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.
1 of 6
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.
2 of 6
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.
3 of 6
Raw pork ribs can be refrigerated in their original packaging. The meat typically stays fresh for three to five days, but can last even longer if it remains unopened.
4 of 6
Overwrap pork ribs in their original packaging with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Ribs can last from four to six months in the freezer.
5 of 6
The fastest way to thaw ribs isn't necessarily the best. You can always use the defrost setting on your microwave and determine thawing time based on weight, but this may start to cook the meat. Alternatively, you can place the frozen ribs in a freezer bag and allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water. Continue to replace the cold water every 30 minutes. The most effective and time-consuming option is to place the ribs in the fridge, though a rack may take up for three days to fully thaw. Plan ahead!
6 of 6
Smoked baby back ribs have plenty of down-home flavor, but they require special equipment and take a while to cook on the grill; this oven-to-grill method can be done in stages, so there’s no need to baby-sit the ribs. First, coat them all over with a sweetly spiced rub, then roast them in the oven while you make a simple barbecue sauce. When you’re ready to serve, throw the ribs on the grill, brush with the sauce, and let the heat turn the sauce into a sticky glaze. This recipe ranks high among our favorite BBQ recipes to share, along with our smoked beer can chicken recipe. Pass around some potato salad, grilled corn, and a roll of paper towels at the table.
Special equipment: You’ll need a pastry brush or barbecue basting brush for this recipe.
Game plan: You can make the ribs through step 7 up to 2 days in advance. After roasting, transfer them to a large, shallow container, set aside to cool for about an hour, then cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to grill, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before grilling, about 1 hour.
The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let it come to room temperature before using.