Look -- the reality is, it’s just not possible to make a little bit of barbeque.
Depending on your point-of-view, that’s either a very good or very bad thing.
Either way, it’s been our experience that barbecuing always results in more food than one person can eat. Keeping barbeque in the fridge is easy and straightforward, but you won’t want to leave it there for more than 3-4 days. We know firsthand that four days might not be enough time to finish all those leftovers!
Well, the good news is that barbeque really does keep excellently, and can last several months in a freezer...when frozen correctly! With a little bit of know-how, you can keep eating that perfect brisket long after the party’s over.
Option 1: Vacuum Seal
If you really want to extend your bbq’s shelf life in the freezer, the easiest way is to use a vacuum sealer. These are available quite inexpensively from Amazon and other retailers online.
The airtight seal they create will prevent freezer burn, and keep any nasty particles in the air from getting into your food. A vacuum sealer is definitely our preferred method here, but there is an alternate, ‘almost as good’ way of sealing your bags.
Option 2: Water Displacement
The second method is called the water displacement method. It’s not quite as effective as a proper vacuum sealer, but it might do in a pinch. First, put your barbeque in a standard ziploc bag, but don’t seal the opening all the way across. Instead, leave about an inch of unsealed strip at the top of the bag. Then, lower the bag into a pot of room-temperature water. As the bag goes into the pot, water pressure will push the air out of the bag through the small opening in the seal. Right before the bag is completely submerged, seal off the rest of the bag, and you’re good to go! It should create a mostly airtight bag, although again -- we’d suggest going with a vacuum sealer if possible!
Now that we’ve covered freezing, let’s talk reheating.
More good news -- it’s easy!
Because the barbeque is already cooked, you want to reheat it with a gentle, careful heat source. Sous-vide style boiling water is perfect for this. Not only will the hot water maintain the original texture of the flavor, it’s actually pretty quick as well!
Get a pot of water to a rolling boil, and simply drop your plastic bag of leftovers in for 10-15 minutes. This is where that airtight seal comes in mighty handy! The water won’t overcook your barbecue (it’s not hot enough), but instead will gently bring it back to its original texture.
Although you can use crockpots, microwaves, or low-temperature ovens to reheat barbeque, we do recommend the ‘boil in a bag’ method.
All that’s left is to enjoy! Barbeque keeps great, and freezes even better! As long as you can get that airtight seal on your freezer bags, and then reheat the protein gently, the barbeque can happily keep for around three months.