I don’t know about you, but after this past weekend I am so jacked up on America! First, we had the greatest holiday known to man (aka 4th of July), and it’s always fun to blow stuff up and drink outdoors in the name of Freedom. Then that was swiftly followed up by the USNWT’s ass-whooping win over Japan – USA! USA! USA!
Okay, I’m done for now. But really, it was a wonderfully American weekend that was only made better by all the time I got to spend with my family and all the food I got to eat. We had a potluck at work before the long weekend, and there was soooooo much food. What did I make you ask? This absolutely perfect mac and cheese, of course!
Seriously, this may be hands down the absolute best mac and cheese. Even better than Panera or Stouffer’s (no offense, you two). I have been dying to share this recipe because I adore it so much. It’s definitely a departure from my typical quick, easy, healthy(ish) meals, but I looooooooooooove it.
Best Ever BBQ Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Prep Time: 30 min Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8-10 (but possibly only 1 if you’re like me)
- 1 lb prepared pulled pork
- 1 cup BBQ sauce – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet & Spicy
- 1 pound of pasta – choice is yours, I typically use cavatappi/corkscrew
- 5 cups three cheese blend – choice is yours again, I used 1 small block New York Sharp White Cheddar, 1 small block Monterey Jack, and one large block of Extra Sharp Cheddar
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To prepare the pulled pork, if you don’t have any, it’s easiest to do in the crock pot. Use a 1 to 1-1/2 pound pork butt, rub it in about 4 tbsp of barbecue seasoning, and place in crock pot with 1/4 cup of water. Cook on low for 6 hours, shred, and set aside for later. Nothing too fancy – the sauce will flavor it well.
- Boil water large stock pot with a pinch of salt and throw in your pasta and cook it until it’s a dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, shred your cheese. Preshredded cheese does not melt as well because of the preservatives in it that keep the shreds from sticking.
- Drain pasta, put it back into the stock pan and add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Mix until cream cheese melts.
- Add the flour and Panko and stir to incorporate.
- Add 4 cups of the cheese and stir thoroughly until melted and texture is consistent.
- Add in salt, pepper, and ground mustard. I used about 1 tbsp of salt, 2 tbsp of pepper and 1 tbsp ground mustard.
- Pour into a 9×13-inch glass pan that has been coated with oil or butter.
- Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
- While baking heat the pulled pork up and add the BBQ sauce.
- Add the warm BBQ pulled pork to the top of the mac and cheese. Then sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top of the pork.
- Put back into oven for another 10 minutes.
- Enjoy, probably straight from the pan – careful not to burn your tongue!