How To Reheat Pulled Pork – Steps And FAQ

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My stomach growls whenever I remember the heavenly pulled pork that is always a constant in my family dinners. I bet you, we are probably not the only family that always cooks pulled pork whenever there is a gathering. And since there is almost always a huge amount of food leftover from such dinners, it is important to know How to reheat pulled pork.

I know all the best and different ways where you can efficiently warm up any leftover pulled pork so that you can get to enjoy the stored meat as if it is freshly made.

Reheating Pulled Pork Step-By-Step

In this article, we are going to talk about seven different methods of reheating pulled pork, including reheating smoked pulled pork, with all the details needed and my own opinion about each method. You will have yourself all the information needed so that you can get to choose the most suitable method of reheating according to your preference.

Different methods of reheating pulled pork:

  1. In a crockpot
  2. On the grill
  3. On the stovetop
  4. In the oven (the easiest)
  5. Using the steam
  6. In the microwave
  7. By vacuum sealing and boiling

I am going to start off with what I think is one of the best ways to warm up some good pulled pork.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Crockpot

Having a crockpot in your kitchen is definitely a necessity when it comes to reheating pulled pork. I can assure you that this simple kitchen appliance will give you no headache when it comes to warming up your leftovers. It is faster than some of the other options, efficient, and doesn’t require any monitoring whatsoever. You will just set it up and let it do its thing.

The most important thing for this to work is if you add moisture to your pork in the crockpot, preferably the leftover pork juices from when it was first cooked.

Steps of reheating using the crockpot:

  • Add your leftover pulled pork to the crockpot.
  • Add in the stored sauce and juice from the pulled pork when it was first cooked. If it is not available, then go for a regular meat broth. This step is essential so that the meat can be warmed up without drying.
  • After adjusting the settings to “Warm”, leave the meat to warm up slowly in the crockpot for 2-4 hours.
  • Check the temperature of the meat from the center. Once it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat. Serve while it is still warm and enjoy!

The time could vary from 2 to 4 hours since the meat is already cooked, that’s why it really depends on the degree of warmness you prefer the pulled pork to be. Also, heating the meat in warm settings allows it to thoroughly warm up without overcooking or drying. Although it might take a slightly longer time than some of the other methods, yet the outcome is totally worth it.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork on the Grill

Reheating pulled pork on the grill is easy. That’s for sure. In fact, it is one of the most known and preferred ways to warm up leftover meat. However, you need to be careful when using the grill, as it has a high tendency to dry your meat. That’s why you need to follow these steps carefully:

Steps of reheating pulled pork using the grill:

To succeed in using the grill to reheat your pulled pork, you need to understand that it is best to avoid the direct contact of heat with the pork. Meaning that you will heat one side of the grill and add your pulled pork wrap on the other side away from the direct heat.

  • Heat only one side of the grill to 225 °F.
  • Coat all the meat with some of its juices or meat broth to prevent its drying.
  • Spread two layers of aluminum foil on the counter and start wrapping your meat inside it. Before closing the wrap add ¼ cup of water for some extra moisture.
  • Put the wrapped meat on the other side of the grill to heat.
  • Leave it to warm up until it reaches 165 degrees before taking it off the heat and unwrapping it.
  • Before eating it, place the unwrapped meat on the grill again for an extra 5 minutes to dry off all the excess moisture and crisp up a bit.
  • Now, serve and enjoy!

Reheating Pulled Pork on the Stovetop

The stovetop is very versatile. You can warm up your pulled pork on the stovetop using many different techniques. However, I prefer only one, the “Sous vide”. An originally French technique, which results in an equally reheated and amazing pulled pork that is soft and filled with all the meat juices.

Steps of reheating pulled pork on the stovetop:

  • Into a plastic bag, transfer your leftover pulled pork, then tightly seal it either by vacuum-sealing or by leaving a small corner unsealed and sucking up all the air using a straw then closing it quickly.
  • While you are sealing the vacuum bag, leave a large pot filled with water on a high heat flame it boils, or at least reach 165 degrees. Once this temperature is reached, drop the bag filled with meat inside it, and leave it for 45 minutes.
  • When the time is done, pull up the bag of meat and check the temperature of the meat. It should be around 165 degrees.
  • Serve while it is still warm and enjoy.

The unique thing about using this method is the fact that you can reheat frozen pulled pork without thawing it first. You will need to leave it for some extra time.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Oven

This method in my opinion is the best way to reheat pulled pork. Mainly because it is easy and efficient, and it can offer you the chance to warm up a large batch at a time because of the space the oven provides.

Steps of reheating pulled pork using an oven:

  • The first step will be turning the oven on so that it has enough time to preheat. This step is important, especially adjusting the temperature. We don’t want it to be too hot so that it doesn’t overcook and dry the meat, or not hot enough that it takes forever to warm the pork up. 250 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect.
  • Arrange the pulled pork on a baking tray. Wrap the tray with aluminum foil after adding the leftover meat juices or a freshly made meat broth. Keep in your mind that this is an important step that really affects the quality of the resulting heated pork.
  • Transfer the tray to the preheated oven. Let it heat up until the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take long as the oven is already preheated and the meat is cooked.
  • Drizzle some extra juice on top of the meat after pulling all the clumps apart.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Since the meat is already cooked prior to reheating it, it shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes to reach 165 degrees, which is, by the way, just a food safety regulation regarding all the reheated meat. However, cold pulled apart pork can be safely ingested.

I know the meat is already pulled apart, yet sometimes with the oven heat and the extra juices added, they might clump back together. That’s why with only the use of two forks, you can easily pull them apart again.

It is always nice to let your pulled pork gain a final crisp before enjoying it, which is easy to do using the oven. All you got to do is to uncover the foil and leave the tray for an extra 5 minutes under the broiler.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork using Steam

Using the steam to reheat your leftover pork is kind of a genius move in my opinion. I mean you can add all the meat juices and some extra flavored sauces and allow all of these different flavors to warm up your meat in the form of steam. How cool is that?

Steps of reheating pulled pork using Steam:

  • Mix your saved leftover meat juices or even meat broth that was cleared from all the fats prior to this step, with a little bit of apple juice or BBQ sauce. Drizzle this sauce on your meat.
  • Add in a regular pot some apple juice and let it boil on a high heat flame.
  • Place the flavored meat on a steamer, then place the steamer on the pot with the boiling apple juice.
  • Wait for the temperature of the meat to reach 165 °F. It should take about 30 minutes or so.

I think we can all agree that this method is in fact one of the simplest and cleanest methods of reheating the pulled pork.
Also, the apple juice gives an extra kick with the rest of the meat sauce that really gives a new perspective on the pulled pork. Just remember to remove the fat from the meat juice before adding the rest of the sauces. This can easily be achieved by letting the tray containing the leftover juices cool to room temperature before storing it, then scrapping off using a spoon, the gathered layer of fat on top.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Microwave

Simple, quick, and easy. These three words are the perfect description for the microwave method of reheating. Although it might only provide you with a limited and a small space to use, yet the quickness of the whole method is more than enough, and you get to reheat enough pork for just you without the need to turn on your entire oven!

Steps of reheating pulled pork using the microwave:

  • Transfer the pulled pork to a microwavable plate.
  • Pour the leftover juices on top of the meat so that the heat doesn’t dry out the rich pork.
  • Into the microwave transferthe plate. Let it warm up for two minutes.
  • Check the internal temperature of the meat, it should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can return it back to the microwave for 30 seconds intervals till it is hot enough for your preference.
  • Serve while it is still hot and enjoy!

Probably the quickest method, yet not the most efficient, that’s for sure. But, if you are in a hurry and don’t want to overcomplicate yourself with so many steps, then this is your go-to.

Bear in your mind that it is recommended for the frozen pulled pork to be already thawed before moving it to the microwave so that it could be reheated properly in the shortest length of time.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork by Vacuum Sealing and Boiling

This is the most suitable method for smoked pulled pork. It can retain the smoky flavor and successfully warm up your meat at the same time.

Despite the common misconception of “never boil a meat as a way of reheating it” yet I think it was actually pretty successful. So I will let you be the judge of that.

Steps of reheating pulled pork using Vacuum Sealing and Boiling:

Before we go on with the detailed steps, it is worth mentioning that meat needs to be stored properly for this reheating method to work nicely. That’s why you should vacuum seal your meat with its defatted juices after it cooled enough at room temperature. When you are sure that the seal is closed properly, you can then freeze or even refrigerate it for reheating whenever needed.

  • Fill a pot with water before placing it on high heat to boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, then place the stored meat in the pot to warm up for 30 minutes or so, so that the temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Drizzle some extra sauce on top. Serve while it is still warm and enjoy!

This method allows the stored meat to retain its quality somehow. That might be because of the vacuum bag the meat is stored in, which makes sure that all the juices are well kept with the meat, and at the same time, no smell or flavor can be caught by the stored meat, while all the smokiness and flavors of the meat are still present. That’s why it is considered a professional way of storing that most restaurants follow!

Frequently asked questions

Now that we have discussed all the ways where you can reheat any leftover pulled pork in detail. It’s time to share with you some of the questions I received.

How much time does it take to reheat pulled pork in the oven?

It mainly depends on the amount of meat you added and the thickness of your pan which contains the pulled pork. However, the average time taken for the pulled pork to heat in the oven should be around 30-60 minutes maximum.

How to avoid the drying out of the meat while reheating it?

Well, the most important thing to do is to add any type of moisture to the meat, preferably the original meat juices stored. And of course to reheat it at a low temperature slowly so that it doesn’t burn.

What is the Best Way to Reheat Pulled Pork? 

The competition is pretty high between both, the stovetop method and the oven method. I mean, it is true both of which have amazing outcomes, especially the stovetop which some might claim retains moisture and flavor better. However, whichever method you choose to follow will result in an amazing reheated pulled pork if you follow the steps correctly.

What Liquid Can I Add to Pulled Pork? 

Always go for the original meat juice produced from the initial cooking of the pork. But if it is unavailable then a regular meat broth, apple juice, some BBQ sauce, or a mix of everything should do the trick. The most important thing is adding some moisture to the meat so that it doesn’t dry out!

How Many Times Can Pulled Pork be Reheated?

Nope, not just once apparently. Yup, you heard me right. You can, in fact, reheat the pulled pork more than one time IF these three conditions are present:

  • The meat was originally refrigerated after its serving by 2 hours
  • The temperature where the meat was stored was less than 40 ° F.
  • The internal temperature of the meat was 165 or more degrees when it was initially served.

You might think, ‘Oh great, I can safely store and reheat this meat whenever I want’ which is technically true but doesn’t mean it is preferable. Generally reheating anything causes a loss of quality every single time, so it is not always recommended. However, it is in fact safe.


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