Are you in a rush to cook a delicious pork butt but forgot to defrost it?
Don’t worry, you can still cook it from frozen!
While it may take longer than cooking fresh or defrosted pork, the end result is just as juicy and flavorful.
In this article, we will explore different methods for cooking a frozen pork butt, including in the oven and in an Instant Pot.
We’ll also provide tips and tricks to ensure your pork butt is cooked to perfection.
So, let’s get started on how to cook a frozen pork butt!
How To Cook A Frozen Pork Butt?
There are a few different methods for cooking a frozen pork butt, depending on your preferred cooking appliance.
Why Cook A Frozen Pork Butt?
While it is generally recommended to thaw pork before cooking it, there are times when cooking a frozen pork butt is necessary or preferred. For example, you may have forgotten to thaw the meat ahead of time, or you may want to take advantage of the convenience of being able to cook from frozen. Additionally, some people believe that cooking a frozen pork butt can help keep it moist and tender, as the slow cooking process allows the meat to thaw and cook slowly, retaining moisture and flavor. However, it’s important to note that cooking a frozen pork butt can take significantly longer than cooking a thawed one, so be prepared to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the meat reaches a safe internal temperature of 145°F/63°C or above before consuming.
Preparing A Frozen Pork Butt For Cooking
Cooking a frozen pork butt can be a bit tricky, but with proper preparation, it can be done successfully. The first step is to make sure the pork butt is properly thawed. While some sources suggest that you can cook pork butt straight from the freezer, this is not recommended as it can result in uneven cooking and potentially harmful bacteria growth.
To thaw a frozen pork butt, there are a few different methods you can use. One option is to place it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours until fully thawed. Alternatively, you can use the cold water method by placing the pork butt in a leak-proof bag and submerging it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until fully thawed.
Once the pork butt is thawed, it’s important to properly season it. Some people prefer to use a dry rub while others like to marinate the meat. Regardless of your preferred seasoning method, make sure to thoroughly coat the pork butt on all sides.
If you plan on using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to cook your pork butt, be aware that you will need to increase the cooking time by around one-third if the meat is frozen. For example, if the recommended pressure cook time for a thawed pork butt is 60 minutes, you will need to pressure cook for around 80 minutes if the meat is frozen.
If you plan on smoking or slow-cooking your pork butt, it’s important to keep it moist throughout the cooking process. This can be achieved by spritzing the meat with apple juice or another liquid every hour or so. Wrapping the pork butt in foil or butcher paper after a few hours of cooking can also help retain moisture.
It’s important to note that cooking a frozen pork butt can result in uneven cooking and varying degrees of tenderness throughout the meat. To combat this, consider cutting the pork butt into smaller pieces before cooking or plan on mixing up the meat after pulling it to disguise any inconsistencies.
Oven Method: Slow Roasting A Frozen Pork Butt
If you prefer to slow roast your pork butt in the oven, it is possible to do so even if your meat is frozen. However, the cooking time will be longer than if you were cooking a fresh pork butt. To slow roast a frozen pork butt, preheat your oven to 250°F and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, a wire rack, and a heavy spray of PAM.
If you don’t have a wire rack, you can create one by making crumpled rolls of foil to elevate the pork butt. Once your baking sheet is prepared, remove the frozen pork butt from the freezer and pat it dry with paper towels. Coat it with a light coat of liquid smoke and apply a cup of rub (you can mix your own rub or use a store-bought one).
Place the pork butt on the prepared wire rack or foil rolls and place it in the oven (not convection). It does not matter whether you place the fat cap up or down. Bake until the internal temperature of the pork butt reaches 195°F or higher (200°F-205°F is better). This will take approximately 8-9 hours, but keep in mind that cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it is bone-in or boneless.
Once the pork butt has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven directly onto a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Wrap it tightly with the foil, then wrap it with several towels to keep it warm. You can shred the pork in as little as 15 minutes, but it’s better to wait for 1-2 hours or even up to 3-4 hours if you have wrapped it well. This will ensure that you can serve hot, freshly pulled pork when you’re ready.
Instant Pot Method: Pressure Cooking A Frozen Pork Butt
If you own an Instant Pot, you can easily cook a frozen pork butt using the pressure cooking function. Before freezing the pork butt, it’s important to quarter it into four pieces to ensure even cooking. When you’re ready to cook, add the broth and spices to the inner pot and stir it up. Place the frozen pork butt pieces in the liquid and close the lid, making sure the valve is set to seal. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 45 minutes with a 10-minute natural release of pressure.
If your pork butt is larger than 4 pounds, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. For example, if you have a 6-pound frozen pork butt, you’ll need to add an extra 20 minutes of cooking time (5 minutes per pound) for a total of 65 minutes of pressure cooking time with a natural release.
After the cooking time is up and the pressure has naturally released, check to see if the pork butt is fork-tender. If it’s not, you can cut it into smaller pieces and pressure cook it again for an additional 10-15 minutes. Once it’s cooked to perfection, remove the pork butt from the Instant Pot and let it rest for a few minutes before shredding it with two forks.
Tips And Tricks For Cooking A Frozen Pork Butt
Cooking a frozen pork butt can be a bit tricky, but with some tips and tricks, you can still achieve delicious results. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Thawing: If you have time, it’s best to thaw the pork butt before cooking. This will ensure more even cooking and better flavor. However, if you’re short on time, you can cook the pork butt directly from frozen.
2. Adjust cooking time: When cooking a frozen pork butt, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. As mentioned in the raw text above, a fully frozen pork butt/shoulder generally takes 2 – 2.5 hours of smoking time per pound of pork at 250-275°F. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate and you should always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
3. Use a rub: To help the rub stick to the frozen meat, try using mustard or oil as a base before applying the rub.
4. Wrap it up: Wrapping the pork butt in foil or butcher paper can help it cook more evenly and prevent it from drying out.
5. Use a drip pan: A drip pan can help catch any juices that may escape from the pork butt as it cooks, preventing flare-ups and keeping your grill or smoker clean.
6. Don’t rush it: Cooking a frozen pork butt will take longer than cooking a thawed one, so be patient and allow plenty of time for it to cook through.
By following these tips and tricks, you can successfully cook a delicious pork butt even if it’s frozen solid when you start cooking.
Serving Suggestions For Your Delicious Pork Butt
Now that you have successfully cooked your delicious pork butt, it’s time to serve it up! Here are some serving suggestions to make the most out of your tender and flavorful meat:
1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Take some soft buns or rolls and pile on a generous amount of pulled pork. Top it off with some coleslaw or pickles for a refreshing crunch.
2. Tacos: Warm up some tortillas and fill them with pulled pork, diced onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a zesty and satisfying meal.
3. BBQ Plates: Serve up your pork butt with some classic BBQ sides like baked beans, cornbread, and mac and cheese for a hearty and filling meal.
4. Loaded Baked Potatoes: Top a baked potato with some pulled pork, cheddar cheese, and sour cream for a delicious and easy dinner option.
5. Salad: Make a salad using pulled pork as the protein source. Add some mixed greens, avocado, tomatoes, and a drizzle of dressing for a healthy and flavorful meal.
No matter how you choose to serve it, your pork butt is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and savor every bite!