How do you make mac and cheese even better? Make it pulled pork mac and cheese!
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person that combines all the foods on my Thanksgiving plate into one giant mess of combined food deliciousness. When I’m enjoy barbecue, I’m kinda the same way. If there’s mac and cheese on the side, I’ll put some of the pulled pork in with it, put a little barbecue sauce on top, and boom enjoy that pulled pork mac and cheese.
You can haphazardly make pulled pork mac and cheese by combining already cooked foods, or you can purposefully set out to make an incredibly rich, delicious and tasty dish that is perhaps the definition of comfort food. The time that the noodles and pork spend cooking together really brings the flavors together and makes for a rich texture that you don’t get when you just combine separately made items. I hate to call it a casserole – but this pulled pork mac and cheese really is like a BBQ casserole.
You can use leftover pulled pork for this recipe (it’s a great way to use up leftovers!) or you can make pulled pork just for this batch of pulled pork mac and cheese. Here are some of our recipes to make pulled pork:
- BBQ Pulled Pork Shoulder Roast
- Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork from The Kitchn
- Easy Oven-Cooked Pulled Pork from Serious Eats
- Smoked Pork Shoulder
Any of these recipes will work just fine to get you the pulled pork you need! I’m not going to write the directions to get pulled pork in this recipe, just use the pulled pork you have from one of the recipes above. Make sure it’s sauced and seasoned to your taste before you add it to the mac and cheese.
For this pulled pork mac and cheese recipe, I’m making a homemade cheese sauce for the macaroni, although you can make boxed mac and cheese and it’ll be just fine. I like to use a combination of Velveeta cheese and gouda to make the cheese sauce. I know it seems a little weird to suggest using Velveeta, but it’s really the perfect cheese to melt into a sauce. Using a little bit of Gouda ups the flavor just enough to make this sauce special.
I know this recipe is called pulled pork mac and cheese, but I admit, I used shells for this recipe. I think the pulled pork goes a little bit better with the shells – you’ll get some meat inside the shells and it’s super yummy. You can use macaroni, penne, or whatever pasta shape you like ofr this recipe. I actually think the wide curves of cavatappi shaped pasta would be another excellent fit for this recipe!
Once you make the pulled pork and macaroni and cheese, you combine them and let it cook together for a while. I wrote the recipe to go in the oven because that’s easy, but you can also put the dish on a smoker, which is what I did. I like the little extra flavor that a kiss of smoke gives to mac and cheese, but I know not everyone likes that flavor, or has a smoker, so I wrote the recipe to finish on the oven.
You can customize this recipe to your taste and really make it your own. Here are some ideas on twists to this recipe:
- Add a few spoonfuls of diced sweet red peppers to the mix for a little color, crunch and flavor to the recipe!
- A little chopped up cooked bacon never hurt anything, and would be a delicious addition to this pulled pork mac and cheese.
- You can add a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies to make this a chili pulled pork mac and cheese recipe.
- Season your cheese sauce with a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicier version of the recipe.
- You can cheese up this pulled pork mac and cheese by adding shredded cheddar on top of the recipe before putting it in the oven.
That’s it from me – what do you think of our pulled pork mac and cheese recipe? I hope you enjoy it and appreciate the deliciousness of these two amazing foods combined into one unbeatable dish. Do you have any tips or ideas to make this dish even better? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts. Enjoy!
- 1 -2 lb(s) Cooked Pulled Pork
- 1 lb Pasta (see note above – I used medium shells)
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 3 cup Milk (preferably whole milk)
- 1 lb Velveeta Cheese (cubed)
- 1 cup Gouda Cheese (shredded)
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- BBQ Sauce (for serving)
Cook your pasta to al dente according to the directions on the package and drain. Briefly rinse with cold water to stop cooking, because we don’t want overly soft pasta!
While the pasta is cooking make your cheese sauce by following these steps. Pour the milk into a sauce pan and heat to medium low heat. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, then slowly add the flour to the butter, constantly whisking as you are adding. Once the flour is all added in, pour in the milk, continuing to whisk. Add the cubed velveeta and shredded gouda, and let it melt, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Once the cheese is melted, whisk in the seasonings, and remove from heat.
When your cheese sauce is ready, put the cooked and drained noodles into a large pot, and pour the sauce over the noddles. Stir together. Add your pulled pork to the mixture and stir again. You should have about a 2/3 noodle, 1/3 pulled pork mixture, but you can adjust how much pulled pork you add to your taste.
Put the pulled pork mac and cheese into a 9 x 13 or similar sized oven proof baking pan and place into an oven (or smoker) preheated to 350ºF. Cook for 30 minutes until the pulled pork mac and cheese is warmed throughout.
Once the pulled pork mac and cheese is done cooking, remove from the oven, let cool slightly and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce spread on top. Enjoy!