how to freeze pork belly

How to Freeze Pork Belly: 3 Best Methods

As a BBQ lover, I usually wait for the weekends on which I can cook and grill something delicious for myself and for my family members but sometimes I’ll cook too much and need to freeze pork belly that I’ve smoked.

I cook and grill chicken, mutton as well as pork.

Sometimes, I cook pork belly too.

But let me clear one thing here.

When you say pork belly, some people feel that it is part of pork stomach.

In reality, it’s not the actual stomach part but it is the part located at the lower rib cage.

Also, it’s fatty flesh is rich in flavor when you add the perfect seasoning to it.

Furthermore, I see many people ask this question: How should I freeze the pork belly?

By all means, I believe freezing the pork belly is one of the smartest decisions that you should make.

Because freezing the pork belly will keep it in the “good for cooking” category for up to 6 months.

But, I highly recommend to take out some time and cook that frozen belly as soon as possible or else it won’t taste good at all.

Plus, the good news is that it does not matter much whether the pork belly is properly cooked or it is raw, or marinated.

Whatever, its condition is, you can still freeze your pork belly.

But remember, among all sorts of pork bellies, the raw belly will have the maximum life span.

The main reason behind it is its high moisture level which usually is not present in cooked or marinated pork bellies.

Plus, it won’t affect the quality or make it tough if you freeze the raw pork belly.

A piece of advice from myself is it would be better if you keep meat and skin in different containers.

It will be easier for you to use them afterward.

Now, how to actually freeze the pork belly?

If the pork belly is raw then, simply put it in the freezer in an air-tight container.

This one’s not a puzzle.

But if it’s cooked then, let it cool down, or else you’ll put pressure in the freezer and the pork belly will lose its texture gradually.

Simply divide it if possible as it will help you later on to manage it comfortably.

Plus, keep them in separate air-tight containers or bags.

Finally, you can stick a note on them with the date of storage for easy management.

In further part of this article, I will explain to you how to freeze uncooked and smoked pork bell.

You will also learn how to properly freeze and defrost pork belly in the freezer.

Without further delay, lets get to these points.

Can I Freeze Uncooked Pork Belly?

My short answer would be “Yes”.

You can definitely freeze uncooked or raw pork belly.

The process is quite simple but you should take care of some things first.

I will consider both scenarios here which are cooked and uncooked pork bellies.

In terms of time, uncooked will beat the cooked one by a great deal.

For the uncooked pork belly, I recommend to store it in an air-tight bag and remove any air from the bag if there is any.

Do the same with the cooked pork belly.

However, I recommend to cool down the pork first and then, follow the above mentioned process.

The reason why both of them should have no air inside the bag is because freezer burn can make things go a bit wrong.

Freezer burn, especially on cooked food, is the time when the food starts getting crystalized.

They eventually take out all the moisture from the pork belly which then speeds up the process of pork belly going bad.

Therefore, avoid storing hot cooked pork belly in the freezer.

How to Freeze Pork Belly?

Firstly, in terms of time, cooked pork belly can last up to 3 months in a freezer.

If you want to keep it in your refrigerator then, it’ll last merely a few days.

When I say “smoked”, it means that it’s still hot.

Don’t make the mistake of putting it directly into the freezer without cooling it down or it’ll be a victim of freezer burn.

As it’s smoked, the rate of growth of bacteria has increased significantly.

To prevent that, firstly, I recommend to cool it down.

Then, cut it into different pieces which will also speed up its cooling process.

Then, get an aluminum foil and wrap it around a piece.

It will act as a barrier and prevent its dehydration and freezer burn problem.

Then, for some extra protection, put it inside an air-tight bag.

Remember, you should remove any air inside it to prevent any chance of freezer burn.

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What is the Best Way to Freeze Pork Belly?

There are different materials that you can wrap around the pork belly, chops or roasted pork to preserve it.

But before that, you must clear the doubt that freezing pork belly will make it tough eventually.

All you have to worry about are the packaging and the way you pack it.

If things are done perfectly, you’ll be looking at preserving this pork belly between 2-6 months (depending upon the situation).

Now, for an uncooked pork belly, you can either wrap it in an aluminium foil, plastic wrap, or freezer wrap.

Before wrapping, it’s suggested that you divide them or slice them in small pieces (if possible).

Wrap them and put them in a big air-tight container. 

Now, remove air from it and keep it inside the freezer.

After that, you’ll be able to increase its life span by at least 6 months.

Now, onto the cooked pork belly.

They aren’t tricky at all.

Simply, let it cool and don’t make the mistake to wrap it while it’s hot.

If possible, separate them like marinated in one bag and non-marinated in the other bag.

Then, follow the same procedure which I have already mentioned above.

Can You Freeze Trader Joes Pork Belly?

For the ones who don’t know, Trader Joe’s is a brand that sells fully cooked pork products including pork belly.

As it’s almost fully cooked, the process of dehydration has begun and it will not last till 6 months.

But as per my research, you can still preserve it for a maximum of 3 months.

Storing it up to 3 months is a simple process.

Firstly, let it cool (if warm or cooked) then, wrap it in a plastic or freezer wrap to prevent loss of moisture.

Finally, place this Trader Joe’s cooked pork belly in an air-tight storage bag.

If things go right then, then you are looking at around 3 months of preservation.

But, I highly recommend to eat it before the time whenever you need the feel to consume it.

3 Main Methods to Defrost Pork Belly

There are three ways which you can use to defrost your pork belly.

Method 1: Using Refrigerator

The first method is by using your refrigerator.

In this method, you simply transfer the pork belly from the freezer to the bottom most part of your fridge.

It should take around 24 hours on an average to defrost your pork belly.

Method 2: Using Cold Water

The second method is by using the cold water.

In this method, you will take a bowl big enough to fit the pork belly.

It should still be in the leakproof bag.

Then depending on the size, it will defrost automatically.

Small pieces will take around 3-5 hours per pound.

Big roast or large pieces should take 4-7 hours while the thick chops will take the most time of 12-14 hours per pound.

Method 3: Using Microwave Oven

In the last method, you can simply put it in a microwave oven.

Turn the pork belly to make sure it’s defrosted from everywhere.