Can You Pull Pork The Next Day? Top 6 Reliable Tips

Pulled pork is perhaps one of the most popular barbeque dishes in the U.S., particularly in the Carolinas. This all-time Southern BBQ favorite is cooked for hours, typically over a charcoal pit until it can be pulled apart to serve – hence the name “pulled pork”. Pork shoulder is considered as the best type of meat for pulled pork, because it is very rich in fat content that helps create tender, tantalizing and flavorful meat.

But one of the biggest questions which most meat connoisseurs ask is can you pull pork the next day? The short answer is Yes, you can definitely pull pork the next day, as long as you heat it up properly. But it is not that straightforward. You will have to follow few precautions in order to prevent the loss of extra moisture from it.

I highly recommend you to read this article till the end so that you will know the right method to pull pork the next day at your home.

Most Important Questions To Ask Before You Pull Pork The Next Day

Pull Pork The Next Day

How Long Can You Wait to Pull Pork?

There is often a great debate about the wait time before you pull pork. Because pulled pork aficionados have their own theories on the time that works best for their recipe. Before getting into the how long to wait until pulling pork; it’s important to understand the significance of “resting” time. Regardless of the type of pork or meat you’re cooking, resting time after cooking keeps the meat moist. It also helps to remarkably improve its tenderness and texture. As mentioned earlier, pork shoulder has optimum fat, protein, vitamin, mineral and lots of water content.

In terms of numbers, pork contains a whopping 75 percent water. This water content greatly reduces as soon as the muscle fibers begin to compress and contract when the meat is cooked. When pork shoulder is cooked at its recommended 145-degrees cooking temperature, the proteins in the meat begin to shrink in length. This consequently forces the moisture in between the cracks of the muscle fibers, surface and center of the meat to slowly reduce over time. And it causes the meat to become tougher and drier over a period. But when the pork shoulder is allowed to rest, the loss of moisture process is somewhat reversed.

Rested pork shoulder retains more of its natural juices, which makes the meat softer, succulent and juicier. Now, the true answer to the above question is anywhere from around 20 minutes to up to 60 minutes. After your pork shoulder is cooked to your liking, you should relax the meat for at least 20 minutes to a minimum one hour at the least to get the best results possible.

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Can You Shred Pork After It Cools?

Yes, you can shred pork after it cools without any issues. But doing this won’t render the same results because it also depends on whether the shredded pork is warm or hot at that time. However, there are some things you can do to control certain things. If shredding pork after it cools is your only option, then I recommend you to follow this.

Shredding hot or warm pork makes it easier to take apart the muscle fibers. On the other side, it is a bit difficult to shred the pork once the muscle fibers are condensed. If you want fine shreds, and a hand pulled look, then I strongly recommend to shred pork only when it is warm or hot in terms of its temperature. But you may have to break the muscle fibers apart to soften the meat with a reliable meat tenderizer or similar tool.

However, if you’re in a situation where you must cook pork in your top of the line Weber gas grill or Dyna-Glo smoker, and transport it just in time for dinner at your parents’ house the next day; then here is what you can do to prevent ruining the flavor of the pork.

  1. Smoke the pork shoulder to your desired pulling temperature, and then let it cool for roughly 30 minutes to an hour
  2. Next, wrap the chunk of the meat properly in the foil and refrigerate it for some time
  3. Reheat it in an oven at 300-degrees for three hours or so

But let me also remind you one fact about pulled pork here. The thing is that, reheating an uncooked, whole pork shoulder can be a tedious process as compared to reheating pulled or shredded pork. However, you can make this task much easier and comfortable for you by using a good pair of pulled pork shredder claws. These claws provide you a great grip, and provide excellent heat resistance, making it easier to work with moderately hot pork meat.

Can You Let Pulled Pork Rest Overnight?

The answer is Yes. You can definitely let pulled pork rest overnight, as long as you do it the right way. But what’s more important thing to remember is that the fat that keeps the pork moist tends to congeal over a period. This means the pulled pork tends to become semi-moist and even harder when left to rest overnight.

Shredding pork in this state may not render the same shredding results. So, you will have to warm up the pork to reheat the fat, and moisten things up a bit. Speaking about congealing, it’s not only the fat that hardens. Along with the fat on the pulled pork, the collagen from the fat also starts to harden over a time. This sort of gives you a little less pork to pull. Some food experts say that the safest way is to pull pork after the resting time of an hour or so, and then set it to cool in the fridge.

How to Store Un-Pulled Pork Overnight?

The process to store un-pulled pork is pretty straightforward:

  1. Grab a cake pan, and put the chunk of pork meat in it
  2. Pour the drippings from the pan in the smoker or oven over the pork in the cake pan
  3. Cover it with foil, and let it sit in the refrigerator
  4. Take the cake pan with the pork out of the refrigerator, and slide it straight into a 250-degree hot oven
  5. Leave it in there for approximately two hours, and remove the meat when the internal temperature reaches 110-degrees
  6. Now you can begin pulling the pork easily, as it will be incredibly moist and delicious at that time

How to Store Pulled Pork Overnight?

To properly store your pulled pork for a full night time, you will have to follow few simple steps:

  1. Once you pull pork when its warm or hot, grab a few handfuls, and wrap them in food safe plastic wrap
  2. Make sure that the pieces aren’t placed tightly together, because you want the heat to escape quickly to get it out of the danger zone
    According to the USDA, leaving pork meat out at room temperature aka “Danger Zone – 40 °F – 140 °F)” can cause bacterial infection
  3. Place the handfuls of pulled pork meat on a cookie sheet, and let them freeze in the freezer only up to a temperature below the “danger zone”, so a little less than 40-degrees F
  4. Once the pulled pork reaches this safe temperature, set the pieces neatly into BPA-free meal storage containers or Ziploc storage bags, and place in the fridge

How to Reheat Pulled Pork the Next Day?

The process of reheating pulled pork on the next day is also not that tedious or cumbersome to say. The short-summarized process is given as follows:

  1. If you’re going to reheat all of the pieces in one go, it is best to use a Dutch oven with the lid on tight
  2. Simply add a 1/4 cup of water or liquid of your choice to the Dutch oven to create a moist environment
  3. Put the light on tight, and set it in the oven at 200-degrees F to 225-degrees F
  4. Check on the pulled pork, stir it up periodically, and serve when ready.


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