BBQ FAQ Section 14


14. Freezing barbecue meat and leftovers


[What is the best method to reheat my barbecue?]

Jay Bennett--

I used to eat my leftover barbecue cold because I felt reheating it changed the texture and turned into ordinary pot roast. Lately, I've been trying out a novel method I learned from a barbecuer and caterer in Houston. Oil a brown paper bag, put the meat inside, staple the bag shut. Put a rack in a deep baking pan (like a 13 x 9 cake pan), add hot or boiling water below the level of the rack, place the bag on the rack and place the pan in a hot oven. This warms the meat up without drying it out or overheating it (so it doesn't toughen up). Be sure the bag doesn't touch the oven heating elements! Try an oven temperature of about 325F. It takes about 20 minutes or so, you will have to experiment, but I think the water regulates the temperature and makes timing less critical.


[I have some smoked whole chickens in the freezer. How do I reheat them?]

Ed Pawlowski--

Defrost them in the microwave. You can then heat them in there also. Do it on a low heat setting and they will be as juicy and tasty as the day they were taken off the smoker.


[I have some leftover barbecue. What's the best way to freeze it?]

Ed Pawlowski--

I freeze chickens whole, brisket I'll cut into about thirds, pulled pork I put in dinner-sized packages, same with country ribs, about 6 to a package. Use freezer-type Ziploc bags. Editor--For longer-term freezing, wrap the pieces of barbecue in aluminum foil before putting them into the Ziploc bags.

Sometimes we'll pull it out the day before and put it in the refrigerator to thaw, but it is a quick dinner when you have been out and do not have time to cook. That is the beauty of the microwave. Depending on the size, put it in the defrost cycle for about 10 minutes. If you can, break it down and do it in five minute intervals to be sure it is defrosting and not cooking away on the outside.

Once defrosted, I heat it on medium (50% power) for about two minutes. Check to see if it needs a minute or two more, letting it stand for about half the defrosting time. Sounds longer than it really takes, and heated gently, it will be a juicy as it was the day you froze it.


[Pork barbecue that has been smoked indirectly in an offset or other type of smoker, cooled and chilled, seems not to reheat well and comes out tasting funky. On the other hand, if pork has been grilled directly over live coals, it'll reheat with less than fresh flavor, but taste essentially the same. Can someone help with this problem?]

Edwin Pawlowski--

Can't give a comparison between reheated after direct heat versus reheated after offset cooking. IMHO, if a piece of meat is properly cooked and then properly reheated, it will taste great. Little, if any loss of taste, although in a microwave oven, any crustiness will be lost. Improper use of the microwave can destroy the best food. I know of many users that have never used anything but the full power setting and then wonder why things come out tough, dried, unevenly heated, etc. Use a lower power setting (like 50%) and a longer time when reheating.


Wyndell Ferguson--

I always save my left over barbecue in Ziploc bags after mixing in a little of my mustard vinegar sauce (not a lot). When time to re-heat, I just open the bag a little, not all the way, and heat on 50% for the number of minutes I think it will take, then mix it up well, and heat the same way for 1-2 minutes more. Let it sit and tastes great!


Danny Gaulden--

Smoked pork kept in a refrigerator for a couple of days will taste just as good as the day it was smoked if reheated in the pit, then held in a double boiler or water steam table.


[I smoked a big brisket yesterday and we ate only half of it. What can I do with the rest?]

Editor--Summary of several posts--

You can chop some of it up for barbecue sandwiches, give a chunk of it to a good neighbor, slice some and eat it hot or cold or in sandwiches for the next several days, chop some up and use it in tacos or burritos. Another good way to use left-over brisket is to chop it up and use it in chili. A beef and barley soup made with left-over brisket can't be beat.


[Can you freeze fresh briskets and still get good barbecue? In other words, should I stock up when I see them on sale?]

Pat Lehnherr--

The one I did last weekend was two years old. I kept it in the deep freeze at about 5 to 10F. It turned out to be one of my best briskets ever.



I have kept fresh uncooked brisket frozen for as long as six months and I cannot tell which is which. I always keep three or four on hand.


David Gerard--

No degradation for fresh briskets for up to six-eight months if sealed from air to prevent freezer burn (dehydration). Keep the meat in its Cryovac pack.

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BBQ FAQ Ver 1.0, 2.0 1997, 1998 William W. Wight. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 25, 1999
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