How to Properly Reheat BBQ Leftovers with the Best Meat Thermometer?
Reheating BBQ leftovers is something a lot of people struggle with. Knowing the ins and outs of how to do it the right way is the topic of this article. If you too have the same concern, you’re in the right place to learn how to solve it.
In this article, you’ll learn different ways to reheat your leftovers, how to properly store and thaw them, as well as what to consider when looking for the best meat thermometer to track your food temperature while reheating it.
Having a reliable thermometer by your side when reheating your food is crucial. It will help you keep track of your food’s internal temp and make sure it cooks to a safe temperature, which in turn keeps foodborne illnesses away from you and your family.
When looking for the best food thermometer for safe leftovers reheating, consider these four main features. A good thermometer should be:
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to use
While there are a lot of great instant-read thermometers out there you can choose from, there are two that we highly recommend for safe food reheating, ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 and ChefsTemp Pocket Pro thermometers. These digital thermometers tick all the boxes and will be a great addition to your home safety arsenal.
How to store and defrost your BBQ leftovers correctly?
Safely storing and thawing your leftovers are two things you need to consider making sure your food is safe to reheat.
Here are five tips to properly store your leftovers:
- Store your leftovers as soon as you finish your meal.
- Don’t leave them at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Vacuum seal your leftovers
- Place them in the fridge at or below 40°F(4°C), but only if you plan to consume them in a day or two. Otherwise, they should go straight to the freezer and be stored at 0°F (-18°C) or below.
You should never defrost your leftovers at room temperature, because if they stay in it for long, they may slide into the temperature danger zone and be exposed to dangerous food pathogens.
The safest way to thaw your leftovers is in the fridge. While still vacuum sealed, place your leftovers in a large bowl full of water and leave it in the fridge for one day. The defrosting process may take more or less than that, depending on the quantity and type of food.
How to reheat BBQ leftovers?
The water bath method
While all the methods listed above yield very good results, the water bath method is the best way to reheat BBQ leftovers. No, you’re not going to simmer or boil your meat. You’ll sous vide it, and without a sous vide device!
- A large pot.
- Zip-top bags.
- A remoteleave-in probe thermometer and or an instant-read thermometer.
- How large the pot is and how many zip-top bags you’ll need depends on your leftovers. If you don’t have a large pot, you can divide your BBQ leftovers across smaller pots.
- Put your barbeque leftovers in zip-top bags and make sure you get as much air out of the bags as possible. Then, zeal the bags properly.
- Fill the pot with water, until the leftovers are totally covered.
- Put the pot on the stovetop and turn the heat on.
- For the leftovers to cook to a safe internal temperature, whether you’re reheating meat, chicken, or fish, you need the water in the pot to get to 175°F(79°C).
- If you have a remote thermometer, you can place it in the pot and set it to alarm you when the water in the pot reaches 175°F(79°C). If you don’t have it, you’ll need to constantly monitor the pot’s temperature using an instant-read thermometer.
- Once the water in the pot gets to that temperature degree, take the zip-top bag out of the water bath, open it and check the meat temperature using a digital food thermometer.
- The meat should be cooked to an internal degree of at least 162°F( 72°C)since it will carry over to 165°F (74°C) when resting.
- If it hasn’t cooked yet, put it back in the water bath and make sure you adjust the temperature so that the water in the pot stays at around 175°F(79°C).
- Keep monitoring the meat’s temperature until it gets to 162°F(72°C).
- Let it rest for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.
The oven method
The oven is the second-best way we recommend you use to reheat your BBQ leftovers. Here is how to do it correctly:
- Once your leftovers are defrosted slowly in the fridge overnight, cut the sealed bags open and take the leftovers out.
- Grab an aluminum pan. Put the leftovers in the pan. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil. This works best for reheating brisket. You can also use a sheet pan or a regular pan. For that, you’ll need to wrap the leftovers in aluminum foil or cover the pan with it.
- Add a little bit of water to the pan. The steam from the water will keep the leftovers moist. You can also rub a little bit of butter or ghee on your leftovers to prevent them from drying out.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F(177°C).
- Place the pan in the oven.
- As for the time the leftovers should stay in the oven, that depends on the type of meat you’re reheating. Generally though, for most types of meat, one to one hour and a half is more than enough.
- Monitor the leftovers’ temperature regularly using a digital thermometer. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F(74°C) or to 162°F (72°C) and rest for a few minutes so that the temperature can get to that 165°F (74°C) optimum level.
The air fryer method
Using an air fryer is probably the easiest and fastest way to reheat your BBQ leftovers.
Here is how to reheat your barbeque leftovers in the air fryer:
- Preheat your air fryer to 270°F(132°C)
- Lay the leftovers in the air fryer basket. For optimum results, lay them all in one layer.
- Cook the leftovers for 7 to 10 minutes or until the leftovers reach an internal temperature of 165°F(74°C). You’ll need to temp the leftovers every now and then with a food digital thermometer, to make sure they don’t burn, especially if it’s your first time using an air fryer.
The air fryer is not as efficient in reheating your leftovers as the two methods above, but definitely worth a try, especially with certain foods, like chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, and pork and beef ribs
The microwave method
We don’t recommend you reheat your leftovers in the microwave for two reasons:
- It will dry them out.
- It will also reheat them unevenly. Some parts will be well-reheated, while others will not. You don’t want that. Your food needs to reheat evenly to a safe internal temperature.
If you still want to use it though or don’t have access to the options mentioned above, here is a quick guide on how to properly reheat your BBQ leftovers using a microwave:
- Put your leftovers in a microwave-safe container. We recommend a glass container.
- Add sauce, butter, or ghee on top of the leftovers to prevent them from drying out.
- Set the microwave to medium heat and place the container inside.
- Set the timer to 4 to 6 minutes.
- Take the leftovers out and check their temperature using an instant-read thermometer.
- If the leftovers are not reheated to 165°F(74°C)F yet, put them back in. Regularly check until they reach a safe internal temperature.
- Once done, serve and enjoy.
Again, the microwave is not highly recommended for reheating BBQ leftovers. Stick to the oven and the water bath methods. They are the safest methods to reheat your BBQ leftovers.
Finding the best meat thermometer for your kitchen shouldn’t be an issue if you stick to the four main features of good thermometers mentioned above. As for reheating your BBQ leftovers, we recommend you follow the storing and thawing tips we gave you and opt for the oven or the water bath method to make sure you reheat them properly.
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