Can You Freeze Barbacoa? – Easy Way To Freeze & Defrost Barbacoa

Can you freeze barbacoa? Barbacoa is one of the most exquisite dishes you can eat. This traditional Mexican delicacy is typically made with slow-cooked, minced,` or shredded meat, such as lamb, goat, or beef. It is typically seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs and may be served with a variety of accompaniments, such as tortillas, salsa, beans, and guacamole.

The meat is typically cooked in a pit, underground oven, or slow cooker, which helps to tenderize it and infuse it with a rich, smoky flavor. Now, when something takes that much effort to cook, you’ll want to know whether you can preserve it or not.

So, in this article, we will get to the bottom of the question, “Can you freeze barbacoa?”, and if you can, then how you can go about it optimally? Let’s get freezing!

Can You Freeze Barbacoa

Can You Freeze Barbacoa?

Yes, it is possible to freeze barbacoa. Freezing can be a good way to preserve the quality and flavor of the dish, and it can also make it more convenient to use in recipes, as you can thaw out only the amount you need at a given time.

That said, the shelf life of frozen barbacoa will depend on the type of meat and the specific recipe used to make it. However, in general, frozen barbacoa will remain safe to eat for several months, although its quality and flavor may start to decline after about 3-4 months in the freezer.

How to Freeze Barbacoa?

Now, while preparing this Mexican dish is a difficult and arduous task, freezing it is a breeze and only requires you to have access to a freezer and freezer-safe baggies. Moreover, the benefits that you will reap from freezing barbacoa properly are many and you’ll ensure that the delicacy does not go to waste! Here is what you need to do to freeze barbacoa –

  • The first step is to allow the cooked barbacoa to return to a normal temperature. Now, if you simply have leftovers that you want to store, this becomes an easy task since the dish has already had time to cool down. But, if you have just finished cooking the dish, this might take about an hour to entirely cool down.
  • Once the barbacoa has cooled to room temperature or cooler, you need to divide all of it into single portions that can be finished by you or the members of your house in one sitting. This will make actually consuming it at a later time easier.
  • Once you have divided the barbacoa into proper portions, you need to bring your freezer-safe baggies into the picture and start stuffing them with the barbacoa portions. The objective of packing them in baggies is to try and achieve a seal as close to a vacuum as possible.
  • After you have successfully packed the barbacoa in the baggies, simply mark the date of preparing and freezing the barbacoa and place them in your freezer!

How Long Can You Freeze Barbacoa For?

As we mentioned, barbacoa can safely be frozen for roughly 3 to 4 months. While you can preserve most of the flavor and the freshness by following the steps that we have mentioned above, after 3 months, the quality might begin to deteriorate. That does not mean that the frozen barbacoa will spoil right away. It just means that you won’t be able to enjoy the same freshness of the barbacoa as you would be able to when it’s freshly prepared.

To help extend the shelf life of frozen barbacoa, it is important to store it in the coldest part of your freezer and to use an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. It is also a good idea to label the container with the date that the barbacoa was frozen, so you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.

How to Defrost or Thaw Frozen Barbacoa?

There are several ways to safely defrost frozen barbacoa when you actually want to eat it. The best way, however, is by using a refrigerator. Simply transfer the frozen barbacoa to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw slowly over several hours or overnight. This method will take longer, but it helps to preserve the quality and flavor of the meat.

Alternatively, you can also thaw frozen barbacoa in the microwave. To do this, place the frozen barbacoa in a microwave-safe dish and set the microwave to the defrost setting. Check the barbacoa every few minutes, stirring it occasionally, until it is thawed.

There is another method that you can use to defrost frozen barbacoa but it isn’t the best method for the longevity of the dish. You can thaw frozen barbacoa by placing it in a watertight plastic bag and submerging it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold and to speed up the thawing process. This method will take about 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the meat.

It is important to note that you should not thaw frozen barbacoa at room temperature, as this can lead to bacterial growth. When thawing barbacoa, it is important to handle it safely and to cook it to a safe internal temperature to ensure that it is fully cooked and safe to eat.

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Tips and Tricks to Follow When Freezing Barbacoa

Given that this really is a very exclusive dish that doesn’t get made very often, you will want to do everything you can to ensure that it lasts in your freezer. To that extent, here are some fantastic tips and tricks to follow when freezing barbacoa!

  • If you really want to store barbacoa for a long time and yet enjoy it at its freshest, freeze it without actually cooking it. That way, it effectively becomes a ready-to-prepare dish when you take it out of the freezer.
  • The last thing you want when you take the barbacoa out of the freezer is to find that it’s been affected by freezer burn. Therefore,  to prevent that from happening and help protect the flavor and texture of the barbacoa, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing it.
  • Further, when cooking frozen barbacoa, make sure to cook it to a safe internal temperature to ensure that it is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Barbacoa?

Yes, it is generally safe to refreeze thawed barbacoa as long as it has been handled properly. That said, you should only refreeze barbacoa once after thawing it. Since the dish contains meat, the possibility of bacterial growth because of fluctuating temperature is high. Further, try to use the barbacoa within a few months for the best quality. If it has been in the freezer for longer than that, it may have lost some of its flavor and texture.

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Does Barbacoa Freeze Well?

Yes, barbacoa does freeze extremely well. The advantage that you can get is that barbacoa can be frozen before it’s cooked and after it has been cooked. Therefore, you can decide whether you simply want to thaw a meal, or prepare it freshly in a few minutes, when you take it out of the freezer.

FAQs on Can You Freeze Barbacoa?

1. Is it safe to freeze barbacoa if it has different types of meat as ingredients?

Yes, it is safe to freeze barbacoa even if it has different types of meat as ingredients in it. The only thing to be remembered is that sometimes, the meat can lose its succulence when you thaw it.

2. Should you freeze barbacoa in baggies or containers?

You can freeze barbacoa in both baggies as well as containers. Baggies are generally more space efficient and won’t take up much space in your refrigerator. It is also easier to vacuum seal a freezer-safe baggie as compared to a container.

3. How long does barbacoa remain edible if you store it in the refrigerator?

Barbacoa will last about 5 days if you store it in the refrigerator instead of the freezer.

Key Takeaways

Hope the knowledge we have shared on can you freeze barbacoa has helped you a lot. And the reason is simple – it’s a fairly rare Mexican delicacy. That said, remember that while you can freeze and refreeze barbacoa, meat-based recipes might be harder to eat after a few freezing cycles.

And if you want to know more about freezing and defrosting other dips and foods like can you freeze stew, can you freeze marinated chicken head over to

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