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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Mole sauce isn’t easy to make, but it’s worth the effort. This version is redolent of cumin, oregano, and chocolate, which play off the gentle spice of dried guajillo and ancho chiles commonly found in Oaxaca, Mexico.
What to buy: The more exotic ingredients such as dried guajillo chiles, Mexican drinking chocolate, and Mexican oregano (a relative of lemon verbena) can be found in Latin markets or the Latin section of your supermarket.
Game plan: If you’re going to use this sauce to make tamales, keep the pork and sauce separate. When you are ready to fill the tamales, just shred as much pork as you’ll need.
This recipe was featured as part of our Tamales for the Holidays project.