How to Safely Refreeze Pork
If you thawed out some ham or a pork roast for dinner but ended up making something else, or you simply have a lot of leftovers after a party, you may be wondering if it's safe to refreeze. You may wonder: Can uncooked pork be refrozen? What about cooked pork? The answer is yes; you can refreeze pork, but it's important to take the proper steps to ensure that it will be tasty—and safe—to eat when you thaw it for later use.
If you thawed pork in the refrigerator, and can't use it right away, you can safely refreeze it, whether it's been cooked or not. Just place it back in the freezer within a few days of thawing. It might be a touch drier when you go to use it (due to the second thawing and reheating), but it will still taste great.
Just know that according to the Department of Agriculture's guidelines, you should never refreeze meat that has been left out for more than two hours, and one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. In fact, pork that has been left out for an extended period of time shouldn't be eaten at all. No one likes to throw out food, but it's better than getting food poisoning.
Packaging Pork for Refreezing
Wrap your pork tightly in freezer paper or a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn, which happens when foods are exposed to air. If you use freezer bags, be sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before you seal it. Then, label the packaging, so you don't forget what's inside. Everything starts to look the same once you toss it in the freezer.
If you have a large amount of cooked pork to freeze (as sometimes happens after a party or get-together), consider dividing it into smaller portions before you freeze it. Individual servings or family meal-size servings are both handy to have on hand for busy days, and it's nice not to have to thaw out a huge amount of pork to gain access to the smaller portions you may need.
You can also save yourself time by asking the butcher to package your pork in freezer paper and in certain portions before you buy it. For example, ask the butcher to wrap your ground pork in 1-pound packages or include only two pork chops per package.
Thawing and Using Refrozen Pork
Since your pork already spent some time in the fridge before you refroze it, it's best to have a plan before you pull it back out of the freezer. Try to use it as soon as it's thawed, so you don't put anyone who eats it at risk for food-borne illness.
While ham can last up to two months in a freezer, freezing foods doesn't kill bacteria. So, if the pork spent three days in your fridge during the first go-round and another three days in the fridge on this go-round, that adds up to lots of time for bacteria to grow and multiply.