Pulled pork macaroni and cheese

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Um, yes, it truly is every bit as amazing as it sounds. Two of the world’s best foods mashed together into one truly amazing dinner. My famous slow cooker pulled pork is for more than just sandwiches. Make up a big batch, freeze and save for later. Then you can easily make homemade mac & cheese. Any time and even on a weeknight. Your family/friends/kids will love you for this one.

To me, one of the easiest things in the world to make is a big huge batch of pulled pork. A perfect cook all day meal and then to make it even easier I just cut it into chunks and toss it in my mixer to let it do the shredding work for me. I love a meal that practically cooks itself. Use the pork for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, and, well, you get the point. It’s totally worth your time.

Then, when you need a quick dinner, just boil up a few macaroni noodles…

Make up my homemade cheese sauce (seriously, it takes less than 10 minutes)….

Top with some breadcrumb and pop it in the oven. Dinner is seriously this easy and homemade. Such a huge win all the way around!

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

2.74 from 60 votes Pin Author: Jennifer Draper

  • 2 cups leftover pulled pork
  • 8 oz elbow pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar blend)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used sweet onion flavor)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook Pasta according to package directions and drain
  • Toss with pulled pork
  • In saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter
  • Whisk in flour until smooth
  • Whisk in milk and let simmer until thickened enough to stick to spoon
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted and smooth
  • Add to noodles and pasta and toss until smooth
  • Add to 2 quart casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs
  • Melt butter and drizzle over top
  • Place in oven for 20 minutes or so until top is lightly browned
  • Remove and drizzle with bbq sauce before serving

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Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Recipe

When ready to cook, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until a fire is established (4-5 minutes). Turn temperature to 375 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but do not boil.

In a separate, large 4 quart pot, melt 6 tablespoons butter and add flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

Remove pot from heat and add Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour in cooked macaroni noodles and leftover pulled pork; stir well. Layer the cooked macaroni and leftover pulled pork into a 3-quart baking dish or skillet.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned on the top. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of cheese and barbecue sauce. Enjoy!

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Combine two classic comfort foods together to make this leftover pulled pork mac and cheese with garlic panko, one amazing dinner the whole family will be fighting over! Find more leftover pulled pork recipes here.

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Since we purchased our Big Steel Keg a few y ears ago, my husband has perfected smoking meats and grilling up delicious barbecue. So much so, that even my dad, who recently moved from Houston to San Diego leaving behind his beloved Texas barbecue, has proclaimed hubby’s smoked brisket and smoked pork roast equally delicious.

So, we make a lot of barbecue. I mean, A LOT OF BARBECUE. And a lot of barbecue means a lot of leftovers! It’s not a bad problem to have, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we freeze our leftover pulled pork and brisket, but many times, I work the leftovers into new recipes, like this leftover pulled pork mac and cheese and the killer garlic panko topping.

Best pasta for macaroni and cheese

As the name suggests, the iconic elbow macaroni is always a favorite as the base for any macaroni and cheese. It is short yet sturdy and holds up with the cheesy sauce. Almost any pasta can be used for macaroni and cheese, but I would not use spaghetti, fettuccini or linguine type noodles.

Other favorite pastas to use in this leftover pulled pork mac and cheese: small shells, penne, fusilli, farfalle, rotini and ziti.

Can pulled pork mac and cheese be made ahead?

There are several ways you can prepare and serve your pulled pork mac and cheese. The entire dish can be assembled, ready to bake, but cover in foil and refrigerate to be baked later or the next day. Just make sure you are using a dish that can go from refrigerator to oven.

You can also bake the entire dish and reheat it later. To reheat your mac and cheese, bake in the oven at 350ºF for 20 minutes until warm and bubbly.

Can you freeze your mac and cheese?

If you are using the types of pastas I suggested, you can freeze your mac and cheese. But I would not freeze them in a baking dish, but in freezer safe containers. Even better, divide them into individual serving sizes for easy reheating – especially for the always-hungry-teenager.

Best cheese to use in pulled pork mac and cheese

When it comes to mac and cheese, my eldest son considers himself a connoisseur. He loves all kinds of mac and cheese in all of its shapes, sizes and flavors. From boxed to homemade, he’s never met a mac and cheese he didn’t like.

When it comes to the type of cheese to use, you can get very creative and use a wide number of cheeses. From the classic sharp cheddar to even brie. You can also combine cheeses to get more flavor. If you do combine cheeses, I suggest mixing a hard cheese with a soft cheese to balance flavor and add more creaminess.

Here are some of my favorite cheeses to use in homemade mac and cheese:

  • Sharp cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Pepper Jack
  • Gruyere
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Parmesan
  • Havarti
  • Brie
  • Goat Cheese
  • Cream Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz macaroni
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 TBS all purpose flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cup cooked and shredded pulled pork

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Bring a large pot of water with 1 tsp salt to boil.
  3. When water is at a rolling boil, add macaroni.
  4. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta in a colander and reserve.
  6. Return pot to the stove and over medium heat add 2 TBS butter with 1 TBS olive oil.
  7. When butter is melted stir in crushed garlic and cook until lightly browned.
  8. Stir in panko crumbs and dried parsley and cook 1 more minute.
  9. Transfer panko mix to a bowl and reserve.
  10. Return pot to the stove and over medium heat melt 1 TBS butter.
  11. When butter is melted, stir in flour.
  12. Continue stirring and cooking for 1 minute then slowly whisk in milk.
  13. When milk is completely incorporated with the butter mixture, continue whisking until sauce thickens, about 7 minutes.
  14. Stir in shredded cheese then remove from heat when cheese is completely melted into the cream sauce.
  15. Stir in reserved macaroni and mix well. Transfer macaroni into an 8×8 pan.
  16. Top macaroni with shredded pulled pork and spread evenly.
  17. Spread garlic panko evenly over the pulled pork.
  18. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Notes

If you don’t have or eat pork, you can substitute pulled pork with shredded brisket or chicken.

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Nutrition Information:

4

Serving Size:

1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 755 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 118mg Sodium: 1952mg Carbohydrates: 70g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 21g Protein: 38g

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If you love barbecue as much as I do, then you’re going to love this easy stovetop Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese made with smoked cheddar. Ready in 30 minutes thanks to one simple ingredient.



If there’s one smell I love, it’s the smell of fire. I’m not talking about being some crazy arsonist setting fires to buildings. I’m talking about cooking food with fire, whether it’s campfires, grilling, smoking barbecued meats, or just bonfires in general. I haven’t been around a bonfire in forever, but I remember on those nights, I would wear a hoodie then come home and smell like a bonfire for a few days. Such a great smell, mainly because so many of my favorite foods are made over an open flame – s’mores, barbecue ribs, pulled pork, the list goes on. When Dad and I visited Nashville and Memphis back in 2009, we made sure to add a few barbecue joints to our dinner list; after all, you cannot go to Memphis, home of the largest pork barbecue contest in the world, and not eat barbecue. When we went to Harper’s Ferry a few years ago, there was a roadside barbecue set up that we stopped for lunch. We LOVE our barbecued meats and will gravitate towards it whenever possible (except for maybe the BBQ daiquiri. I feel like that would be too complicated to eat in a glass).

Here in Pittsburgh, they may not have a barbecue style named after them like Memphis does, but there are still some great places to buy it. Right down the road from my apartment about 2 minutes is a little barbecue joint. There are a few tables inside to eat in, but you can tell it’s built for either pick up or for their food cart they use to travel to events. When I saw brisket mac and cheese on the menu, I knew I had to order it. Except it was so small, I didn’t realize it must have been a side dish and not a full dinner. I was so disappointed as it only took a few minutes to inhale it. Ever since that moment, I’ve been wanting to make it at home with pulled pork, a BIG meal to fill me up, and now I have with this stovetop Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese made with smoked cheddar. No skimpy side dish portions here; just a big ol’ bowl of creamy, comforting mac and cheese.



As much as I love barbecued meats, I rarely make them myself because they take hours and hours of care and patience. If there’s one thing I don’t have when it comes to cooking dinner, it’s patience to wait 8 hours for something to cook, especially when you can smell it all day. Sure, I made pulled pork in the oven, but even that was pushing it for me as I tried to eat it after 1 hour of cooking (proof that it really does take almost 2 hours). Plus who really wants to turn on their oven for 2 hours during summer, air conditioning or not? That’s when I got a little help from Hormel Foods Lloyd’s Meats. I grew up eating Lloyd’s, mainly their ribs, but we also ate the pulled pork tubs. In fact, for my birthday this year, Dad made me Lloyd’s ribs for my birthday dinner (we aren’t kidding when we say we love our barbecued meats). By using Lloyd’s pulled pork, I can easily have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. They also make pulled beef, chicken, and turkey if you don’t want to use pork.



For the cheese, I played off the smokiness of the pulled pork by using smoked cheddar. You’ll probably have to buy a block of it and shred it yourself, but the flavor is so amazing that you won’t mind. There’s something about smoked cheese that adds a little extra depth to your food. Of course you can use regular cheddar if you don’t have smoked, but I do highly recommend using smoked if you can.

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter (add 1/8 teaspoon salt if unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) Lloyd’s barbecue pulled pork
  • Green onion, for garnish
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni as directed on the package until al dente, roughly 10 minutes. Drain into a colander.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion (and 1/8 teaspoon salt, if using) and cook for 5 minutes or until soften. Stir in the flour to coat and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the cheese and salt until melted.
  3. Heat the pulled pork according to package directions, either in the microwave or in another pan on the stove.
  4. Stir together the pasta, sauce, and pork then serve hot. Top with green onion for garnish.

More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes


Sweet Chili Mac and Cheese Shells

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Tomato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pasta

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:

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Glazed Ribs

Perfect Corn on the Cob

Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders with Garlic Butter Sauce

Churrasco (mojo marinated grilled skirt steak)

Southern Banana Pudding with Vanilla Meringue Topping

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  • 2 cups pulled pork
  • 1 cup (288 g) barbecue sauce
  • 16 oz cavatappi pasta
  • 4 tbsp (56 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) flour
  • 3 cups (710 mL) whole milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 4 oz smoked gouda, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix the barbecue sauce and pulled pork together until all of the pork is coated in sauce. Set aside.
  3. Set a large pot of salted water to boil, then add pasta to boil. Cook to package directions for al dente.
  4. 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.
  5. Take the pan off the heat, then add spices and cheese by the handful, keeping 1/3 of the cheese for later, mix well until all the cheese is melted.
  6. 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 9×13 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve.

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Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555 Total Fat: 31g Saturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 111mg Sodium: 1133mg Carbohydrates: 38g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 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.

It’s been practically forever since my last post. I’m sorry. Really, I am. I miss blogging but this is my busy season at work and I’ve been, well, busy. I thought I’d get ahead of it – I developed a bunch of recipes and took a bunch of photos so even if I was too busy to cook I could still post. But that obviously hasn’t happened. So, here’s a peace offering in the form of Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese. No, it’s not exactly healthy. But once in a while you need to indulge, and this is the perfect way to do it.

This recipe has been bouncing around in my head for the better part of a year and I only regret not making it sooner. The juicy, succulent pork blends perfectly with a rich four-cheese sauce and a touch of barbecue sauce. I roasted a pork shoulder especially for this recipe, but you could easily substitute pulled pork that you have leftover from another occasion – just adjust the amount of barbecue sauce accordingly. This mac and cheese shouldn’t be overly barbecue-y… just enough to give the dish a subtle flavor and to cut through the richness of the cheese.

  • 16 oz ridged pasta (such as penne or, my favorite, cavatappi)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 1.5 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz emmental cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup pulled pork (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp dry sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 pound pork shoulder
  1. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain.
  2. Melt the butter in the bottom of a medium pan set over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for several minutes, until it becomes a light caramel color. Whisk in the milk and garlic powder. Bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese, allowing it to melt.
  3. Toss the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce. Stir the pork and pasta into the cheese sauce.
  4. Combine the paprika, dry mustard, sage, salt, and pepper. Rub into all sides of the pork. Bake at 400-degrees for 2 hours. Flip the pork over and cook for another hour. Let rest for 15 minutes, then use two forks to shred the meat.
  5. Yields approx. 4 cups pulled pork.