Can You Freeze Pork Belly? Will It Change The Taste?

Wondering if whether you can freeze pork belly or not?

You might have heard it can ruin the meat or impact the taste.

Let’s discover if freezing a delicious pork belly is the right thing to do.

As well as some other tips and tricks when freezing meat.

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Can You Freeze Pork Belly?

Yes, you can freeze pork belly however you need to do it correctly. Below I have outlined the benefits along with the methods. If I see pork belly on special I will usually buy it freeze and defrost the pork belly in time for when I plan to smoke or roast it.

The Benefits Of Freezing Pork Belly

There are many benefits to freezing a piece of pork belly.

See below why this might be a good option for you.

Don’t forget to read further for some freezing and thawing tips.

As well as how to be safe while doing so.

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Increase The Shelf-Life Of Pork Belly When Freezing

Pork belly can last up to six months in the freezer.

This allows you to store it longer and have more flexibility when it comes to meal planning.

You Reduce Waste When Freezing Pork Belly

Frozen pork belly is a great way to reduce your waste, as it can be used in many different dishes.

These big slabs of meat come whole and can weigh up to 12-13 pounds.

My greedy friends can’t finish a whole chunk of belly in one sitting!

You Can Reduce The Price When Freezing Pork Belly

Frozen pork belly is usually cheaper than fresh pork belly.

It makes a great option for budget-minded people who plan on cooking it later.

Freezing Pork Belly Increases Convenience

Frozen pork belly is easy to store and prepare.

This makes it a great option for those who are busy and change plans regularly.

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Should You Freeze a Pork Belly?

Freezing can impact the texture and taste of the meat.

Especially with pork belly due to the high layers of fat inside and outside the meat.

With this being said, I suggest only freezing pork belly if you have to.

Later we will cover some benefits of freezing and how to do it properly.

Ask yourself the below to avoid ruining a tasty pork belly block.

– Can you purchase the pork belly a couple of days before you cook it?

– Do you have the proper storage in your freezer for the size of the meat?

– Are you planning on searing the outside to render the fat for a golden brown crust?

– Do you know the correct and safe thawing process for pork belly?

Note: Pork belly can be an inexpensive cut.

It has lots of delicious fat in between the layers of meat which doesn’t freeze well.

As this cut is widely available and cheap, you won’t miss out on buying fresh before cooking.

Why risk the possibility of freezer burn and soggy fat?

Let’s move on so we can cover all this and more!

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Step-By-Step Guide for Freezing Pork Belly

Note: This is for raw meat and not if you have already gone through the cooking process!

We will cover freezing cooked meat after as there is a slight difference.

Step 1 – Cut Into Pork Belly Cubes or Keep Whole

Blocks of pork belly can weigh up to 12 pounds!

Most domestic freezers will not be able to fit an entire slab of pork belly this size.

Portioning out into individual bits of pork belly as portions make life easier.

Like when defrosting and planning your meals.

Cubed pork belly is popular for a quick stirfry with Asian flavors.

You can of course keep the belly whole if wanting to smoke whole for a party.

Step 2 – Add a Layer of Protection to Avoid Freezer Burn

You want to protect the meat proteins from air exposure while frozen.

Freezer burn is when the moisture in the muscle cell structure of the meat expands.

Resulting in a mushy dry texture when cooking.

A lot of the flavor compounds are spread in the protein and fats’ natural moisture.

It won’t matter your cooking technique if that moisture crystallizes.

You will end up with dry baked pork belly meat and soggy fat.

– Keep the chunk of pork belly in the original packaging if you have room and cooking whole.

– Wrap the cubes of pork belly in two-three layers of wrap.

Tip: Freezer bags are perfect for cubes of meat!

Step 3 – Make a Note of the Date & Freeze the Pork Belly Pieces

We recommend freezing meat for no longer than 3 months.

Past this timeframe makes it more likely for meat deterioration to occur.

– Place the wrapped pork belly in the freezer away from any contamination risks.

– Write the date in a permanent marker on the wrap or packaging.

– Freeze for 2-3 months.

Safety Notes When Freezing Pork Belly

– Do not leave the meat at room temperature for longer than 60 minutes before freezing.

– Do not freeze pork that has been in your refrigerator for longer than 3 days.

– Check that the portions are properly sealed and away from cooked food in your freezer.

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You Can Freeze Leftover Pork Belly Meat?

We are primarily focusing on freezing raw meat.

But let’s quickly touch on if you can freeze cooked pork belly.

You can freeze a cooked piece of beef by following the below;

– Rest the meat wrapped in aluminum foil at room temperature.

– Monitor the internal temperature until it lowers to 140°F.

– Place in airtight container or in a couple of layers of plastic wrap.

– Freeze straight away for up to 3 months.

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My Favorite Recipe For Pork Belly.

Below are some of the ways I like to use pork belly.

My favorite way is; smoked pork belly with crispy skin, my second favorite is smoked pork belly burnt ends, they are juicy and caramelised.

The Best Way to Thaw Pork Belly

The best way to thaw pork belly is in the fridge.

The individual portions will take 30-60 minutes whereas a whole cut may take 2-3 days.

Don’t use hot water or leave frozen meat at room temperature to thaw.

The temperature change will cause harmful bacteria to grow.

A pork belly in the fridge will thaw at around 6 hours per pound.

Note: A good tip is to freeze on the day of purchase when not cooking right away.

Even refrigerated raw meat can spoil and always check the sell-by-date.

Can You Freeze Pork Belly? – The Summary

– Freeze a pork belly only if you have to.

– Make sure you have the right equipment and are prepared.

– Protect your cut of pork from the air when frozen.

– Do not freeze for over 3 months.

– Follow basic food safety steps.

– Thaw refrigerated.

How to Freeze Raw Pork Belly – The Summary

– Remove the skin and any excess fat on the outer layer.

– Cut the pork belly into thin slices and then cut those slices into even smaller pieces of meat.

– Place the pork belly slices into a freezer-safe container.

– Make sure the pork belly slices are tightly packed together.

– Cover the pork belly slices with a layer of liquid (water, juice, or broth).

– Freeze the pork belly slices.

– When ready to cook your pork belly recipe, thaw in the refrigerator.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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