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BBQ Food Economics

BBQ Food Economics: How to freeze and reheat BBQ food!

It is possible to Reheat BBQ foods after freezing … and you won’t lose the wonderful smoky flavors !!

So many of us are avoiding large groups with family and friends. If there are perhaps just two of you isolating together, you may think that Barbecuing a Whole Brisket or Pulled Pork Shoulder is a waste of food.

It isn’t! It is possible using tips below to grill, eat your fill then freeze for later. Not only is this a cost-saving convenience but you can supply frozen barbecued foods for family and friends to enjoy in their own homes.

Consider using your barbecue to grill a variety of foods when you next fire up. These can then be frozen for reheating another night when you just want a simple ready-made meal! It will also result in using less fuel instead of heating your grill from scratch each time.

Tips for Freezing BBQ Food

Firstly don’t leave your leftovers on the table for too long. Rather place directly into the fridge to cool until you have the time to freeze.

Oxygen is the enemy of freezing food. It is essential if you want to preserve the quality that you purchase a food sealer that will suck out the air and then seal your leftovers in a bag.

Handheld versions of vacuum sealers are inexpensive but if you can stretch the budget to a tabletop vacuum sealer like Foodsaver then it will pay you back in food quality very quickly.

If you don’t have a vacuum sealer then place the meat in a zipper bag and slowly lower the bag into a bowl of cold water.

The water displaces the air in the bag and you can quickly zip it up.

Try and freeze food flat to allow for shorter thawing times.

Label the food with a marker showing the item and the date that you sealed the food.

Barbecue sauces can be frozen into ice cube trays then placed in resealable bags for longer storage.

BBQ Food Economics- Freeze Sauces

Tips for Thawing Frozen BBQ food

Place the frozen food ( still in the plastic) out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Allow 1 day for every 4 lbs of meat.

If you are in a hurry try submerging the package in cold water but change the water frequently.

You can also submerge the package in a pot of simmering water on the stovetop.

It is possible to microwave the food but as the food cooks from the inside out in a microwave it can result in uneven thawing.


Tips for Reheating BBQ food

Make sure that any reheated barbecue meat is safely at a minimum temperature of 75 Degree C throughout. Low and slow is the requirement here. If you allow the oven to get too hot the meat will toughen.

Thawed barbecue meat can be reheated in:-

  • A low oven (225-250 degree C) Add a little liquid and then wrap or cover tightly with foil.
  • Sous vide system which circulated hot water around the sealed food packages.
  • A slow cooker is not advisable as this will allow the meat to sit in the danger zone of 4-60 degrees C for several hours. The meat also tends to lose much of its flavor.

Here are some specific examples of commonly Barbecued leftovers:

Freezing and Reheating Ribs

Allow barbecued ribs to cool in the refrigerator then vacuum seal or completely enclose the cooled ribs in tin foil. The maximum recommended freezing time is 3 months.

Thaw in the fridge. Place the ribs in a foil package. A small amount of liquid such as stock, beer apple juice, etc. Recover the ribs.

In a preheated oven of 250 degrees C reheat the ribs to a serving temperature of 165 C.

Open up the foil package and baste the ribs with your favorite sauce. Grill for a few minutes turning frequently.

Freezing and Reheating Pulled Pork

Once pulled and sauced, the meat freezes well in sealable plastic bags. The smokey Barbecue flavor is retained. Place the thawed meat in a sealable plastic bag and heat through by placing it in simmering water on the stovetop. If required add a small amount of liquid to the meat before simmering.

Freezing and Reheating Brisket

Don’t slice the brisket before cooling and freezing. Wrap the brisket in two layers of heavy-duty foil. Any juices should be frozen separately. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Thaw the meat and juices in the fridge. Place the thawed meat in a roasting pan pouring any juices over the meat before covering tightly with foil.

Heat in an oven preheated to 250 degrees C. Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees C it is ready for serving.


Freezing and Reheating Chillis and Peppers

Whist you have your grill on it is a good idea to blacken off chilis or peppers. Peel the skins, slice into strips and freeze in resealable bags. Use this when required in soups, sauces, or pasta dishes.

Smoked Chicken

Use your grill with some woodchips to smoke and cook through Chicken Breasts. After cooling then place in a sealable plastic bag removing the oxygen. It freezes well and can be simply defrosted in the fridge before using it.

Creative ideas to use reheated Barbecue meat and poultry

Add shredded pork or brisket to a beans cookout.

Mix shredded meat into a tossed salad.

Mix shredded meats with BBQ sauce then spoon over Macaroni and Cheese before it goes into the oven.

Use leftover barbecued meats as pizza toppings.

Chopped or shredded barbecue chicken is delicious on cheese quesadillas

Click on the link above for further ideas on how to use BBQ Leftovers!


So the next time you would like to Barbecue but it seems a waste for two then grill, freeze and reheat!



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Posted in: Advice

About the Author:

Hi, I am a writer based outside Cape Town in South Africa. I come from a Barbecue obsessed family. With the great weather we have in Cape Town ( most of the year) we enjoy Cooking Outside in our Backyard as often as possible. South African's love to "Braai" anything! The trick to continuing to enjoy Barbecuing is loving the old favorites but experimenting with new foods and methods often.

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