Made
There are a number of ways to make pulled pork. The three most common methods for making pulled pork: smoker, oven, and crockpot. The crockpot has easily become one of the most resourceful tools for the kitchen and it is perfect for this kind of thing.
The basic concept of pulled pork is that the pork is cooked at low temperatures for longer periods of time. It is cooked slowly to pull out all of the best flavors and make the meat easy to shred for use.
We’re not going to detail each one of these methods in this guide, but we do want to give you a general idea of the process for making pulled pork simply to provide you with a good overview of how we arrive at the pulled pork product being referenced.
Remember there are a number of ways you can make pulled pork and there are multiple resources to find the best recipe for the tools you have available to you. We certainly recommend giving the crockpot a try. On the other hand, the oven also does a great job.
We’re going back to the basics and will share with you a smoking guideline for making pulled pork. We chose to share this method because it is the general format for traditional pulled pork.
- You will need a pork shoulder, also commonly referred to as pork butt.
- Prepare your meat with a rub or seasoning mix of your choice. Don’t overcomplicate it. Pork has its own saltiness so just a simple rub will do a lot for your pulled pork.
- Warm your smoker to about 225 degrees. If you use a wood smoker, hickory or apple is the best.
- Cook time will vary based on the size of the pork butt. The general rule of thumb is to cook 2 hours for every pound of meat. However, you may be able to reduce the time for large cuts.
- Once you heat the meat to 145 degrees, you could wrap it in foil and this could potentially reduce overall cooking time. The pork is a safe temperature at 165 degrees.
- The best temperature to cook to is about 195 degrees. 201 degrees will give you pulled pork that falls apart and melts in your mouth. You can choose which one you prefer.
- The pork is then shredded to make pulled pork.
Making pulled pork is really not a complicated process. You can expect cooking pulled pork in the oven or the crockpot to take a nearly equal time frame to what is mentioned above.
Eating Pulled Pork Cold
Are you ready for this part? Some of the best ways to enjoy leftover pulled pork is to simply eat it cold. There are a number of things you can do with pulled pork cold, like put it in a salad or make a sandwich with it that are great options.
But you don’t have to actually make something with it for it to be good cold. You can just snag a handful and eat it straight from the fridge or you can serve it with a side and add some BBQ sauce to it.
The only thing eating cold pulled pork requires is to cook it initially to the required temperature. Cold does not equal raw. You absolutely cannot eat raw pork as it can make you very sick.
One of the greatest things about pulled pork is that it is a uniquely versatile food that stores well and can be used to make any number of things but it also doesn’t require a meal. It can be served alone and is great hot or cold.
So if you want something simple, just pull it straight from the fridge and forget reheating or cooking. Just enjoy it cold! There are no steps to provide here for eating your pulled pork cold. That option seems rather self-explanatory – eat and enjoy.
If you DO want to reheat your pulled pork, read our article about reheating shredded chicken since the methods will be the same for pulled pork.
We do want to cover your cold storage methods to be sure you understand how those work and potential limitations associated with them.
Refrigerating Pulled Pork
You should not store your pulled pork at room temperature. You will want to either refrigerate or freeze it. Here are your steps for refrigeration.
- Place in storage bags or into containers that seal airtight. You can also cover a dish with aluminum foil and stir it that way.
- Put chosen storage method in the fridge.
- Store in fridge for up to 5 days.
Most importantly, you want to be sure your pork is sealed well and that you don’t try to extend the life too long. Spoiled pork is not fun and can leave you with food poisoning.
Freezing Pulled Pork
- Allow pulled pork to cool to room temperature
- Put pulled pork into freezer bags or well-sealed storage containers
- Leave space at the top of storage method as the pork could expand slightly in the freezer.
- Label and date
- Store in the freezer up to 6 months
When you’re ready to use your pulled pork, simply transfer it to the fridge the night before and give it some time to thaw out before using it. On a side note, you can still enjoy it cold once it has thawed or you can reheat it to your preferences.
If you also want to freeze the hamburger buns that you used for a pulled pork sandwich, read our article on how to hamburger buns properly.
We hope that you have found this guide on eating cold pulled pork to be helpful and informative and that you feel you can go forth and enjoy cold pulled pork to your heart’s desire.
We invite you to check out our question and answer section for additional information that could be useful.
How Can You Tell if Pulled Pork Has Spoiled?
The best way to test the freshness of your pulled pork is to smell it. If your pulled pork simply doesn’t have much smell or you only smell the seasonings of the pork then it is still fine. If the odor is strong, unpleasant, or has an ammonia-type scent then you will need to toss it out.
How Can I Reheat Pulled Pork?
The best way to reheat your pulled pork is to simply cook it into something. If you are heating for individual servings, you can warm it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
If you have a large pan to reheat, warm it in the oven at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.
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