Nobody wants to waste leftover food. When you cook a pork dish, you want it all consumed in one sitting so you do not have to worry about leftovers. But just in case you have any leftovers, how long can cooked pork sit out?
You know that you need to store any leftovers in the refrigerator. But what happens if you forgot to place leftover cooked pork in the refrigerator?
You can use leftover cooked pork in many of your recipes. You, however, need to know how long cooked pork can sit out and still be safe to consume.
Leaving Cooked Pork at Room Temperature
You can leave cooked pork at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours. After that time, you should consume it or keep it cold in the refrigerator so it does not spoil.
Allowing cook pork to sit out at room temperature for over 2 hours between, 400F and 1400F is considered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the “Danger Zone.” In these temperatures, cooked pork can be unsafe to consume because of rapid bacteria growth.
The USDA says you should allow cooked pork to sit for only 1 hour when in an environment that is over 900F. So, make sure to keep an eye on your cooked pork on the countertop or at room temperature when on a hot day.
Avoid consuming cooked pork when you notice it has turned to a different color or when it is starting to have an off smell. To be always sure, throw away any leftovers sitting out at room temperature for over 2 hours or keep them in the fridge and consume it within 2 days.
Serve cooked pork hot at 1400F or higher if you allowed it to sit out.
Storing Cooked Pork in the Refrigerator
You can keep cooked pork in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 days depending on the cut. If you want to store cooked pork longer than two days, you need to freeze it. You can also refrigerate it uncovered.
At temperatures of between 1360F to 1400F, pork can sit out for about 8 hours and still be safe to consumed. Much of its texture and taste will be lost when the temperature is over 1400F, but it is still safe to consume.
The Danger Zone
You can store fresh pork on the refrigerator for up to four days. After 4 days, you should tuck fresh pork in the freezer and it could stay there for up to three months.
Consuming cooked pork is a different story. It can sit out for around 2 hours as long as it is wrapped and refrigerated before you allowed it to sit at room temperature.
If you accidentally left cooked pork at room temperature overnight, storing in the fridge or reheating it will not save it from bacteria that may have started to build up. Bacteria is fast to get to your cooked port especially when left in an open or humid space. All it takes is just 2 hours for your cooked pork to start spoiling.
So, the best way to do with cooked pork left overnight at room temperature is to throw it away. You do not want to eat bacteria and parasitic worms along with your pork dish.
You should throw away cooked pork even if it may smell or look good. Also, never dare to taste your dish to check if it is spoiled. You can use a food thermometer to check temperatures and use your sense of sight and smell.
This will surely happen after allowing cooked pork to sit out on your countertop or anywhere at room temperature for over 2 hours without storing it in the fridge or reheating.
The USDA considers the Danger Zone temperatures at between 400F and 1400F. You need to keep your cooked pork out of the Danger Zone. Keep your cold cooked pork cold at 400F or below. You can also keep your hot cooked pork hot at 1400F or above.
As a reminder, always throw away cooked pork if you allowed it to sit at room temperature for over 2 hours because bacteria can grow exceeding fast in this environment. Your cooked pork will not be safe from bacteria even if you reheat it.
Reheat your cooked pork on the hob or microwave. It may, however, be challenging to retain its good texture and taste, especially with pork chops or roast pork. This is so because they can become dry and tough.
Signs Cooked Pork is Spoiled
How can you tell if your cooked pork has turned bad? An off-odor is always the first sign you will notice when cooked pork has turned bad. The off-odor is caused by microbes emitting gas and breaking down the pork.
These microbes will then feed on the fats, carbohydrates, and protein contents of cooked pork. Visible molds are also another sign of spoiled cooked pork.
Two hours is the maximum limit to allow cooked pork to sit at room temperature. If you want to extend the lifespan of your pork leftovers, vacuum seal your leftovers and dip them in low-simmering water and freeze it.
Cooked pork, even raw pork, should follow the 2 hours rule. In warmer rooms, it should be only allowed to sit out for about an hour. After the 2-hour window, at room temperature, there is no stopping the growth of bacteria. Even in the refrigerator, bacteria will still get into your cooked pork, just at a slower pace.
How long can cooked pork sit out? On average, you can allow cooked pork to sit out for two hours. However, there are many ways you can extend this time frame.
After allowing cooked pork to sit at room temperature, transfer it to the refrigerator. Remember to never allow cooked pork to sit out in the Danger Zone for more than two hours – above 900F.
Always keep a close watch on your leftover cooked pork. While saving leftovers can save you money, you may spend more if your health is compromised by consuming spoiled cooked pork. It is better to be safe than sorry.