Barbecue meats take a long time to cook & if your anything like me, you end up with a lot of leftovers. The last thing you want to happen is for those leftovers to dry it out when you go to reheat them the next day. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around this…

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reheating barbecue meat sous vide
Pastrami, Left As A Large Piece Then Chilled Overnight.

Equipment Used

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The Best Way To Reheat Leftover Barbecue

When you reheat leftover meats in the oven, they tend to lose a lot of moisture, leaving you with dry, crispy slices. With this method, we vacuum seal bags of sliced meat then use a sous vide (or a pan of water set over a low heat) to gently reheat. This means that your leftovers will retain all of its’ moisture & any bark (from the smoking process) will stay intact.

pastrami bbq slice reheated
Smoked Pastrami Slice.

How To Prep & Reheat

Slicing The Meat

For best results, where possible I’d recommend keeping any of your leftovers unsliced whilst they are still hot. By chilling the meat as one larger piece of meat & slicing it cold, you’ll allow the internal to set which will retain moisture. I like to cut most meats into 1-2cm slices.
Obviously this only applies to some types of meat (brisket or pork belly to name a few). If you want to reheat something like a chicken leg, you can leave it whole but keep in mind it will take longer to reheat than something that’s sliced.

Vacuum Sealing

To vacuum seal any leftover meats, you’ll need both a vacuum sealer & vacuum sealing bags. When you vacuum seal a bag of sliced meat, all of the air is removed & the top of the bag is sealed which prevents air getting in. Once your leftovers are vacuum sealed, they will last in the fridge for several days or they can be frozen then defrosted before reheating. When your filling the bags up with meat, make sure not to over fill them as this could prevent the bags from sealing properly. They will also take longer to reheat.

If you haven’t got a vacuum sealer, you can use resealable food bags instead. Make sure that they are fully sealed so not to let any water in.

Vacuum Sealed Pastrami Reheating In A Pan Of Water.

Sous Vide & Reheating

When it comes to reheating, either a sous vide or a pan of water can be used. If your using a sous vide, set the temperature to 75°c*. If your using a pan of water, set it over a gentle heat & bring to the same temperature – use a digital food probe to keep track of the temperature, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Once the bag of meat is submerged in the hot water, it needs to stay submerged. If you’ve vacuum packed the meat, it should stay submerged on its’ own but if it needs to be held down, a small plate or dish does the trick.

On average, meat that has been cut into 1cm slices will take roughly 20-30 minutes to reheat. Thicker or whole cuts of meat will take longer. Using a digital food probe, is a great way to check that your leftovers are hot.

*75°c is the minimum temperature that meat should be reheated to.

How To Reheat Leftover Barbecue

Barbecued meats take a long time to cook & if your anything like me, you end up with a lot of leftovers.The last thing you want to happen is for those leftovers to dry it out when you go to reheat them the next day. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around this…
Prep Time5 minutes
Reheat Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, English
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Digital Food Probe
  • Vacuum Sealer
  • Vacuum Sealer Bags
  • Sous Vide

Ingredients

  • Leftover Barbecue Meat

Instructions

  • Start by cutting the meat into slices – I tend to go for 1cm-2cm thick slices.If your reheating something like a chicken leg, leave it whole but bear in mind that it will take longer to reheat.
  • Next, place the meat into bags, being careful not to overfill them then vacuum seal to remove all of the air.
    At this point the meat should be placed into the fridge until you are ready to reheat it. You could also freeze it at this point – but make sure to defrost fully before reheating.
  • Using a sous vide, bring a water bath to 75°c. Alternatively heat a large pan of water to the same temperature on the stove. (Use a digital thermometer to keep track of the temperature so that it stays consistent. Adjusting the heat as necessary).
  • Once the water is at temperature, drop in the sealed bag of meat, making sure it stays fully submerged.
  • Leave to reheat in the water until piping hot. If the meat is in slices, this will take around 20-30 minutes. If you are reheating thicker cuts/joints (chicken legs, beef ribs, etc.) then this will take closer to an hour.
    *Check the temperature of the meat before eating, it should be at least 75°c
  • Remove the meat from the bag & serve immediately.

Notes

The best way to reheat meat using this method is to slice it first. I prefer to slice it just before reheating.
If you don’t have a sous vide, a pan of water on the stove works just as well. Make sure to keep an eye on the water’s temperature with a food probe.
Resealable food storage bags can be used in place of vacuum packing.
Reheated meat needs to be piping hot before being eaten (minimum temperature of 75°c). Reheating the meat in slices (when necessary), speeds up the reheating process.
If you are reheating more than one bag of meat at a time, keep in mind that the reheating time may increase.
As a general rule, bbq meat will keep for 2-3 days after cooking, as long as it is stored in the fridge.

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