If you haven’t noticed yet, I love a savory pie. Extra points for pork, and double-extra points for a tender, juicy, low-and-slow cooked cuts, lightly coated with a spicy, sweet-and-savory barbeque sauce. Not to mention an extra-saucy mac and cheese topped with a nice thick layer of breadcrumbs, all wrapped up in a buttery, flaky, tender homemade pie crust. This really was one of the most delicious ideas that I’ve ever had.
This is not a quick and easy recipe. Quite the opposite, to be honest. I started the-brine on a Tuesday evening, cooked most of the day Wednesday, and at least half the day Thursday to serve it at a dinner party that night. That being said… you can cheat if you so choose. Really, you could make this in a couple of hours if you buy some pulled pork from a local BBQ joint, used premade sauce, some box mac, and a pie shell from the grocery store. And I bet it would still be a hit at your local pot luck. BUT it wouldn’t measure up to the results you will get if you give this the time, love, and care we used in this recipe.
The making of this pie from scratch is chalk-full of techniques, from the dry brining, oven slow cooking method, and pulling of the port to the mixing, rolling, and shaping of the pie crust. And don’t forget the creation of the sauce for the mac and cheese or the overall assembly of this bad boy. It’s a great project for someone who recently started their cooking journey, or a workout for an experienced veteran. I HIGHLY recommend trying this recipe. It was really a joy to take on.
A note on the fillings portions of this recipe: Due to standard quantities of ingredients sold at stores (1 lb box of pasta, 5-8 lb of pork butt), the recipe is written to make 2 pies. If you want to portion differently or freeze extra meat, that’s totally up to you, but it will really change timings, quantities, etc. I actually only made one pie, but ended up eating mac and cheese and pulled pork in different iterations for the next couple of days.
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Pie
- 2 Pie plates
- 1 Dutch oven or high walled pan (
- 5 lb Bone-in Boston Butt Picnic roast should also work, but was not tested for this recipe.
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup Light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp Mustard powder
- 1 Tbsp (heaping) Onion powder
- 1 Tbsp (heaping) Garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Dried oregano
- 3-5 Yellow onions, rooted, stemmed, and cut in half Enough to line the bottom of the pot/ pan you will roast the pork in
- 2 Cups Chicken stock Ensure you have at least 1.5" at the bottom of the pot
- 3 Tbsp Liquid smoke
- 1 Cup Tomato ketchup
- 1/2 Cup Brown sugar Use dark if you want a more molasses taste
- 1/2 Cup Honey Local if possible. You know, for the bees.
- 6 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce Was not tested, but if you substituted fish sauce here, it would probably work just fine.
- 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 4 tsp Chili powder Feel free to adjust, depending on your desired level of heat
- 1/2 Cup braising liquid/ drippings from pork
- Salt to taste
Mac and Cheese
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 6 Tbsp AP Flour
- 6 Cups Whole milk Make sure milk is cold before adding to roux.
- 1 tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp White pepper Optional
- Salt to taste
- 1 lb Grated meltable cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey jack, provolone, butterkase, etc. or any mixture of those
- 1 lb Short pasta, such as macaroni elbows, bow-ties, orecchiette
- 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 2 9" deep pie shells Homemade or store-bought
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Water
- In a small bowl, mix all dry rub ingredients. Whisk to combine
- Remove any fat cap from pork butt. Place in large bowl. Cover all sides generously. Cover and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 250° Fahrenheit or 120 degrees Celsius
- Line pot or high-walled pan with onions, flat side facing down.
- Add chicken stock and liquid smoke to pan. Liquid should cover the bottom of the pan but not totally immerse the onions. Set pork butt on top of onions and cover with aluminum foil.
- Place into preheated oven with baking sheet underneath in case of bubbling/ overflow. Cook until pork butt reaches 205°F/ 96°C internal temp. This should take about 8-9 hours, but could vary due to a number of factors. About 2 hours prior to removing pork from oven, remove the aluminum foil.
- Let port rest for a minimum of 1 hour, up to 2, then pull pork to desired texture. Let cool completely.
- Add all ingredients of barbeque sauce to a small pot over medium low heat. Stir until mixture comes to a low simmer.
- Keep on gentle simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or desired consistency is achieved. Set aside and let cool.
Mac and Cheese
- In a large pan or medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
- Once butter is completely melted, add flour and cook until floury flavor is cooked off and roux begins to smell nutty, about 2 minutes. Do not let mixture brown.
- Add 1 cup milk, then whisk until completely combined. Roux will seize up. This is typical. Repeat, adding about 1 cup at a time, until mixture is liquidy and has no lumps. Then add remainder of milk
- Let cook, whisking often, until mixture thickens and can heavily coat the back of a spoon.
- Once desired thickness is achieved, take mixture off heat and add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
- Mix in cheese 1 handful at a time, whisking until cheese is completely melted before adding next handful. If additional heat is needed, put burner on low and whisk constantly until cheese is fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
- Boil pasta in heavily salted water until it is 3 minutes from al dente. Drain, and add to cheese sauce. Mix to combine. Set aside and let cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350° F/ 175° C
- Finely slice 1 onion that was in braising liquid.
- In a large bowl, mix pulled pork, barbeque sauce, and onion.
- Mix breadcrumbs and butter. Stir until fully combined and wet sand texture.
- Line bottom of pie shells with 1" to 1.5" of pulled pork
- Add mac and cheese in an even layer on top of pork. Mac and cheese should come level with top of pie plate.
- Top mac and cheese with breadcrumbs
- Mix egg and water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush pie crust with egg wash.
- If pie dough is getting soft at this point, place pies in freezer for 15-25 minutes to firm up before baking.
- Bake pies until crust and breadcrumbs are a medium-dark golden color and contents are bubbling – 45-55 minutes.
- Let cool for about 90 minutes before serving.