I don’t know about you, but nothing says summer quite like a pulled pork sandwich along with some sweet corn and watermelon on the side. No matter how hard I try or how many people I invite over, though, I always end up with leftover pulled pork when the meal is done! Does this ever happen to you?
If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that I decided to test several reheating methods to find the best way to reheat leftover pulled pork.
How We Prepared Our Pork
Although I’ve smoked pork butts before, I decided to use my go-to indoor recipe when creating my pulled pork for this reheating extravaganza! I use a recipe called Dr. Pepper Crock Pot Pulled Pork, and it’s amazing. It only requires a few minutes of preparation and provides a great smelling house as a bonus.
After we enjoyed some pulled pork the first time around, I stored the remaining shredded pork in my fridge for a couple of days while I researched all of the top recommendations for reheating pulled pork. Then I carved out an entire afternoon in the kitchen so I could test out these methods and give you the best directions on how to reheat your leftover barbecue pork.
A few notes before you start:
- I added a small amount of apple juice (around ¼ cup) to each portion I reheated before I even started.
- I stirred in some barbecue sauce before reheating as well because I thought it would help with moisture and create some great flavor.
- I kept each portion for reheating somewhere between 2-3 cups of meat. Therefore, your reheating times may vary based on the amount you warm up.
Crock Pot Reheating
Best For: Large Amounts
Total Time Required: 2-4 Hours
My husband laughed when I suggested we reheat the pulled pork in the exact same vessel we used to begin with because he knew it would take a while. However, I persevered and tested it out just to see what would happen!
How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot
- Place the pulled pork in the crock pot and set to “warm.”
- Allow the pork to reheat for 2-4 hours, depending on the quantity.
- Once reheated thoroughly, remove the pulled pork from your crock pot and enjoy!
Don’t Do This!
- Don’t try setting too high — it will simply overcook the meat and dry it out.
- Don’t forget to check on the pork every once in a while so that you don’t overcook it.
This method worked really well to reheat enough pulled pork for our family of 4. The meat tasted great and cleanup was easy!
With that being said, I don’t know that I’d mess with this method if you’re only reheating enough for one person or you need to set it up in the morning before you leave for work. 2-4 hours of reheating is definitely a lot!
Best For: Maintaining Flavor
Total Time Required: 30 Minutes
Okay, so maybe waiting 2-4 hours for your leftover pulled pork seems a bit ridiculous. Luckily, though, you can achieve a similar result in just 30 minutes by following these directions for oven reheating!
How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Oven
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the pulled pork into a baking dish and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.
- Once the pork is heated throughout, remove from the oven, take off the aluminum foil, and serve some up!
Don’t Do This!
- Don’t skip the aluminum foil or lid! This will cause your meat to dry out as it cooks.
- Don’t try to heat it up faster by cranking up the temperature. Just like with most other reheating recipes, that idea never turns out well.
As you can tell, this pulled pork looked moist and delicious after I pulled it out of the oven. I couldn’t tell a huge difference in flavor or texture between this and the crock pot method, so if I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely stick with the oven.
Best For: A Quick Reheat
Total Time Required: 7-10 Minutes
As you can tell, we’ve organized these reheating methods based on the amount of time each one takes. Next up, the stove top! While this method limits the amount of pork you can reheat, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork on the Stove
- Place the pulled pork into a saucepan that best fits the amount of meat you want to heat up.
- Heat the pork over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the pork is heated throughout, turn off the burner and remove from heat.
- Serve it up on a bun or with some delicious cornbread!
Don’t Do This!
- Don’t crank the burner all the way up — you’ll scorch the pork!
- Don’t forget to stir… or you’ll end up with burnt pulled pork at the bottom.
Although I’m not a fan of standing over the stove and stirring something for nearly 10 minutes, this leftover pulled pork tasted good enough that it was worth the effort. I found the oven method to work a little better for larger amounts, but this is still a solid way to reheat your pork — especially if you’re just warming up enough for 1-2 people.
Best For: Small Quantities
Total Time Required: 2-4 Minutes
If you just want to reheat your pulled pork fast and skip any sort of effort, then this reheating method is probably your speed.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork in the Microwave
- Place the desired amount of pulled pork in a microwave-safe dish and add a splash more apple juice and sauce.
- Insert the pulled pork into the microwave and heat on high for two minutes.
- After that, stir and stick in for another 1-2 minutes if needed.
- Stir again and verify that it’s warmed throughout.
- Serve up your pulled pork and get to eating!
Don’t Do This!
- Don’t worry about things like wet paper towels. The splash of juice is enough moisture for this reheating.
- Don’t forget to stir after 2 minutes! This helps make sure you heat things evenly.
Although I rarely love any sort of leftover meat that’s reheated in the microwave, this pulled pork tasted alright. It was juicy and flavorful… and not too microwaved. If you have time to do the stove top method, though, I’d definitely consider it.
Other Tips We Didn’t Try
Although we test out several variations of reheating before writing these articles, nobody has enough time in the world to do everything. However, if you want to experiment, here are a few other pieces of advice we found online.
I found some people suggesting that you keep the pork butt in one piece and only shred it after you finish reheating it. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to eat it the first time around, but I suppose you could shave off small sections to shred?
Several sites recommended that you keep the pan drippings or juices from the original cooking and stir them into your leftovers before you put them into the fridge. I didn’t think about this when I originally made the pork, so I wasn’t able to test this out. However, I found that some apple juice and BBQ sauce worked just as well.
One site suggested creating a steamer to reheat the pork. This seemed complicated and potentially dangerous with small children around, so I decided to skip it. However, it’s something you could look into if you’re interested.
So, Which Method Is The Best?
I’m sure after reading my reviews of each method, you can tell which ones I most preferred. However, I’ve learned that when it comes to reheating leftovers, there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. All of the methods I suggest work well; it just depends on which one fits your time constraints and quantity needs.
However, one thing’s for sure: Reheated pulled pork tastes great if you warm it up right! So don’t let those leftovers go to waste; save them for another day!
Want some great recipe ideas for your next cookout? Check out our review of the best barbecue cookbooks!