Bring this pulled pork mac and cheese to your next potluck or cookout! Rich and creamy mac and cheese with that summer superstar -pulled pork- make for a match made in heaven any time of the year!
How's y'all's summer going?
Ever since I saw pulled pork mac and cheese on the show "The Chew" I knew I needed it in my life. I already love creamy baked mac and cheese, but adding tender pulled pork with zingy bbq sauce in it? Just mind-blowingly good eating.
Recently, we found out that this little farmer's market near our old church, which had this awesome barbecue joint...well, that barbecue spot is now long gone.
It had the best pulled pork mac and cheese! We were so sad!
Pulled pork cheese fries too. Oh my Lord, those were good.
And if you've never put some mac and cheese on your pulled pork sandwich...what are you doing with your life?
That's why you're here, right? Because you came looking for what you've been missing? I've got you, friend.
The tang and sweet from BBQ sauce, and the awesome cheesy goodness of mac and cheese, and of course, the rich, slow cooked pork to make it a 'full meal', as my husband says, makes pulled pork mac and cheese an overall crowd pleaser for any cookout or dinner.
If you've got some left over pulled pork from your last backyard BBQ, or just made one for dinner, you have to try this pulled pork mac and cheese recipe.
What cut of pork should I use for pulled pork?
The best cut for pulled pork, in my opinion, is the pork butt. Also called the Boston butt. It's a part of the shoulder that's actually next to the picnic 'ham' that you use for your holiday sliced ham. Yeah, didn't know that they were so related, huh?
The pork butt cut is a tough cut and pretty affordable, especially during the summer time when they go on sale for barbecue and smoking. These big boys are full of connective tissue and fat that when slow cooked for a long time, break down and melt away, leaving tender, flavorful meat. Which is why it's so loved for smoking and oven braising!
This recipe calls for leftover pulled pork, but you can make it easily in your slow cooker or in your Instant Pot if you want it done in about half an hour. Simply use the instructions from my Instant Pot Carnitas recipe, and season the meat with salt, pepper, a little brown sugar, garlic and onion powder before pressure cooking.
And voila, you have a quick and easy pulled pork ready to be smothered in barbecue sauce and swirled into baked macaroni and cheese.
What cheeses should I use for pulled pork mac and cheese?
Classic macaroni and cheese cheeses like cheddars, mozzarella, colby jack, go great with the sweet, tangy barbecue sauce on the pulled pork. But feel free to branch out with your favorites. I added smoked gouda, which has an amazing smoking, creamy flavor. I also love, love, love smoked gruyere cheese.
But if you like something funky like blue cheese, I say do it!
Do I have to use the oven to make pulled pork mac and cheese?
It's summer, it's hot, and honestly, who wants to bake anything?
No worries, you don't have to use the oven!
I didn't mind blasting the A/C so I could have those crispy bits of pulled pork and cheese on the top of the dish. But you can get the same crispiness by putting the pulled pork mac and cheese in a grill-safe pan, then put it over indirect heat in a close grill until the top of the mac has gotten bubbly with those delicious crispy bits.
You could even just not crisp it up at all. Just put a big spoonful between two slices of bread and you'll have the best and easiest pulled pork mac and cheese sandwich of your life.
Take this down to your next potluck or cookout, it's gonna be gone in a flash so make a double batch.
Looking for something to bring to the cookout? Check out:
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- 2 cups pulled pork
- 1 cup (288 g) barbecue sauce
- 16 oz cavatappi pasta
- 4 tablespoon (56 g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (30 g) flour
- 3 cups (710 mL) whole milk
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
- 4 oz smoked gouda, grated
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the barbecue sauce and pulled pork together until all of the pork is coated in sauce. Set aside.
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil, then add pasta to boil. Cook to package directions for al dente.
- While pasta is boiling, in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook the mixture for one minute, then slowly add the milk to the roux, whisking vigorously, until the milk is completely added and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is thickened slightly, being able to coat the back of a spoon.
- Take the pan off the heat, then add spices and cheese by the handful, keeping ⅓ of the cheese for later, mix well until all the cheese is melted.
- When pasta is ready, add it to a large mixing bowl and pour cheese sauce over it. Stir well to coat all the pasta in the cheese sauce, then put mixture into an oven safe 9x13 dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the dish. Add pulled pork and use a spoon to mix and swirl the pulled pork into the mac and cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to a low broil and broil for 5 minutes to ensure browned, crispy bits of cheese and pork.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 1133mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 32g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.