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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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.
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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.
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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!
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The cut of meat known as country-style pork ribs is, confusingly, not from the ribs at all. These meaty, boneless strips of meat are really cut from the blade end of the loin, close to the shoulder. They can be slow-roasted until fork-tender or quickly grilled, like we do here. Just mix together a simple dry rub and coat the ribs with it. Let them sit overnight, then grill them until they’re crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside. Serve them with some mac salad and grilled corn.
What to buy: Country-style ribs are cut from the blade roast located on the upper side of the rib cage (the fatty blade end of the loin). They are usually boneless, but depending on how the butcher cuts them, they may have smaller pieces of bone here and there. You can also purchase a pork shoulder or butt roast and cut it into “ribs” yourself.
Game plan: To get the best results, let the ribs sit at least 8 hours with the rub on them; the dry spices will rehydrate and lend better flavor. You can go as short as 4 hours, but the flavor will be less developed.