Can You Reheat Pork?

Q: Can you reheat pork and pork products, such as bacon, ham, pork sausage and pork ribs? How do you go about reheating pork to maintain its flavor and texture?

A: When you find a large pork roast or ham on sale, you may wonder can you reheat pork after it is fully cooked. The good news is that it is okay to reheat cooked pork that has been kept in the refrigerator or freezer at the proper temperature. You already know that it is essential to cook pork at the correct temperature and that you should never eat rare pork because it can contain parasites.

Pork is an extremely versatile protein that responds very well to reheating. It also comes in a multitude of forms, so there is no single reheating technique that applies to all pork products. Generally, reheated pork products are quite palatable regardless of the reheating technique you use. Following are several common techniques using the most common appliances.

The Microwave Method

A microwave is easily the fastest way to reheat cooked pork or to warm up cured pork products, such as pre-cooked pork sausage. Some pork is prone to dry out if reheated, like pork tenderloin, because it’s so low in fat. Reheat cooked pork in a microwave by setting the timer with short amounts of time. It is better to warm the precooked meat in a microwave in small increments to avoid overcooking it. To be on the safe side, reheat cooked pork in a microwave set on medium, checking the pork every two minutes to gauge its warmth and to prevent dryness. If the meat is too cool, then wrap or cover it to warm it up for a few more seconds in the microwave.

Use a microwave safe dish whenever possible. BPA-free containers with lids are advisable, since they trap heat and moisture, yielding reheated pork that retains its juiciness. To keep the meat moist, place plastic wrap or a specialized plastic cover over the container. Unfortunately, microwaves are notorious for transforming the texture of food during reheating, and pork is no exception. Take any necessary precautions if possible, such as reheating bacon using a flat microwave bacon rack lined with paper towels.

The Oven Method

Reheating pork in the oven is the surest way to preserve its moisture and texture. To reheat pork in your oven, preheat your oven to a moderate temperature, a range between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If the pork in question is a large piece, such as a butt or shoulder, reheat it in an appropriate receptacle, like a small dutch oven or deep casserole dish.

Cover the pork with a lid or with foil to prevent it from drying out. Just about any cut of pork reheats nicely in the oven, including bacon, holiday ham, pork roast, ribs, pork chops and pork belly (including homemade cracklins). You’re probably wondering: Can you reheat pork in a toaster oven? Yes, by all means. Toaster ovens are great for giving smaller pieces of pork a quick reheat that enhances crispiness and gets the juices flowing.

The Skillet Method

Use a skillet and your stove top to reheat pork that you cooked in this manner. If you fried bacon and sausage in a skillet, you’re welcome to toss it back into the skillet the next day. You can also zap it in the microwave, but the skillet method ensures that the bacon stays crispy while you reheat it.

You can also use the skillet method to reheat pork stew or soup, pork stir fry, pork cold cuts and seared pork chops. Pork is a tasty side or main dish, with a range of fat percentages to please very palate. It reheats well and lends itself exquisitely to dishes for picnics, buffets, quick suppers or a pre-made work lunch.

The Grill Method

When you want to have a barbecue meal, you might wonder if you can reheat pork on a grill. Reheating pork on a grill is the perfect way to have this meat because you know that it is already cooked thoroughly. You can make kebabs with the precooked pork by putting small chunks of the meat on a stick, making sure to alternate it with cherry tomatoes and small pieces of green bell pepper. Alternatively, you can place slices of pork roast or ham on a sheet of aluminum foil before adding your favorite vegetables. Seal the package of food to cook it on the grill’s surface for a few minutes.

Cook Pork Correctly the First Time

Make sure to weigh a ham or pork roast before baking it in an oven, and always use a meat thermometer. You can also cut into a piece of pork to confirm that it is cooked thoroughly. If you make sure to cook this meat correctly, then reheating pork is a safe and easy process. However, when you reheat cooked pork, don’t overheat it at a high temperature because it will make the meat dry and difficult to chew.

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