Leftover cooked beef, pork or chicken doesn’t have to languish in the refrigerator, uneaten. You can freeze it for several months so it’s ready and already cooked when you need it. The timer on safe storage resets when you cook the meat, so cooking and freezing and can add up to three months to the safe storage life of most types of meat.
Things You'll Need
Place the meat, loosely covered with plastic wrap or in a lidded container, in the refrigerator within two hours of removing it from the oven. Cool it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit before freezing.
Wrap the meat tightly in plastic freezer wrap. Alternatively, place small portions of cooked meat in an airtight container that is safe for freezer storage. Any uncovered portion of the meat in the freezer makes it susceptible to drying out and freezer burn.
Place the wrapped meat in a freezer storage bag with a zip closure. Push out the excess air and seal the bag closed. If the portion of meat is too large for a freezer bag, wrap it in a second layer of plastic wrap. Label the wrap or container with the contents and date frozen.
Place the meat in a 0 F freezer and store it for up to three months. Place the meat near the rear of the freezer to protect it from temperature fluctuations that occur in the freezer when you open and close the door.
References and ResourcesPenn State University Extension: Freezing Meats
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
University of Missouri Extension: Quality for Keeps: Freezing Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs and Dairy Products