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How to Thaw Pork Shoulder? Some Easy Methods!!

If you kept your pork shoulder in the freezer, but now that you need to cook it, you can only cook it straight with thawing it. Thus, if you find a safe way to thaw the pork shoulder, you are in the right place. Thawing is warming up a frozen substance, so learning how to thaw pork shoulder is important. As there are bacteria in meat, if they are not properly stored, it could be unsafe to eat, and when the pork shoulder is frozen, it only inactivates the bacteria in it. Thus, when the pork is thawed, the bacteria in the pork shoulder activates. That is why it is crucial to learn how to thaw pork shoulder safely without harming the meat.

The pork shoulder is a cut from the pig, which has a lot of flavors because the meat is full of fats and oils. The cut comes in large slabs, with nearly 10 pounds, which is too much portion per day if cooking for a family.

When you’ve bought a complete pork shoulder, the rest is stored in the freezer after the needed portion is taken. Thus, when you need to cook the frozen pork shoulder, you ensure it is safely thawed, as there are chances for the bacteria to affect the meat if not thawed properly.

How to Thaw Pork Shoulder?

According to what was previously discussed in the article, we elaborated on the importance of learning how to thaw pork shoulder safely. There are different methods approved by people who have tried these methods, which are safe to go. Hence, below we will explain each procedure to thaw the meat steps. Follow them properly to avoid any inconvenience to your health.

  • Refrigerator

One of the common methods used by most to safely thaw the pork shoulder is by putting it in the other half of the fridge by taking it from the freezer. But if you are planning to thaw the pork shoulder in the refrigerator, the process is longer than the other methods and time-consuming.

Thus, if you plan to cook the pork shoulder immediately, there are better options than this one. It takes a whole day to thaw the pork shoulder completely in the fridge. Hence, plan prior if you want to thaw the pork shoulder in the fridge to cook. The steps to thaw the pork shoulder using the fridge are stated below.

  1. Remove the wrapper around the pork shoulder, line a baking sheet with a paper towel, or keep a baking rack on a flat plate.
  2. Place the pork shoulder on top so the meat can thaw evenly from every side, including the bottom.
  3. Leave the pork shoulder for about a day to thaw completely, but if the portion is larger, it might take one day and a half.
  • Microwave

Microwave is the quickest method to thaw pork shoulder, but it is also the most unsafe method because of the rapid change of temperature. Because when the pork shoulder is thawed using a microwave, the inactive bacteria in the meat start growing, which creates the chances for the meat to be unsafe. However, microwaving is the best option if you want to cook the pork shoulder immediately. But if not, it is not recommended to thaw the meat using the microwave if you leave the pork shoulder to cook for later, as the bacteria growth increases. Below we have given you the steps that need to be followed to thaw the pork shoulder successfully using a microwave.

  1. Take a microwaveable dish to place the pork shoulder on it.
  2. After placing the pork shoulder dish in the microwave, please turn it on and press on the defrosting option.
  3. Now leave the pork shoulder to thaw for around 5 minutes. If it still needs to be thawed completely, put on extra time till it is completely thawed.
  • Water

Water is another safe method used to thaw the pork shoulder, after the refrigerator method. Though you can use either warm, cold, or running water, it is recommended you use running water as it is more effective and safer than the others. Because using warm water, can have a similar reaction to bacteria as using it in the microwave, but it does not affect as much, and cold water takes a long time to thaw the pork shoulder though it is also safe. Follow the steps below to thaw the meat using the water method.

  1. Don’t remove the wrapper used when freezing the pork shoulder; now, take a larger dish or a bowl that can fit the pork shoulder.
  2. Fill the running water into the container, putting the pork shoulder into it. Ensure the pork shoulder is submerged.
  3. Turn the pork and flip it to another side to touch the water every 30 to 40 minutes, and refill it every time you repeat this process until the pork shoulder is completely thawed.
  4. The process takes no longer than 6 hours, and you can cook the pork shoulder within the day the pork shoulder starts to thaw using water.

How Do You Know If Pork Shoulder is Thawed?

It is crucial to ensure that the pork shoulder is completely thawed before cooking, as cooking it while frozen can sometimes leave the meat raw towards the center. It might also take longer to cook the pork shoulder if you are properly wasting your energy and time in the cooking process. The common signs to tell if the meat is complete though you might see the meat is soft from all sides. You can easily slice and chop when the knife goes through the meat. The wrapper around the pork shoulder can be easily removed and starts moving.

What Happens If the Pork Shoulder is not Thawed the Right Way?

As previously discussed, when the pork shoulder is frozen, the bacteria are inactive, but as they get exposed to room temperature, they start to activate. The bacterial growth becomes rapid when the pork shoulder comes to an average temperature, where in serious situations, it could even cause food poisoning turning the meat terrible.


In short, we have primarily discussed how to thaw pork shoulder in the article by contemplating the methods used to thaw the meat and relating to topics like how you know if a pork shoulder is wholly thawed and what happens if the pork shoulder is not thawed correctly.

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