How to Freeze Pork?
To freeze pork, start by washing the pork thoroughly and patting it dry with a clean towel. Cut the pork into the desired size and shape, and then season it as desired. Place the pork in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze it until it is solid. Once the pork is frozen, transfer it to a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container.
After you thaw the raw pork, it is safe in the fridge for up to five days before you prepare to cook, or, if you choose not to use the pork, you can refreeze it safely without cooking first. It is okay to thaw and refreeze raw pork ribs without cooking them first, but keep in mind that the meat will get a little dryer each time you repeat the process.
You have to take extra care when your meat is already cooked, and keep in mind that it will not last as long as fresh pork will if frozen. The amount of time that your pork takes to fully thaw would depend on the weight of your frozen meat and the method of thawing that you are going to follow. Calculate your time — Based on your porks weight, use the 45 minutes-per-pound rule for frying, and then add 50% because you are cooking with frozen meat.
Once your pork is cooked, test for an internal temperature of 145 degrees using your meat thermometer. You can barbecue, bake, or pan-fry the pork but be sure they get an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) to make sure they are completely cooked. Note that if you are freezing cooked pork chops, you will have to ensure they are cool to room temperature or lower before wrapping.
Frozen cooked pork chops do not spoil if you keep them in the freezer longer than 2 or 3 months, but they can develop a nasty, straw-like texture. Raw pork chops should last for 4 to 12 months in the freezer, but if the meat is cooked, you are better off defrosting and heating it up within 2 to 3 months. Smaller cuts such as pork chops may begin to show signs of freezer burn if you try to keep them longer than 12 months.
The shorter time that a raw pork belly stays in the freezer, the better, but in any case, a raw pork belly can still comfortably last a longer time without losing its quality. If you put the cooked pork belly into your freezer, you should aim for thawing within six months, since anything beyond this point will destroy the meats quality. If you want to store pork longer while frozen, consider freezing it prior to cooking, since fresh pork can last for six months.
If your pork is still in the original package, you may want to add it to your freezer without removing it from its wrapper. If you are planning on freezing the pork in its original wrapper, cover the store plastic that is not leak-proof with a freezer-safe bag or newspaper.
To protect pork even more, you can wrap your pork in aluminum foil before placing it into the freezer bag, or put it into a container with a lid. If you cooked the pork chops in sauce, you may want to rub in a little of that sauce before wrapping, so you will have some moisture as the pork chops are frozen and thawed. If your frozen pork chops are going into a BBQ pit, simply bring them directly into the pit and begin roasting. While cooking time may increase by 50%, you will not need to thaw overnight or in the refrigerator.
Once your cooked pork is at room temperature, wrap and move it into your fridge (short-term) or freezer (long-term). If you expect to use the pork that is been cooked for several days, you can wrap it and store in portions, transferring them whenever you are ready to use it. Defrosted pork can remain inside of your freezer for 3-5 days, as long as you are not planning on cooking it.
Make sure that you are prepared to cook the defrosted pork soon after because certain areas might have warmed up, making it susceptible to bacteria growth. This method takes longer, but you are assured the pork is defrosted to a safe temperature. For each method, you will want to thaw the meat first, either at room temperature for several hours or in the fridge overnight.
To thaw pork in the microwave, plan to cook the meat right after it is thawed, as certain areas of the meat can get hot and start cooking in the microwave, and any bacteria that were there will not be destroyed. If you are serving the meat in a soup, there is no need to thaw–just throw the frozen pork straight into a simmering stock to cook it. Just add frozen meat directly to the boiling homemade or store-bought stock, and simmer until the pork is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
Once warmed, put the sous vide-safe plastic bag into a pan of water and let the pork warm up, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Store the meat in the freezer in sealable, quart-sized bags, and you will have well-seasoned pork that is ready to be cooked on a moments notice, for up to three months. A good way to heat leftover pork ribs from frozen is to place them on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 or 3 tablespoons of chicken broth, sherry, or leftover cooking juices. If you know in advance that you are going to be freezing quite a bit, you can always shredded the bits that you are planning on eating immediately, but leave the remaining pork chops whole.