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Pork Freezing Storage Times

Well, let me start off with the "Official" recommended storage time for pork. This if from the NPPC (National Pork Producers Council).

Pork Chops and Roasts: Maximum - 8 months

Sausage: Maximum - 3 to 4 months (A little longer if the freezer is below zero)

So, according to the NPPC, since the meat is 2 years and 6 months old, they would recommend NOT to eat it.


Now, since I've given you the "recommended" guidelines, I'll give you my own personal opinion and why.

I have eaten BEEF that had been frozen over 2 years, and it tasted fine. I've eaten pork that had been frozen approximately 1 year and 8 months, and it tasted fine. (This was pork chops, not any pork sausage.)

Basically, you usually won't get sick from eating pork that has been frozen as long as what you describe, but it often times does not taste "good".

This is because there is a good chance that meat that has been frozen that long will develop freezer burn. That leads to meat that is tough, dried out, and lacking any flavor (kind of like eating cardboard).

I would definitely not eat any seasoned pork sausage or cured pork that is that old. Seasoned pork that has been frozen looses it taste quicker than "fresh" frozen pork, and usually taste very, very bland.

So, I don't disagree necessarily with your Dad that it is fine, it quite possibly could be.

I would throw away any seasoned pork sausage and cured meat (Like bacon or cured ham).

I would recommend opening a package of pork chops or roast. If any part of the meat looks very brown or a lot of thick ice crystals on it, it's probably freezer burned. (If there is only part of the meat brown or covered with ice crystals, you may be able to salvage it by trimming away this meat after it thaws, and then cook it.)

Try cooking a roast or chop that doesn't look freezer burned (or they part that's left after you trim it).

Try a couple of bites, if it tastes good to you, then by all means, eat it! Just follow the procedure of checking for freezer burn of each package before you cook it. All of the rest of the meat might taste OK, and some might not, or all the rest might taste bland.

I believe it's worth the effort to check and try cooking.

Another idea as far as the actual cooking of the pork. I would recommend cooking it in a way that is used for less tender cuts of meat (Such as slow cooking in a crock pot or cooking with a low heat in the skillet a little longer)

I wouldn't want to cook any of the pork cuts well done, since this tends to cook most of the moisture out of the meat, and meat will probably be a little dry anyway due to its' long time in the freezer.

So go ahead, check for freezer burn, cook what doesn't look freezer burned with a cooking method that doesn't cook out much moisture, and try it. It might be delicious!

P.S. I wouldn't recommend marinating any longer than 2 hours, and then only with a marinade that DOESN'T contain an acid, such as tomato juice, Italian dressing, etc.
These marinades break down the muscle fiber, and the muscle fibers are already broken down probably pretty much from being in the freezer that long.

Last Updated - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 02:39 PM