5 Different Ways for Reheating Pulled Pork

So you are the consummate pit-master now. You have figured out how to tweak your smoker to get the perfect pork butt, but what about reheating pulled pork?

I have seen people smoke a pork loin for anywhere from 3 to 20 hours. That is a major time commitment so you must make the most of all the meat.

It is also common for me to have family coming over for a big meal and to not have time to cook that day.

In this situation, I like to cook my meat a day in advance and then reheat it the day of the lunch.

If you are in a similar situation or just want to learn how to reheat pulled pork from last night, then in this article, I will cover all of the different ways you can try and identify the method that will produce the best results.

Reheating Pulled Pork in the Right Way

Please note that the process of properly reheating your meat starts when you finish initially smoking it.

So, after you finish cooking it, you need to save the pan drippings if you want the meat to remain as moist as possible when reheating. You will incorporate the drippings just before storing your meat in the freezer or refrigerator.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork in 5 Different Ways

As I mentioned before, there are 5 different ways you can try by yourself. You can use the one that fits your needs.

How to Use Microwave to Reheat Pulled Pork

The first method and the quickest one is by using your microwave.

I know that it may sound unhealthy reheating food using microwave and I shudder just thinking about using it on smoked meats, but there is a proper way to do it.

Step 1) As I said in the upper section, first you need to retain the juices from original smoking or cooking.

Step 2) After you have left the original juices ​chill for a bit, a fat layer should be created on the top of it. You need to remove the fat layer in order to have the best results.

Another way to make this process faster is to let the liquid chill in the refrigerator. This way, ​the fat will solidify at the top. Now, it is easier to do it. Just scrape the fat layer off leaving just the juices.

Step 3) After removing the unnecessary fat from the top, add juices back to meat just before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer. This is vital for moisture.

If you have skipped this step or didn't know it to perform before putting pork in the refrigerator, then your pulled pork will lose its moisture when you reheat it.​

Step 4) After you take the meat out of refrigerator the next day for reheating, you can add some apple juice or BBQ Sauce, but don't over do it.

Step 5) Now, it is time to reheat it. Insert it into microwave and set the timer for one to two minutes or until you get a recommended internal temperature of 165 °F. You can check the internal temperature easily using a meat internal thermometer.

That's how to reheat a pulled pork using microwave. This is my least favorite method, but it will work if you want it fast and don't have any other choice.​

Reheating Pulled Pork in Oven

Reheating Pulled Pork in Oven

The second method is by using your oven. This is a more healthy method and may be a good option if you have massive amounts of pulled pork to reheat.

Step 1) This step is similar to the microwave method. Save the liquids in your drip pan after you finish smoking or cooking the meat.

Step 2) Let the juices cool or put them in the refrigerator and then scrape off the fat.

Step 3) Reincorporate juices back to the meat before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Step 4) When you want to reheat, take it out of the freezer and you can pour in a little apple juice or thick BBQ Sauce and mix it all together.

Step 5) Turn On your oven and set the temperature to 250 °F. Now, cover your meat with foil and put it into oven when it's ready.

Step 6) After you put it into your oven, let it heat for 30 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 °F. 

​That is how to reheat a pulled pork using oven. This method is healthier than microwave and is often used when you have a large amount of pork.

Using a Crock Pot to Reheat Pulled Pork

If you want a set it and forget it method, then the crock pot is the way to go.

​Step 1) Again, keep your drippings when you finish smoking or cooking the meat.

Step 2) Easily get rid of the fat layer on top of the liquid juices by scraping it off after cooling it for a few minutes in the refrigerator.

Step 3) Mix your fat-free liquid juice with the meat and then freeze or refrigerate.

Step 4) When you need to reheat, take the meat off the refrigerator and incorporate some apple juice or BBQ Sauce, but not too much.

Step 5) Put meat in the crock pot and set on warm for several hours or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 °F.

This is the method for reheating pulled pork using a crock pot. It is a very easy method with just a few simple steps but requires a lot of time.

Reheating Pulled Pork using Steam

I have always been a fan of steaming meat and this method works well.

​Step 1) You will need to keep the contents of the drip pan when cooking or smoking.

Step 2) When your drippings get to room temperature, scrape off the fat from the top.

Step 3) Combine your fat-free drippings and your meat before refrigerating or freezing.

Step 4) When you are ready to reheat it, add some apple juice or BBQ Sauce, but not too much.

Step 5) Add some apple juice to the bottom of a crock pot or pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.

Step 6) Place your meat in a steaming basket and set it over boiling apple juice.

Step 7) Let it steam for 30 minutes or until meat gets to an internal temperature of 165 °F.

This is the method for reheating pulled pork using steam. I like this method a lot because it is healthy, clean and works pretty well.

Reheating Pulled Pork by Vacuum Sealing and Boil​ing

I have always been told to never boil meat to reheat it, but this method works great and really retains that smoky flavor.

Step 1) Hold on the drippings when you cook or smoke the meat.

Step 2) Get rid of the fat from the juices by cooling it and then scraping the fat.

Step 3) Pour the juices back over the meat before sealing.

Step 4) Vacuum seal meat and either refrigerate or freeze the meat.

Step 5) Remove the meat from refrigerator or freezer when you need to reheat it.

Step 6) Bring water to boil in either a pot on the stove or in a crock pot on high.

Step 7) Turn off burner and place meat in water for 30 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.

Step 8) Add the preferred sauce and enjoy it.

This is the 5th and the last method for reheating pulled pork by vacuum sealing and boiling.

The Best Method to Reheat Pulled Pork

​Looking at all the different ways to reheat pulled pork, the clear winner is vacuum sealing and boiling. There are several reasons that this method works best:

Vacuum Sealing and Boiling Benefits:

  • Vacuum sealing keeps out air preserving the meat better.
  • A sealed bag keeps out other refrigerator flavors that could creep into your meat.
  • It holds the moisture inside the bag with the meat so it cannot evaporate in the fridge or burn off while cooking.
  • It keeps the flavor of the meat pure by locking in the smoky flavor that you lose with other reheating methods.
  • This is the method most BBQ restaurants use to keep their meat quality at a competition level.
  • It does not continue to break down the meat like other reheating methods.

Final Thoughts

​Pulled pork is one of my favorite culinary endeavors.

I love getting up early to fire up the smoker and sitting there smelling the rich meat and the apple wood smoke.

I put so much work into producing a finished product that I normally cook large amounts, and I like the leftovers to be top notch. I feel like the method we have chosen does just that.

I hope that you can use this information making the process of reheating pulled pork a bit easier. We chose to include the other methods because we know some readers do not have access to a vacuum sealer.

Please try out the information we have provided and see what you think.

I hope you will take the time to give us some feedback on social media and on our comment section.

About Kendrick

Just a passionate man about cooking, living in Kansas who loves to share his knowledge about cooking and grilling with everyone.

11 thoughts on “5 Different Ways for Reheating Pulled Pork”

    • Hello Marie,
      There is no exact amount of water to put. I usually fill it a bit more than the half of pan. It depends on how much pulled pork you are going to reheat.


  1. How many times can I reheat my Pam of meat in the oven before I should toss leftovers. We are on day 3 after smoking a huge pork butt. Plenty left over but is it still safe? We’ve heated it all in the pan every time.

    • Hello,
      While it is safe to reheat any leftovers couple of times, you have to have in mind that the quality decreases each time you reheat it. What you can do is to only reheat small proportions of food, so you don’t reheat all the leftovers but only a small part of what you will eat.
      Also, leftover cooked meat/food is recommended to stay in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days. If you plan to keep it longer, then you should try freezing it or trying any other storage method.

  2. Hello

    If I smoke a pork shoulder to reheat in a day or two, should I leave it intact and not pulled it until after reheating? This feels like this should retain more moisture but I don’t really know. I’m cooking for more people than I have grill space so thinking about doing two batches – one in advance. What do you think?


    • Hello Dave,
      Well, actually I have never been in this situation but I think that your suggestions is the best option. You can smoke the pork shoulder and pull it AFTER reheating it after a day or two. Also, don’t forget to save the drippings from the original cooking. This way, you can incorporate them during the reheating process for maximum taste and moisture.

      Cheers, Kendrick.

  3. There is nothing inherently “unhealthy” about heating in a microwave, it doesn’t add anything just warms the meat by stimulating the atoms, you get a better result using an oven is all as it heats more gently

  4. I have frozen the pulled pork, and I still have a lot of the drippings left. Can I save the drippings in the refrigerator for 10 days and use them when I reheat or should I just throw it out?

    • Hello Dawn,
      I cannot tell for sure but I recommend you to also freeze the drippings if you plan to use them after 10 days. The meat and drippings I would suggest to refrigerate for up to 5 days, no longer than that.
      In your case, 10 days seems a bit longer and the best option is to also freeze the drippings in the freezer.
      Thanks, Kendrick

  5. For reheating in the oven, you say 30 minutes. Should that be 30 minutes per pound? I am redoing one right now, and after 30 minutes, at 250, it is only up to 56 degrees. My shoulder was just under 9 lbs when i smoked it yesterday, so i’m guessing that after smoking for 9 hrs and removal of the blade bone, it is probably something like 6.5 -7.

    • Hello Jonathan,
      You should reheat the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. The 30 minutes is for reference and the only way to tell for sure the progress is the internal temperature.
      Hope this helps,
      Cheers, Kendrick

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