Does freezing pork shoulder sound a bit tough to you?
Well, you do need to maintain some important things while freezing the meat. But we assure you, it's not that difficult!
So, how to freeze pork shoulder properly?
Firstly, if you have a whole uncooked pork shoulder, you need to cut it. Then wrap the piece of meat with aluminum foil or freezer paper. Next, you've to put the wrapped meat in a vacuum-sealed bag. Don’t forget to add a label mentioning the freezing date. And lastly, put it into the freezer. Then for freezing cooked pork shoulder, use a good-quality container.
Now, there's more to this!
To keep the taste and texture perfect, you need more info on this issue. That's why we've broken down the process for both cooked and uncooked pork shoulder.
Therefore, we hope you'll spare us some time and continue reading!
Why Should You Freeze Pork Shoulder?
Now, freezing is actually a type of storing process. It keeps a food item fresh and edible for a long time.
But why should you consider this process if you want to store meat?
Well, firstly, not everyone eats meat daily. Plus, you might not always cook the meat right after buying it. And sometimes you'll want to save leftover meat after cooking it.
Thus, to keep your cooked or uncooked meat safe for a while-
You can definitely try freezing them. Because placing the meat in your fridge will only keep them fresh for 3-5 days.
However, a piece of meat can be used for months, if you keep them in the freezer. Yup, the meat will be in perfect condition!
So, are you considering freezing that pork shoulder you've got?
How to Freeze Raw Pork Shoulder?
To be honest, you can find raw pork shoulder literally everywhere. You can buy it from a supermarket or a butcher’s shop. Furthermore, you can even hunt pork and carve yourself a shoulder cut.
Now, you’ll come across pre-cut, ground, and whole pork shoulder. So, if you’ve got pre-cut or ground pork shoulder with you-
You can move directly to the freezing process.
However, if you’ve got a whole pork shoulder, it’s best to cut it first. Yup, you can freeze even without cutting it.
But you might have a space issue in your freezer as it's too big. Plus it’s hard to find vacuum-sealed bags for a whole pork shoulder.
Placing the shoulder with bones into the bag isn't proper too. Because the bag might not seal properly.
That’s why we suggest you cut it. Then store it in the freezer.
Now, before getting to the cutting or freezing part-
It’s important to know how much time it’ll take to complete the whole process. That’s why we’ve given you a heads up regarding that -
Pork Shoulder Source
Pork Shoulder Type
How Much Time Will the Freezing Process Take
Supermarket, butcher's shop, hunted meat
1 fl oz
Pre-cut and ground
Cut and ground by hand
Now that you know how much time it'll take, let's move forward-
How to Cut a Pork Shoulder in Half and Cubes?
Well, you can cut the shoulder anyway you want. It mostly depends on what you intend to do with it.
However, at first, you’ve cut the pork shoulder in half.
For that, you’ll obviously need a knife.
But cutting meat is actually tougher than other food items. Therefore, you’ll need a sharp knife that’s suitable for cutting meat.
Now, there's a catch-
You might know that even slicing knives are sharp. But can you use it for cutting meat?
Well, not really! Because it's not the proper knife to separate the two shoulder parts.
Because trust us, the process will be pretty tough and time-consuming.
Therefore, we suggest using boning knives. This way, you can easily poke into the meat.
So, on that note, here are some of our suggestions regarding the knife-
Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition High-Carbon Blade Boning Knife
HENCKELS Forged Premio Boning Knife
So, pick your knife and start cutting the pork shoulder! By the way-
You can use the knife to detach the point part from flat on a brisket too.
Now, grab the piece of meat and identify where the shoulder blade is. Firstly, start cutting above the shoulder blade.
By doing so, you’ll get a nice piece of marbled meat. And this piece is called the Boston butt.
Does the term sound a bit familiar?
Well, you’ll come across this name while buying a pork shoulder. Because lots of people call the pork shoulder ‘Boston butt’ or 'Pork shoulder butt'.
But it’s actually one of the parts of the shoulder. Nonetheless, you can use this piece of meat for any kind of recipe.
The other part of the pork shoulder is known as the picnic shoulder. It's located directly under the Boston butt.
This part is tougher than the Boston butt. And it also has fat and bones attached to it.
So, these are the two basic parts you’ll get after cutting the shoulder in half.
But if you want to cut your pork shoulder in cubes-
We recommend using the Boston butt part. Because the picnic shoulder will be difficult to cut since it has bones in it.
However, if you still insist on using that part as well-
You’ll have to debone it. For that, grab your boning knife and start taking out the shoulder blade.
Once the shoulder blade is out, you need to take out the shank. Remove it the same way you took out the shoulder blade.
After that, you can cut the picnic shoulder into cubes.
Now, if you want to grind the cubed pork shoulder, we suggest using a blender. That’ll be much easier and quicker than using the knife.
How to Freeze the Cut, Whole, and Ground Pork Shoulder?
Now, it’s time to start the freezing process. Therefore, prepare yourself!
And let's take a look at the steps-
Wrap the Meat with Freezer or Aluminum Foil Paper
Firstly, take the part you won’t be cooking. Also, grab aluminum foil or freezer papers.
To be honest, this part isn’t mandatory for ground pork. However, it’s necessary for whole or cut pork shoulder.
Because you’ve to wrap the raw meat. Otherwise, there’s a chance that bacteria will start spreading within the meat.
So, to help you out, we’ve mentioned our favorite aluminum foil and freezer paper-
Reynolds Wrap Pitmaster’s Choice Aluminum Foil
Reynolds Kitchens Plastic Coated Freezer Paper
Thus, pick the right one and start wrapping!
Put the Meat into Vacuum Sealed Bag/Freezer Bag
Once the meat is fully covered, you’ve to put it into a freezer or vacuum-sealed bag. This part is the same for the ground version as well.
This way the meat will stay well protected.
Now, while closing the bag, make sure there’s no air inside of it. Also, the bag needs to stick the meat.
Otherwise, the meat will get spoiled before you know it.
Label the Meat Bags and Note Down the Freezing Time
Next, start labeling the bags. For example, write Boston butt on the bag you have that piece of meat in.
Also, write down the date you’ll be putting them into your freezer. Lastly, place the packed meat inside the freezer.
Now, how long can you freeze a pork shoulder is also another concern. That’s why we’ve provided the proper time for the freezing process-
Different Cuts/Versions of Pork shoulder
How Long Can be Kept Inside Freezer
Whole pork shoulder
0 to -5 degrees Fahrenheit
Ground pork shoulder
So, just note down the time and stay alert!
Moreover, remember to eat the meat only if it's within use-by date. Don't consume meat that has changed its color or smell.
You'll see the change in color right after taking it out of the freezer. It might turn from red to muted brown or green. But the pungent smell might be noticed after defrosting the meat.
Thus, once you come across these situations, throw the meat away. Otherwise, eating rotten meat will seriously harm your health. For example, you’ll probably suffer from food poisoning.
How to Freeze Cooked Pork Shoulder?
After the freezing process of raw pork shoulder, let’s get to the cooked version.
Now, pork shoulder can be cooked in several ways. For example, you can roast it, smoke it, slow cook it, etc.
To be honest, the freezing process for almost every recipe is quite similar.
However, freezing a smoked pork shoulder is a bit different. That’s why we’ve discussed it in another section.
For now, let’s check out the storing process of other recipes-
Allow the Meat to Rest
This step only applies if you want to freeze the meat right after cooking it.
Because oftentimes people eat some of the meat. Then they think of freezing it.
So, if your pork shoulder is hot, try to cool it down a bit. Otherwise, the taste and texture will change while you’re freezing it.
Now, how should you cool it down?
Well, you can just place the hot cooked meat on your table. And let it cool down at your room temperature.
Place the Meat into Container
Now, cooked pork shoulder will always have juice or soup to it. Hence, using a vacuum-sealed bag isn’t the right way.
That’s why you’ll have to get a good-quality plastic or glass food container. Also, you’ve to make sure the containers are air-tight.
Thus, to make things easier, we’ve mentioned some great food containers-
Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 14-Piece Plastic Lids
Ziploc Twist 'n Loc, Storage Containers
Now, just pour the meat into the container. And close the lid properly.
However, if you’ve made a sandwich using the ground version of pork shoulder. You’ll have to wrap it with aluminum foil first. Then use a freezer/vacuum-sealed bag.
Put the Container/Bag Inside Freezer
Lastly, you've to place the container or bag in the freezer. However, make sure the temperature of the freezer is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, another important thing is time. Yup, how long can you freeze the cooked pork shoulder?
Well to help you out-
We've mentioned the freezing time for every pork shoulder recipe-
Pork Shoulder Recipe
Braised pork shoulder
Slow-cooked pork shoulder
Roasted pork shoulder
So, just keep in mind the freezing time for your recipe and you're all good!
Now, for defrosting, you've to keep it in the fridge overnight. Yup, the same way chopped or sliced brisket is defrosted.
Then you can reheat the cooked meat and enjoy a great meal.
However, there's a catch-
Just like uncooked pork shoulder, cooked pork shoulder can go bad too. You can identify it by smelling the dish after defrosting.
If it doesn't smell bad, you can definitely eat it. Otherwise, you need to throw the whole thing in the garbage.
How to Freeze Smoked Pork Shoulder Properly?
Now, pork shoulder is great for smoking. But you might not be able to eat the whole smoked pork.
Therefore, let's talk about freezing smoked pork shoulder. Well, you can freeze smoked pork in two different ways.
For your comfort, we've discussed the benefits of the two methods beforehand-
Whole piece of smoked meat
Less time-consuming and less work.
Pulled smoked meat
Can be easily used for different recipes like sandwiches.
Now that you know the benefits, let's check out the two methods-
Method:1- Freezing the Whole Smoked Pork Shoulder
The first option is pretty obvious. Which is freezing a whole part of smoked pork that you didn't eat.
Now, for this, you'll have to let the smoked pork rest if you have finished smoking it. Once it has cooled down, wrap it with freezer paper or aluminum foil. Cover the piece of meat properly so that air can't get in.
Then just put it into a vacuum-sealed/freezer bag. And place it into the freezer. That's all!
Method-2: Pull out the Meat and Freeze it
Now, this option is pretty effective too. Because you can use the pulled smoked pork shoulder for other recipes later on.
But for now, let's see how to freeze smoked pork in this method.
At first, you've to start pulling the meat out. You can use a fork for this. Gently pull the meat off.
Then place the pulled pork meat into aluminum foil and wrap it nicely.
After that, put that into your vacuum-sealed bag. And don't forget to seal the bag properly.
However, you might get too much juice after pulling the pork meat out. So, we suggest putting the meat along with the juice into an air-proof container. This way you can keep the pork moist and avoid leaks.
Lastly, place your smoked meat into the freezer.
Now, remember you can keep smoked pork in your freezer for 2-3 months. We don't suggest you eat it if it's past that time limit.
Because we definitely don't want you to get sick!
Question: How can long pork shoulder stay in fridge?
Answer: Well, you store your pork shoulder in the fridge for 2-3 days. Which is definitely not a long time. That's why it's best if you store it in the freezer.
Question: Can you freeze a Boston butt?
Answer: Yup, you can most certainly freeze a Boston butt. You just have to wrap it with aluminum foil. Then put it into a freezer bag. And if you can, place it into a vacuum-sealed bag for a better result.
Lastly, put it into the freezer. However, remember you can only keep it in there for 6 months.
Question: How to cut and freeze pork shoulder?
Answer: Well, first of all, grab a good meat knife. Then cut the upper part of the shoulder blade. Now debone the shoulder blade and shank from the other part. Then just cover the meat with aluminum foil. Next, seal it into the vacuum-sealed bag. Lastly, put it into your freezer.
Now, that's all on how to freeze pork shoulder. By the way-
You can use butcher paper if you don't have foil or freezer paper.
So, were you able to freeze your pork shoulder?
If so, let us know your experience in the comment section. Lastly, good luck with freezing that pork shoulder!!