Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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Next: How to Store Fresh Sausage
How to Store Fresh Sausage
Fresh sausage must be consumed or frozen within one to two days of purchase. They can be stored in their original packaging, but refrain from opening the package until you’re ready to cook. The easiest way to tell if a sausage has gone bad is its smell. Discard of anything that smells foul.
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Next: How to Freeze Fresh Sausage
How to Freeze Fresh Sausage
Sausage can be kept in its original packaging, but re-wrapped in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper to prevent freezer burn. A frozen fresh sausage’s optimal flavor will last one to two months beyond its initial freeze date, though properly packaged sausage can last significantly longer.
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Next: How to Cook Fresh Sausage
How to Cook Fresh Sausage
To cook sausage in its traditional form (whole and with casing), spray a skillet with cooking spray and set the heat to medium-high. Add the sausages and allow their sides to brown. Continuously flip the sausages with tongs until they are browned evenly. Lower heat to medium-low and carefully had half a cup of water to the skillet. Cover the sausages and allow to simmer in the water for 12 minutes or until the they are cooked through.
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Grilled brats are great on their own, but if you don’t have a grill, or you want to make some football or baseball food ahead of time, these braised sausages are the answer. Brown the bratwursts in butter, remove them from the pan, add the onions and crushed mustard seeds to the meaty butter, and slow-cook until softened and sweet. Nestle the brats in the onions, add the beer, and cook until the flavors mingle into a savory, onion-y sauce. Serve on hoagie rolls slathered with sweet-hot mustard.
What to buy: We prefer Newcastle Brown Ale in this recipe, though any good-quality brown ale will do.
Game plan: The brats and onions can be made a day ahead through step 3, then rewarmed when ready to serve.
You’ll need to make the Sweet Hot Mustard before you begin.
This recipe was featured as part of our Tailgating Recipes photo gallery.