I know, BBQ Spaghetti sounds strange and possibly kind of gross, but trust me on this one people. It’s really kind of delicious. An unusual combination for sure, but tasty nonetheless. At least to me. I mean, sauce? Good. Spaghetti? Good. Pulled pork? Definitely good.
I’m kind of up to my eyeballs in packing right now. We finally found a place to live, but now we’re desperately trying to pack up our place in the next 2-3 weeks. BLOOOOOOORRRRRRGGGGG. That’s how I feel about packing. It turns out trying to balance work, packing, cooking, and blogging is pretty tough. I’m definitely going to try my best to stay at least somewhat on top of things, but I may fall behind for a bit. As bummed as that makes me, as least I’ve got some frozen BBQ Spaghetti waiting for me in the freezer.
If you’ve never heard of it, BBQ Spaghetti is a Memphis specialty. Though it sounds like it could just be BBQ sauce poured on spaghetti, it’s actually made with a sauce that’s sort of like BBQ sauce and sort of like marinara with some pulled pork as an added bonus. Though Stephen grew up in Nashville, neither of us had heard of it until it started popping up on menus around Boston a few years ago. I’ve been intrigued for a while, but I just got around to trying it out at a restaurant a few months ago. The dish I had was good but a little too sweet for my liking, so I decided to try my hand at making it at home. Most of the recipes I found involved using your favorite BBQ sauce and some tomatoes. I tried that method first, and liked but did not love it. After several further attempts that tasted not so great, I eventually settled on a modified version of this recipe from the Washington Post. And honestly, I loved it! The sauce really tastes halfway between a homemade barbeque sauce and homemade spaghetti sauce. It’s fairly easy to prepare, but like all sauces it takes a good amount of simmering to get it ready. But believe me, it’s far superior to simply adding tomatoes to ready made bbq sauce. If you have some leftover pulled pork in the house you should definitely give this a try!
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp crushed red peper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp bbq seasoning
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 chopped chipotle pepper
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 28 ounces canned, no-salt-added tomato puree
- 3 cups water
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 1 pound chopped or pulled pork
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Heat for 2 minutes, then add the chopped onion and cook until the onion softens, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, bbq seasoning, dark brown sugar, chopped chipotle, apple cider vinegar, and canned tomato puree and heat for 1 minute. Add the water, stir, and turn the heat up to medium high until the sauce boils. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently, until the sauce is reduced. It should be thin and will taste like a combination of bbq sauce and marinara.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Meanwhile, add the pulled pork to the sauce and heat.
Add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and enjoy!
Adapted from the Washington Post
You should feel free to adapt the ingredients to your liking. This sauce has a bit of spice, which I love, but feel free to leave out or reduce the heat.