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If you have ever tried reheating leftover BBQ, you know it can be a daunting task. BBQing is a very enjoyable experience and, if done correctly, produces delicious food. However, by nature, BBQing produces more food than can be consumed in a single sitting … which means leftovers.

Storing and reheating leftovers is critical to maximizing enjoyment … not to mention value. Properly done, leftovers can provide several weeks of re-enjoyment of the BBQ.

Leftovers should be heated to at least 165°F to kill bacteria and render the food safe to consume. Most methods below allow for the use of an instant read thermometer to guarantee the correct Internal Temperature of the leftovers.

4 methods (In order of my preference):

  1. Sous Vide – this method preserves all the lusciousness of the food
    • Place leftovers in a heat resistant plastic bag. This can be either a Vacuum sealed bag or a Resealable plastic bag. If you have the equipment, a vacuum sealed bag works the absolute best; however, it prevents the use of an instant read thermometer.
    • If using a resealable bag, such as a Ziplock bag, use water in a pot to displace the air in the bag.
      • Start by unsealing about ½” of the bag. Then slowly lower the bag into the water (allowing the air to escape) until the top of the bag is almost submerged. Do not allow water into the bag. This method should remove most of the air in the bag.
      • Leave bag slightly unsealed to allow for an instant read thermometer to be used.
      • Clamp the bag to the rim of the pot that will be used for the heated water. This allows the meat in the bag to be below the water line but no water to enter the bag.
    • Heat water to at least 170°F. This can be accomplished with a Sous vide machine or a Stove top pan. Bring water to a boil then Turn down heat to just below boiling. 
    • Place bag in water and let the magic happen – at least 30 minutes for thawed leftovers and 45 minutes for frozen leftovers. Remember – the target IT is 165°F
  2. Oven
    • Place leftovers in oven proof dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
    • Put ¼ cup of water in the dish with the leftovers. This will create steam inside the aluminum foil sealed dish as it is warmed.
    • Heat oven to 325°F
    • Warm leftovers until the meat is warm all the way through … usually 15-20 minutes. Remember – the target IT is 165°F.
  3. Stovetop
    • Heat stovetop using medium heat.
    • Place leftovers in a cast iron (or other type) pan.
    • Coat the pan with olive oil (or other vegetable oil).
    • Heat the leftovers up stirring continuously. Remember – the target IT is165°F
  4. Microwave
    • Place the pork in a microwave-safe container … like a BPA-free container or better yet, Pyrex.
    • Add some marinade or sauce if you have any. Microwaves can dry meat, including pulled pork. To prevent this from happening, pour some sauce or your leftover marinade on the meat. This not only adds moisture but flavor, too.
    • Reheat the meat at the right temperature. At a low to medium setting, your microwave should be able to heat your pulled pork to the USDA’s recommended temperature (165ºF). Usually, you only need about 5 to 10 minutes. Once you’re done, you have the choice to add more sauce depending on your preferences.

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