Pork belly is one of the most sought-after cuts of pork meat.
It is full of rich and complex flavors that delight the tongue in new ways with every bite and is also packed with meat and fat, to make it a joy to eat.
To sweeten the deal, even more, fat from pork belly is also far healthier than other sources of fat, so why wouldn’t you want to try it out?
The only problem is, with pork belly’s greater flavor and texture profile, it is also far more expensive to get your hands on.
No doubt, when you do manage to get your hands on some, you’ll want to use it as best as you can, no matter how long it takes you. Thus, many who pick it up choose to freeze it, to keep it lasting longer.
But can you actually freeze pork belly, whether it’s cooked or raw? Will it affect the taste or the texture? And is it even safe to do?
No doubt you just want the best for your delicious pork belly, so to help you to care for it, we’ve set out to answer these questions once and for all!
Can You Freeze Cooked Pork Belly?
Yes. You can freeze cooked pork belly. If you have previously cooked pork belly, and want to freeze it, simply place the amount you want into a freezer bag, and then place the cut into the freezer.
If you have placed cooked pork belly into the freezer, you should aim to thaw it out within six months, as anything past that time could ruin the quality of the meat.
Leaving pork belly in the freezer for too many hours at a time can lead to freezer burn on the meat, which discolors the meat, and causes its texture and taste to degrade.
Freezing any food, naturally, alters the texture and taste of said food.
The freezing process involves tightening the bonds between cells in food, which causes the food to warp ever so slightly, both when it is first frozen, and then when it is later thawed.
You should also expect similar changes in a cut of cooked pork belly. However, these changes are negligible, and only truly become a problem if you were to thaw cooked pork belly and then freeze it again after that.
Can You Freeze Raw Pork Belly?
You certainly can freeze raw pork belly, in fact, many would recommend that you freeze pork belly while it is raw, rather than when it is cooked.
This is because raw pork belly is better able to retain its integrity once frozen, than cooked pork belly. It is also easy to place raw pork belly into the freezer for later consumption, and it is easy to thaw and defrost for use.
Again, you should aim to use raw pork belly from the freezer within six months of placing it in there. Past this point, the quality of the meat will be ruined and can come out very dry, even after it has been cooked.
The less time that the raw pork belly stays in the freezer, the better, but regardless raw pork belly can still conveniently be frozen for a long period without lowering in quality.
Is it Safe to Freeze Cooked or Raw Pork Belly?
It is totally safe to freeze both cooked and raw pork belly.
There are no effects that would come from the freezing process that could be considered adverse to health.
In fact, the freezing process helps to protect the meat from developing bacteria, as bacteria require a warm and moist environment in order to thrive.
The only effects you would see from freezing pork belly are the changes to the taste and the texture of the meats. Though freezing foods just once only has a very marginal effect on the quality of your food.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Pork Belly?
Yes. You can very safely refreeze cooked pork belly that has been allowed to thaw.
You can do this as many times as is necessary, however, you should expect to see some effects from the process.
As mentioned, the freezing process slightly alters the structure of food items, so freezing, thawing, and then refreezing indefinitely will lead to noticeable changes in the texture and taste of your food.
This also applies to cooked pork belly. Thus, you should really aim to only refreeze a cooked pork belly once.
Can You Refreeze Raw Pork Belly?
You can also refreeze raw pork belly, which is incredibly useful for those of you with busy or flexible schedules that often find that you don’t have time to cook full meals.
You can place raw pork belly into the freezer as many times as you like, but, of course, it will alter the texture and taste of it.
If you are hesitant to place thawed raw pork belly back into the freezer, you could try cooking it fully first and then placing it into the freezer, to give it an entirely new lease of life, which is incredibly useful.
So there it is, you can definitely safely freeze pork belly, regardless of whether it is cooked, or totally raw.
It can be done safely, but it can slightly alter the quality of the cut of meat.
You might notice slight changes in the taste and texture of the meat, though these changes should be relatively negligible!
So if you have some leftover pork belly that you don’t want to go to waste, feel free to pop it in the freezer, it will still be just as delicious later on!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Do you Store Pork Belly In the Freezer?
The best thing to use to freeze pork belly is a classic freezer bag. This keeps the smells and tastes of the pork from escaping and keeps other foods from getting into contact with the meat and potentially compromising it.
How Long Does Cooked Pork Belly Last in Fridge?
Cooked pork belly can last in your fridge in advance of four days.
After this point, it might begin to spoil, and its taste and texture will have altered so much as to be rather unappetizing.
Does Pork Belly Go Bad?
Pork belly can spoil very quickly since it is a moist cut of meat, which allows for bacteria to quickly spread and thrive on it. You can help to curb this by placing the meat into your freezer or refrigerator.