What to Do with Leftover BBQ

What to Do with Leftover BBQ

Do you have BBQ leftovers from a recent stop at one of Lockhart Smokehouse’s three locations?

We totally get it! Sometimes our eyes can be a lot bigger than our stomachs are. Now that you’ve got tasty Central Texas barbecue leftovers in your refrigerator or freezer, you can reheat them and enjoy them again or try something new!

Using leftover barbecue the next day makes delicious sandwiches, but we don’t have to stop there. There are plenty of creative ways to use leftover BBQ, like serving it again as a main dish paired with grilled vegetables and potatoes. Using BBQ leftovers also works great in combination with fresh greens and veggies for tasty salads.

Check out the recipes below, as well as a few tips on storing your BBQ and reheating your leftover BBQ!


Recipes Perfect for Barbecue Leftovers

Turkey-Bacon-Avocado Grilled Cheese

Who said leftover BBQ sandwiches had to be boring? This turkey, bacon, and avocado grilled cheese sandwich is anything but boring. And if you don’t have turkey, you can use chicken or pork or whatever you have on hand!

Check out the recipe for this sandwich here.

Pulled Pork Barbecue Pizza

This pulled pork pizza is described as “Pizza Heaven” and we agree! Made with BBQ pulled pork, caramelized onions, jalapeno peppers, and covered in two kinds of cheese, this pizza is dreamy! And it’s versatile! If you’re not into pulled pork barbecue, you could use shredded BBQ chicken or BBQ beef instead.

Check out the recipe from Pioneer Woman here.

Barbecue Pulled Pork and Penne Skillet

This simple but hearty pasta skillet dish takes less than half an hour to throw together and is perfect for a family dinner. This meal uses leftover barbecue pulled pork, sweet red peppers, onions, and garlic with penne pasta for a savory take on barbecue pulled pork.

Check out the recipe from Taste of Home here.

Leftover BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

These tasty quesadillas are a great way to use BBQ chicken or pulled pork leftovers. The quesadillas are made with sauteed red onion, fresh parsley, and melted cheese inside a crispy fried flour tortilla. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Perfect for a game-day snack or quick dinner. Add diced jalapeno peppers for a spicy kick!

Click here to read the recipe.

Summer Corn Chowder

Do you have leftover grilled corn, too? Put the kernels to good use in this light and creamy summer corn chowder. This summer soup dish also features chunky potato pieces and thick-cut bacon. Serve this with a salad or on its own.

Check out the soup recipe here.

Barbecue Chicken and Coleslaw Potato Skins

This recipe for potato skins is a great use of leftover BBQ chicken and slaw. Stuff russet potatoes with chicken coated in barbecue sauce and top with slaw. You can also pile leftover slaw on simple BBQ sandwiches or use it to top off leftover barbecue tacos.

Learn how to make this recipe here.

Looking for slaw and chicken recipes?

Check out how to make Lockhart Smokehouse’s blue cheese slaw here and smoked chicken here.


Storing Leftover BBQ the Right Way

It doesn’t matter if you have chicken, brisket, or pork, storing your BBQ leftovers the right way will keep your BBQ moist and tasting as great as it was when it was on your plate.

Like other hot foods, when BBQ is removed from its heat source and drops below the temperature danger zone of 140° degrees, it is at risk for developing bacteria that can lead to illness. That’s no fun so make sure that you put the food in the fridge or freezer immediately.

What Do I Store My BBQ Leftovers In?

Use airtight containers or plastic bags to store your BBQ leftovers. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to keep the meat moist and flavorful.

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 as fresh and moist as when it was cut and served to you at our restaurant.

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 food to cool or freeze more quickly and evenly, helping prevent spoilage.

How Long Can I Keep Leftover BBQ?

When stored properly, BBQ leftovers 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 clearly label your packages and include a date so that you know what you have, and how long you’ve had it. Make sure to put your leftover barbecue away as soon as possible.

How to Reheat BBQ

If you’re not turning your BBQ leftovers into something new and just want to reheat the meat, read on for more info. We’ve got you covered.

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 is frozen, we recommended defrosting it overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Conventional Oven

Preheat 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 the meat directly in a pan, you can add up to a half cup of water to add steam and retain moisture.

Have a meat thermometer on hand because you’ll want to make sure that the meat reaches a minimum temperature of 165°F degrees. This ensures the leftover BBQ is heated thoroughly.

How to Reheat BBQ in a Conventional Oven:

  • Preheat to 350°F degrees
  • Remove all plastic wrap from the food
  • Rewrap your food in aluminum foil or place it in a pan and cover with foil
  • Place the foil-wrapped food or pan in the preheated oven and reheat to 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 minimum internal temperature, cover and place the pan back in the oven and check with a thermometer every 15-20 minutes. The key is to not over-heat and dry out your leftover barbecue. Just go low and slow, like how we cook it at our restaurant.

Reheating BBQ Using a Water Bath

If you own a vacuum-sealing machine, like a Food Saver, you are likely 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:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a slow rolling boil.
  • Leaving the item in the plastic, place it in the water and allow the water to return to its original temperature.
  • Allow the package of meat to warm in the water until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165° degrees.
Cooking Times for Reheating BBQ on the Stove
  • For Turkeys, heat for approximately 45 minutes
  • For Hams, heat for approximately 35 minutes
  • For Pork Sausage, heat for approximately 30 minutes