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5 Best Ways Of Reheating Pulled Pork

  • July 26, 2018
  • / BBQ How To's
  • / By Nathan
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Anyone who has ever smoked a pork loin knows that it can take several hours to cook it to perfection. If you are smoking a smaller piece of meat, it can take 3 to 5 hours to cook. If you are cooking a very large piece of meat, it can take up to 20 hours.

If you are cooking a pork loin because you are planning to serve pulled pork at a party or another type of event, you may not have time to cook it on the same day that the event is happening. This would require you to cook the meat the day before, and then reheat it when you are ready to serve.

Reheating Pulled Pork in the Right Way

If you don't know how to reheat the pulled pork properly, it won't taste as good when you serve it. There are a few reheating methods that you can choose from. Each method will require a different type of cookware. If you don't own certain cooking items, you may need to go with another method. As long as you reheat the meat properly, it should take as good as it did when it came out of the smoker grill.

Save the Drippings

Regardless of the reheating method that you are planning to use, you are going to need to save the pan drippings when you are done smoking the meat.

This will ensure that the meat is juicy and tender when you reheat it. Before putting the meat in the refrigerator or freezer, pour the drippings over the meat.

If you are planning to use method #5, vacuum and boiling, you will need to save your drippings differently than if you were planning to use any of the other methods.

​5 Different Ways How To Reheat Pulled Pork

Reheating Method #1: The Microwave

Reheating your pulled pork in the microwave is the fastest method. If you are on a strict time schedule on the day you are serving the meat, the microwave is the best option. If you are reheating a very large piece of meat, you may want to either choose a different method or separate the meat into a few batches before reheating. While this method will be the fastest, it also comes with the highest risk of drying out a bit and losing some flavor. 

pulled pork microwave
  • 1
    ​When you take your meat out of the refrigerator, there will be a lawyer of jelly-like fat on top. You want to use a spoon to scrape off the fat.
  • 2
    ​Place the fat in a separate bowl and put it in the microwave for about 1 minute. This will turn the fat back to grease.
  • 3
    ​Put the pulled pork in a bowl and pour the heated fat into the bowl and mix it up so that it is fully incorporated with the meat.
  • 4
    ​To add more moisture to the meat, add a cup of apple juice or barbecue sauce to the meat. Be sure not to add too much because it will make the meat watery.
  • 5
    ​Put the bowl in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. You can taste test the meat to see if it needs more time or you can use a meat thermometer. If you are going to use a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

​**While the microwave is the fastest way to reheat pulled pork, this method puts the meat at risk of drying out. If you have time on the day that you will be serving the meat, you should consider one of the other methods if you want it to be as juicy as possible.

​​

Reheating Method #2: The Oven


If you have ample time, reheating the meat in the oven is a great option. Not only is a healthy method, it is best if you are reheating a very large amount of pulled pork.

To keep the meat from losing its moisture in the oven, be sure to follow the instructions to the letter. 

pulled pork oven
  • 1
    ​There will likely be a layer of fat on the meat from the juices that have cooled down. You are going to want to mix the fat into the meat, therefore, you should leave the meat out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. When the fat has turned to liquid again, mix up the meat.
  • 2
    ​Add a cup of apple juice or a cup of thick barbecue sauce to the meat and mix it up.
  • 3
    ​Put the meat in a pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil. This will help keep the moisture in the pan so that the meat doesn't dry out.
  • 4
    ​Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and cook the meat for about 30 minutes.
  • 5
    ​If you are going to test the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer, it should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, leave it in for an additional 5 minutes. Keep checking the temperature and adding an additional 5 minutes until it reaches the desired temperature.

Reheating Method #3: The Crockpot


If you have time on the day you will be serving the meat but don't have time to cook, you should use a crockpot.

It will take a while but it requires very little work. A crock pot is a great way to set it and forget it. Before putting the meat in the crockpot, scrape the fat off the top.

pulled pork crockpot

This will leave you with just the juices that you need to keep your meat moist. 

  • 1
    ​After scraping the fat from the top of the meat, place it in an appropriate size crock pot. If you are reheating a large piece of meat, you may need to break it up into two crock pots if you want it to cook properly.
  • 2
    ​When the meat is in the crockpot, add a cup of apple juice or barbecue sauce to keep the meat moist. Be sure to mix the meat thoroughly.
  • 3
    ​Set the crockpot to low. If you cook your meat on high, it will cook faster, however, it will dry out the meat. Cooking low and slow is best when reheating pulled pork in a crockpot.
  • 4
    ​When the meat has been cooking on low for about 8 hours, you should check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The optimal temperature is 165 degrees. If it has not reached the optimal temperature, allow the meat to cook longer. Do not set it on high to get it done faster. Keeping the setting on low will ensure that the meat remains moist.
  • 5
    ​When the meat is done, you can either serve it right out of the crockpot or transfer it into a pan. If you are going to serve the meat from the crockpot, be sure to turn it off. If you leave it on low or even warm, it will dry out the meat over time.
  • 6
    ​If you are going to transfer the meat to a pan, be sure to transfer all of the juice in the crockpot with it and mix until fully incorporated.

Reheating Method #4: Using Steam


​Reheating meat using the steam method is the best if you want the meat to remain as moist and juicy as possible. It is also the cleanest and the healthiest method. If you are planning to use this method, you are going to need a steaming basket.

reheat with steam pulled pork
  • 1
    ​Take the meat out of the refrigerator and let it sit until it reaches room temperature.
  • 2
    ​When the meat has reached room temperature, there will be a layer of fat on top. Using a spoon, scrape the fat and discard it. The additional fat that has reserved back to juice should remain in the meat.
  • 3
    ​Pour apple juice into the bottom of a pan that is large enough to hold your steaming basket. Turn the stove on high and bring the apple juice to a boil.
  • 4
    ​Pour apple juice into the bottom of a pan that is large enough to hold your steaming basket. Turn the stove on high and bring the apple juice to a boil.
  • 5
    ​Allow the meat to steam over the boiling apple juice for about 30 minutes.
  • 6
    ​Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the meat. It should reach 165 degrees. If it hasn't reached the optimal temperature, let it steam for 5 more minutes and recheck the temperature.

​​When the meat is done, transfer it into a serving dish. For added moisture, you can mix remaining apple juice in the pan with the meat until it is fully incorporated.

Reheating Method #5: Vacuum Sealing and Boiling

In most cases, boiling meat is not the best way to reheat it. However, if you vacuum seal the meat before boiling, this methods has the most benefits. This benefit is often used by barbecue restaurants for a variety of reasons: 

vacumn seal reheating
  • ​When the meat is vacuum sealed before storing, it will keep the air out which preserves the meat better.
  • ​When the meat is vacuum sealed, it will keep other odors from getting into the meat which can change the flavor.
  • ​The vacuum bag will hold all of the moisture inside so that it won't evaporate while it is in the refrigerator or freezer and it won't burn off while it is being reheated. This is very important if you want the meat to remain moist.
  • ​The vacuum bag will hold in the smoky flavor. With most other reheating methods, you will lose some of the flavors during the cooking process. That won't happen if you vacuum seal and boil the meat.
  • ​When you finish smoking your meat, you should hold onto the drippings. What you do next differs a bit from the other reheating methods. Let the drippings reach room temperature, and scrape the fat off the top. Take the remaining juice and mix it into the meat.
  • ​After mixing the excess juice in with the meat, place it in the vacuum bag and seal it. (You can store the meat in either the refrigerator or the freezer, depending on when you plan to serve it.)
  • List Element
  • 1
    ​When you are ready to reheat your meat, remove it from the refrigerator or freezer.
  • 2
    ​​Bring a large pan of water to a boil. When the water is boiling turn off the burner.
  • 3
    Carefully add the package of meat to the water. You don't want to open the bag. Be sure not to let the bag splash the boiling water on you.
  • 4
    Allow the meat to sit in the hot water for about 30 minutes. The internal temperature of the meat should read 165 degrees. If it hasn't reached the optimal temperature, you cannot put it back in the water because the vacuum seal will have been broken. If this is the case, you may need to use the microwave method to finish heating your meat.
  • 5
    When your meat is fully heated, transfer it to a serving pan.
  • 6
    You are now going to want to add the sauce of your choice. If you are worried that the sauce will bring down the temperature of the meat, you can heat the sauce in the microwave. This won't affect the juiciness of the meat. Be sure to mix the sauce in with the meat until fully incorporated.

​Final Thoughts

The object of smoking a pork loin is to cook low and slow. This is the best way to get a smoky flavor in the meat while keeping it nice and juicy. While low and slow is best, it may not be convenient if you are planning to serve the meat at a particular time.

When it comes to reheating the pulled pork, there are several methods that you can choose from. There are two methods that you should never do. First, never put the meat back into the smoker. It won't heat it properly and there is a risk that it can dry out. Also, don't put the meat on the built in gas grill to reheat it. The heat from the grill will suck all of the moisture from the meat.

The method that you choose depends on the amount of work that you are willing to do, the amount of time that you have, and the amount of flavor that you want the meat to retain. If flavor and juiciness is the most important factor, the vacuum seal and boil method is the best.

Happy reheating!!

About the Author Nathan

Hi! My name is Nathan and I’m a passionate meat-lover and certified grill connoisseur. I fell in love with grilling food back when I was a little kid when my grandfather used to cook tasty burgers in our backyard every Saturdays.

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