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View Full Version : Cook, Freeze, Reheat?


Cmac610
04-23-2013, 08:48 AM
All,

I'm looking to cook a few pork shoulders for some of my employees in San Diego for a celebration. Problem is, that I live in Northern California. So my plan was to drive down to SD, then get the shoulders on the next morning. Because we have to start serving by 11am, and can't set up the night before, I'm not going to have enough time to fully cook/smoke them in the morning.

Would it be safe/practical/tasty to smoke the day before I leave, freeze and keep on ice/freezer overnight, then thaw and reheat/finish the morning of the lunch? I'd be using a smoker to cook, then Weber kettles to finish on site.

I know its not the perfect solution, but I'm kind of stuck. I've seen some conflicting posts on the Internet and want to get the experts opinions/ideas.

ButtBurner
04-23-2013, 08:58 AM
I would not freeze it

just keep it cold

I did something similar, but I did a pork butt a week before a potluck at work.

I vac sealed it and put it in the fridge, it was great.

Cmac610
04-23-2013, 09:00 AM
I would not freeze it

just keep it cold

I did something similar, but I did a pork butt a week before a potluck at work.

I vac sealed it and put it in the fridge, it was great.

Thanks for the quick reply ButtBurner. On your initial cook, did you cook all the way to temp or just short?

BBQ Bandit
04-23-2013, 09:04 AM
Cook fully then pull into vac-bags in 2 lb portions. Since your timetable is 24-48 hours - no need to freeze.

Do not seal with hot meat - sandwich open bags standing up between bags of ice in cooler until thoroughly chilled. Add a little juice in bag then seal.

Once all bags are properly chilled then sealed - all you need afterwards is a large pot of boiling water to reheat bags.
Give bags about 30 minutes in boiling water to return to serving temp. Final check for proper serving temp with a reliable thermo probe.

Cmac610
04-23-2013, 09:18 AM
Thanks BBQ Bandit...good options to think about as well. Although I do think that for the "event", we'll still do the reheating/finishing on the Webers.

Is the reason you do the 2 lb portions to make them easier to fit in to the water for reheating?

BBQ Bandit
04-23-2013, 09:29 AM
Thanks BBQ Bandit...good options to think about as well. Although I do think that for the "event", we'll still do the reheating/finishing on the Webers.

Is the reason you do the 2 lb portions to make them easier to fit in to the water for reheating?

Few reasons - based on proper food handling practices
[Hot foods needs to cool quickly from 140 degrees to 40 degrees]

Chilling hot foods is easier managed in smaller amounts and to cool with the bags open to vent properly.
Will reheat quicker and more evenly. (Imagine trying to cool or reheat a bowling ball).

Reheating bags in water will retain 100% tenderness and juices (think sous vide water bath method).
Reheating over a fire will risk dryness/loss of moisture if not closely monitored.

PorkQPine
04-23-2013, 09:57 AM
I live in N.Cal within an hour's drive from the airport and I served lunch to my L.A. office. Took the butts off the smoker as I left for the airport and wrapped them in towels and put them in a soft sided cooler. Hopped the plane to L.A. and drove to the park for the picknic. Pulled the pork and they were still hot. As long as you can keep the butts whole and at safe temp this works. I pulled the butts at 205 deg. this gave me an extra hour or so before they dropped to an unsafe temp. they key is to make sure they are in a well insulated carrier. A cambro is too big for the plane but a good cooler and towel wrapped whole butts will stay in the safe range for long enough for your trip to S.D. Otherwise BBQ Bandit is right on.

Cmac610
04-23-2013, 10:18 AM
I live in N.Cal within an hour's drive from the airport and I served lunch to my L.A. office. Took the butts off the smoker as I left for the airport and wrapped them in towels and put them in a soft sided cooler. Hopped the plane to L.A. and drove to the park for the picknic. Pulled the pork and they were still hot. As long as you can keep the butts whole and at safe temp this works. I pulled the butts at 205 deg. this gave me an extra hour or so before they dropped to an unsafe temp. they key is to make sure they are in a well insulated carrier. A cambro is too big for the plane but a good cooler and towel wrapped whole butts will stay in the safe range for long enough for your trip to S.D. Otherwise BBQ Bandit is right on.

I was wondering about taking them on the plane too as I do the flight about every other week. That's good to know for the future, but I also have to take a bunch of equipment down too which necessitates the drive.

Thanks PorkQPine!

ButtBurner
04-23-2013, 10:26 AM
Thanks for the quick reply ButtBurner. On your initial cook, did you cook all the way to temp or just short?

I fully cooked it as normal

when reheating I used a little apple juice

BigBellyBBQ
04-24-2013, 02:06 AM
the bandits method is right on..
I have used a larger full tin with water, then set a 1/2 tins inside, sealed then heated on a grill, home made double boiler to say..or heat the water and place the smaller portions of baged meat...

JS-TX
04-24-2013, 09:22 AM
If you were doing brisket, would you divide into 2lb chunks or just slice it up and then store in 2lb bags? There is a festival/fair that I'm thinking about doing next year and I'm sort of planning ahead :wink:
From what I know so far, they allow you to setup in the morning, so showing up and cooking is not really an option. However, I wonder how warming bags of brisket in hot water would be percieved by the public?!

kurtsara
04-24-2013, 02:59 PM
However, I wonder how warming bags of brisket in hot water would be percieved by the public?!

In Texas?

You should be good:razz:

gator320
04-24-2013, 03:53 PM
I freeze pulled pork, pulled chicken, and racks or ribs then vacuume chamber them for relsale by the pound for a couple years now. Regarding briskit I've had customers asking me for some time for brisket. Would brisket be done the same way? Slice cool down to 40* then package or cool the whole brisket down then slice and package?

BBQ Bandit
04-24-2013, 04:28 PM
Afraid I do not have that particular answer -regarding brisket.

landarc
04-24-2013, 05:01 PM
I do butts similar to what Bandit says. I don't always pull them though, I will leave them in chunks about the size of my fist, then drop them in a freezer bad and into ice bath. This will crash cool them. Seal them up, for 24 hours, ziploc is fine, for longer, I prefer to suck out the air. Refrigeration is fine. You can reheat on the kettles, I use steel pans, and add a little apple juice, then cover with foil and let it heat over the fire. Hot in about 20 minutes, pull and serve.

I rarely do brisket for delayed serving. I really don't much care for it. But, if you must, use a large turkey oven bag to crash cool the brisket in ice water. Use ice water and not just ice, it will be faster. You can then pack the cooled brisket in the plastic bag, remove as much air as possible. Then reheat in a grill or oven, in a steel or disposable pan, foiled. I like to add some liquid (beef broth and a little oil) to the pan.

gator320
04-24-2013, 08:44 PM
I sell the pulled pork pulled chicken and ribs frozen by the pound chicken and pork are hand pulled then.chilled in a blast freezer then packaged and frazen. Smoked brisket before never packaged it. Slice first then brought down to temp or take the whole brisket down to temp slice then package?? Guess I'll have to try it both ways see how it comes out.

Cmac610
04-24-2013, 08:51 PM
I do butts similar to what Bandit says. I don't always pull them though, I will leave them in chunks about the size of my fist, then drop them in a freezer bad and into ice bath. This will crash cool them. Seal them up, for 24 hours, ziploc is fine, for longer, I prefer to suck out the air. Refrigeration is fine. You can reheat on the kettles, I use steel pans, and add a little apple juice, then cover with foil and let it heat over the fire. Hot in about 20 minutes, pull and serve.

Thanks landarc! I'm doing a "dry" run today with a Butt and will see how it reheats after a couple of days in the fridge. Cooled down, foil wrapped and ziplocked.