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Barbecue Leftovers

Store and Reheat Leftover Barbecue for a Second Perfect Meal

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Variety of barbequed meats and ribs on cooker Steve Cicero/Photolibrary/Getty Images

The one thing that true barbecue won’t allow is throwing extra food on the smoker at the last minute. Always prepare more than you need so you don’t have to worry about running out. Of course this will leave you with leftovers more often than not. So what do you do with all this extra smoked meat?

Storage: If you are planning on finishing off your leftover smoked brisket, pulled pork or whatever in the next few days, wrap it tightly and keep it in the refrigerator. If, on the other hand, you want to keep it for more than a few days, wrap it in foil and seal it in a zip lock bag. Try to get as much air as possible out of the bag. This will allow you to freeze the leftovers and keep them for several months.

Reheating:When it comes to reheating leftover barbecue low and slow is still the rule. Re-smoking meats can cause them to become too bitter so your best bet is to warm leftovers in the oven. You do not need to reheat as low or as slow as you did the first time. An oven temperature around 325 degrees will work great. Keep the meat wrapped to avoid drying it out. If you need to reheat it faster thaw the meat in the microwave on the proper thaw setting. Be careful that the thawing doesn't actually start cooking the meat. Once defrosted, microwave the meat on a setting of 50%. The microwave with soften any crusty parts of the meat. Do not over cook and definitely do not use the full power setting.

Properly reheated your barbecued meats should be just about as good as it was the day you first cooked it. But remember not to rush it. Also remember that smoked meats are a great addition to any chili, soup or stew (particularly Burnt Ends). You can also use smoked meat leftovers in almost any dish that uses meat. Mexican dishes are particularly good made with smoked meats. Personally I love making Tamales.

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