Our weather took a sharp turn over the weekend. It was sunny and in the 80s all last week, and then Saturday I woke up to rain and 59 degrees. It cleared up and warmed up slightly, but I think fall is here.
And that means it’s time for some heartier recipes.
I’ve had pulled pork mac & cheese previously at a local (chain) restaurant, and I have a recipe for pulled pork that has been very popular at family gatherings, so I wanted to give the combo a try. Plus, since I really didn’t feel well still this weekend, it worked out well that I could put it together in stages rather than in one big cooking session.
Saturday evening, I prepped the pork and plunked it into the slow cooker; then Sunday morning I did the shredding and final cook; then Sunday afternoon/evening I made the mac & cheese (and ate it). Between all that and the CRAZY Seahawks game, I was wiped out, so I decided to wait another day to actually put the post together. (And then it took me two more days to actually POST it. Keeping up a with a blog when you fall asleep at 7pm isn’t the easiest!)
BBQ Pulled Pork Mac
Pulled pork recipe adapted from Recipe Girl
- 1½ – 2 pound boneless pork tenderloin, visible fat trimmed
- 2 ounce package of onion soup mix
- 8 ounce can of root beer
- 1-2 cups barbecue sauce of your choice (see notes); plus more for garnish (optional)
- Trim any visible fat from the meat. The tenderloin I bought was already trimmed, so I saved myself a step there.
- Sprinkle the onion soup mix on all sides of the tenderloin and press in. Place tenderloin in slow cooker.
- Mix root beer and barbecue sauce and pour over the tenderloin.
- Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
- Remove pork from slow cooker to bowl and shred.
- Return to slow cooker and continue cooking on low for 1-2 hours so that the meat develops a deeply colored caramelized coating throughout.
- Remove shredded pork from slow cooker and cover until ready to use.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1½ cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup extra sharp white cheddar (Cougar Gold, in this case)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
- Heat the milk over low heat until just at the edge of bubbling, but do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter over medium-low heat.
- Add the flour and whisk for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and slowly add the warmed milk, whisking constantly until it comes together in a thick, smooth sauce.
- Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Return to heat and add the cheeses, stirring until fully melted.
- Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat thoroughly.
- Serve mac and cheese topped with a scoop of pulled pork and drizzled with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
YUMMMMM. I used a combination of two Famous Dave’s barbecue sauces – the “Rich & Zesty” and the “Sweet & Sassy.” Those, combined with the root beer, give the pork a really awesome taste, as well as being fabulous drizzled across the top. The taste of the BBQ pork complements the cheesy goodness of the classic mac recipe. The addition of the protein makes this more of a main dish, rather than a side, and is nicely filling. Definitely a keeper!
- I started with 1 cup of barbecue sauce total (1/2 cup of each type) and then decided I wanted the cooking sauce a little thicker, so I added another cup as it went into the slow cooker. When the pork is done, you can pour the remaining cooking liquid over it to keep it moist while being stored.
Posted October 14, 2020