How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge? (And Signs It’s Bad)

If you’re wondering how long pulled pork can last in the fridge, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

  • How long cooked pulled pork can last in the fridge
  • How to tell when its gone bad
  • And much more! 

NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.

How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?

Pulled pork can last in the fridge for up to 4 days if stored properly. 

How Long Does Cooked Pulled Pork Last?

Pulled pork is a barbeque delicacy usually that is especially popular in the Southern portion of the United States. It is made by slow-cooking pork shoulder over wood.

The leisurely cooking process tenderizes the meat to a point where you can shred the meat with a simple spoon and fork.

The dish is best eaten hot, when the juices are at their best and the taste of the barbeque permeates every bite.

No matter how good it tastes, however, it’s alarmingly easy to cook too much of it. (If you want to avoid this, use our pulled pork calculator.) Fortunately, there are ways to make your pulled pork last.

Ideally, pulled pork should be refrigerated within 2 hours after being cooked.

Chilling the meat beyond this time period won’t really affect the flavor, but it can expose the meat to other elements.

Your pulled pork can be safely stored in the fridge for 4 days. After that, the pulled pork is already a health hazard.

If you want your pork to last longer than this, you’ll need to freeze it.

Related >> How to Keep Pulled Pork Warm and Moist Before Serving

Can You Freeze Leftover Pulled Pork?

Freezing pulled pork can help extend how long your leftovers will be good for.

Making your pulled pork last requires more than just throwing it in the freezer.

What makes this dish delicious is the juice that comes off the meat; this juice contains all of the flavors that you want to retain for your next serving.

How to freeze it:

To freeze the dish, start by separating all the cooking juices in a covered container. Let it cool for a bit, and then scoop out all of the fat that builds up on the top. Cover the container, making sure that it’s perfectly airtight.

The pork itself can be placed inside an airtight ziplock bag. Make sure to squeeze out all of the air before placing the bag in the freezer.

Pulled pork should be completely cool before storage. Otherwise, the remaining juice can form an icicle over the meat and create a soggy mess while you’re reheating it.

Read More >> How To Reheat Pulled Pork

If you’re freezing an unshredded portion of your pork, you’ll be able to retain the moisture inside the meat. This gives you a better flavor when the pork is finally reheated and pulled apart.

Either way, place the meat in the freezer, making sure the temperature stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4.4 degrees Celsius, at all times.

If you’ve sealed it properly and the temperature of your freezer stays at the correct temperature, pulled pork can last up to three months in the freezer, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your leftovers.

Pulled pork should only be reheated once after freezing, so if you have tons left over, it’s best to freeze them in separate batches of ziplock bags. If you reheat and refreeze the same pulled pork multiple times, the pork tends to dry out and taste more like sawdust.

Related >> Calculate How Much Pulled Pork Per Person

reheating pulled pork fact

How Long Does Raw Pulled Pork Last?

Obviously, you can’t make raw pulled pork, but let’s say you want to make pulled pork for Sunday. Can you buy fresh pork shoulder on Monday and cook it on Sunday?

While fresh is always best when it comes to meat, keeping raw pork in the freezer until you need it is a decent option when you’re in a pinch.

For pulled pork cuts like pork shoulder and pork butt, you can store them for 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

The temperature should be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Make sure they’re inside an airtight container and placed in the coldest part of the fridge.

So if you’re cooking pulled pork on Sunday, make sure to buy the fresh meat on Tuesday at the absolute earliest. This way, you’ll still be inside the approved period for cooking fresh cuts.

If you’d like to buy your pork farther in advance, you can freeze your pulled pork cuts for 4 to 12 months. Make sure you follow proper packaging procedures.

Thawing Raw Pork

When you’re ready to cook the pork, allow it to thaw for at least 24 hours.

The thawing process can be done in the lower portion of the fridge, in the oven, or in cold water, but never allow the meat to thaw at room temperature. If using cold water, make sure to change the water every 30 minutes.

This is where bacteria thrive, and your meat is more likely to get contaminated this way.

Cooking Tips

Cooking pulled pork can take several hours, depending on how you intend to cook it. The traditional technique is over wood, but you can also use the oven or a pressure cooker to get the job done.

Read More >> Best Wood for Smoking Pulled Pork

The oven and pressure cooker require less time and effort, but cooking your meat over wood imbues it with a unique and delicious smoky flavor that you can’t get with the nontraditional methods.

Pulled pork has a long cook time, so make sure you thaw your pork at least a full day before you plan to cook it.

The good news is that, with the proper knowledge of how to properly store and reheat pulled pork, you can cook it in large batches and store it in portions to be eaten throughout the week!

Read More >> How To Smoke Pulled Pork

How To Tell If Pulled Pork Is Bad or Spoiled?

You can tell pulled pork has gone bad if it has a tangy, foul, rancid smell.

It is also one of the quickest ways to know if it has gone bad. 

Related >> How Long Does Salmon Last in the Fridge? (And Signs It’s Bad)

What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Pulled Pork?

If you eat spoiled pulled pork, you risk getting food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning often starts in about 1 to 3 days, but symptoms can start any time from 30 minutes to 3 weeks after eating contaminated food.

You may have food poisoning if you experience these common symptoms, according to Healthline:

  • Aabdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Weakness
  • Headache

Final Thoughts on Pulled Pork Safety

Pulled pork is a truly delicious dish that is perfect for special occasions or evenings where you want to treat your loved ones. Once you learn how to make it, every day can feel like a special event.

There’s tons of room for experimentation when it comes to pulled pork.

Some people use Coca-Cola while others prefer brine as the base of the main sauce while cooking. Feel free to test out your own mixes; you may find a way to bring new life and flavor to a tried-and-true recipe.

There are plenty of ways to use your leftover pulled pork, too; you don’t have to eat it plain.

Related >> How Long Does Salsa Last in the Fridge? (And Signs It’s Bad)

You can turn it into a burger, put it in a wrap, or just add it to other dishes for a fun spark of flavor. Pulled pork can be used in many different recipes to make your daily meals more exciting!

Just make sure that you’re storing everything properly and keeping your meats at food-safe temperatures to ensure the prolonged safety and flavor of your pork.

Related >> Best Pulled Pork Internal Temp

Learn More About Grilling and Smoking

If you want to learn more about grilling and smoking, check out these other helpful resources!

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Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

1 thought on “How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge? (And Signs It’s Bad)”

  1. My family is heavily into pulled pork nachos. We serve them with white queso, sliced banana and jalapeno peppers and anything else we can think of. Served with chips or made with a wrap, it’s one what that we seldom have any left over pulled pork!


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