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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Austin chef Paul Qui spent his first 10 years in Manila before his family moved to Virginia. “When I was a kid in the Philippines I ate really good Filipino food every day,” the winner of Top Chef Season 9 says, “and as an occasional treat my parents would take me to McDonald’s and KFC.” But when he came to the States, that ratio was pretty much reversed: Since Qui’s parents worked a lot, he lived on a steady diet of fast food, with only the occasional dish of home-cooked adobo or dinuguan as a special treat. Qui’s version of the vegetable stew known as pakbet—also called pinakbet—is an example of the kind of food Filipinos eat at home. He starts by frying pork belly in a heavy pot, then removes it and cooks shrimp paste until it’s fragrant, along with other aromatics. Finally, vegetables are added and cooked until tender.
What to buy: Used as both a condiment and a cooking ingredient, Filipino sautéed shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) is pungent and salty. Kamayan, available in most Filipino markets, is a reliable brand.
Click here to see more 21st-century Filipino recipes.