14. Freezing barbecue meat and leftovers
[What is the best method to reheat my barbecue?]
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
[I have some smoked whole chickens in the freezer. How do I reheat
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?]
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
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.
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
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?]
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.
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.