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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Chez Panisse Co-Chef David Tanis calls this recipe from his book Heart of the Artichoke “the pork of your dreams.” We concur. Dried red chiles are rehydrated and puréed into a thick, spicy paste that is slathered on pork shoulder, and the pork is then slow-roasted in the oven until it’s extra tender. Tanis suggests serving it with cooked hominy. We also like it with rice, beans, in tacos, or in a sweet bun.
Special equipment: You’ll need a very clean coffee or spice grinder for this recipe.
Game plan: This dish can be made 1 day or many hours ahead and reheated.
Check out former CHOW.com food editor Jill Santopietro’s tips for making this recipe in our CHOW Cooks from Books video series.