How to Reheat BBQ

How to Reheat BBQ

Ever struggle with how to reheat BBQ? Do you have leftovers from a recent stop at one of Lockhart Smokehouse’s 3 locations? We totally get it!

Sometimes our eyes can be much bigger than our stomachs. Now that you’ve got that delicious barbecue in your refrigerator or freezer, make sure you take some care when reheating your leftovers, so you can still taste and experience the same moist, tender, and flavorful smoked meat that you got at our restaurant’s counter.

Before we talk about reheating BBQ (and why you should never heat it in a microwave), we have to talk about a crucial step: Storing your barbecue leftovers properly.

Storing Leftover BBQ

It doesn’t matter if you have chicken, beef, or pulled pork, storing your BBQ leftovers well will keep your cuts of meat moist and tasting as great as it was when it was on your plate in front of you.

Make sure that you refrigerate or freeze your leftovers immediately. You can use an airtight container or plastic bags to store the meat.

Pro Tip: Store large amounts of leftovers in smaller portions. Not only does this help you portion the barbecue for future meals, it allows the meat to cool or freeze more quickly and evenly, helping prevent spoilage.

Vacuum Sealed Bag

Vacuum sealed bags are also a great way to seal and store portions of your barbecue leftovers in a completely air-free way (this is particularly handy if you use the water bath method for reheating).

The vacuum machine removes the air entirely from the plastic bag, which helps to keep your barbecue meat as fresh and as moist as possible.

How Long Can I Store Leftover BBQ?

When stored properly, leftover BBQ can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pro Tip: Take care to label your packages and include a date so that you know what you have, and how long you’ve had it. Make sure to use those leftover barbecue meat cuts as soon as possible.

Ways to Reheat BBQ

Not sure which way is the best way to reheat your leftover cooked BBQ? Check out the reheating methods below.

Before you begin, if your leftover BBQ meat is frozen, we recommended defrosting the meat overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Conventional Oven

Using a conventional oven? Start by preheating your oven to a temperature of 350° degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure there aren’t any pieces of plastic wrap or butcher paper on your meat before you put it in a pan or wrap it with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. If you’re placing your meats directly in a pan, you can include up to a half cup of water to help add steam and retain moisture.

Have a meat thermometer on hand as you’ll want to make sure that any meat you heat up reaches a minimum temperature of 165°F degrees. This ensures the meat is hot and heated thoroughly and you’re not at risk for food-borne illnesses.

The food should be completely hot, not warm.

How to Reheat BBQ in a Conventional Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees
  2. Remove all plastic wrap from the food
  3. Rewrap your food in aluminum foil or place it in a pan and cover with foil
  4. Place the foil-wrapped food or pan in the preheated oven and reheat to a minimum internal temperature of 165° F degrees.

Cooking Times for Reheating BBQ in the Oven

  • For Turkey, reheat approximately 1.5 hours
  • For Hams, reheat approximately 1.5 hours
  • For Prime Ribs, reheat approximately 1 hour
  • For Sausage, reheat approximately 30-45 minutes
  • For Brisket, reheat approximately 1.5 hours

If your meat hasn’t reached the proper minimum internal temperature, cover and place the pan back in the oven and check with a meat thermometer every 15 minutes.

The key is to not over-heat and dry out your barbecue. Just go low and slow, like how we cook our meat at the restaurant.

Stove Top/Using a Water Bath

If you own a vacuum-sealing machine, like a Food Saver, chances are that you are familiar with water bath cooking.

This method of cooking is where food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooked or heated in a water bath in a large pot or pan on the stovetop until it is reheated thoroughly.

By keeping the water in an airtight plastic bag, the moisture and flavor remain locked in your pork sausage, chicken, beef ribs, or especially, prime rib.

When reheating meat using this method, you’re going to want to make sure that the meat reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165° degrees F.

Stove Top Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a slow rolling boil.
  2. Leaving the item in the plastic, place it in the water and allow the water to return to its original temperature.
  3. Allow the package of meat to warm in the water until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 160° degrees.
  • For Turkeys, heat for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • For Hams, heat for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • For Prime Rib, heat for approximately 1 hour
  • For Sausage, heat for approximately 30 minutes
  • For Brisket, heat for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes

The Worst Way to Reheat BBQ

Microwaving is probably the worst method of reheating barbecue. Please don’t microwave your leftover barbecue, especially if it is frozen.

Microwaving ribs, brisket, chicken or pork is the fastest way to dry it out and turn it into a chewy, tough, and rubbery mess. Yuck!

Another reason you shouldn’t microwave your leftover barbecue? Uneven cooking. You don’t want to have one warm bite and then a cold one. That doesn’t sound like a very enjoyable experience.

What About the Sides?

Have leftover sides, too? No worries, those tasty sides can be reheated in an oven-safe dish at 350°F degrees for 30 minutes. You can also reheat and serve sides, like our baked beans and mac & cheese, in a pot or pan on your stovetop!

Just start with low heat and increase the temperature as needed. Stir frequently and make sure the food is thoroughly hot, not warm.

What Else Can You Do With Leftovers?

Check out our page on What to Do with Leftovers for our recipes and suggestions on what to do with that extra meat from your recent stop at our restaurant.

We have recipes on deviled eggs, baked beans, and more.

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