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BBQ Pulled Pork Rigatoni Pie




As barbecue lovers, we are always looking for new ways to enjoy the food that we spend hours preparing. Sometimes we are also trying to find different ways to use the leftovers instead of having the same thing every time.


Let’s focus on pork today. Whether you’re cooking a Boston butt or a Picnic shoulder, there are some cool ways to serve it without it always being a pulled pork sandwich!

Everyone loves pasta and everyone loves pulled pork so…why not bring them together into a Rigatoni pie?


The Pork

I had some picnic shoulders in the freezer that I bought on sale, so I thawed one out for this project. You can use a Boston Butt for this as well.


I started the day before by trimming up the shoulder and scoring the fat cap so I could get the seasoning deep into the meat. I then heavily salted the fat cap taking care to push the salt into the score marks. This will draw some of the moisture out of that skin while dry brining the meat underneath.


On the meat side of the shoulder, I used MeatBoneZ Master Blend BBQ Rub. (You can use whatever rub you like) Put a nice heavy coating on in order to get a great bark. Just take care to not get any rub on the skin side since we salted that already.

Set the pork into an aluminum pan (Preferably with a rack on the bottom) and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.


Preheat the smoker to 250°F


Take pork out of pan. Dry off the fat cap and spray heavily with cooking spray. You can putt the pork on the smoker fat side up or down. I go up because of presentation purposes. I love how the fat cap looks when It’s done, and I like to take pics!

After the pork gets a good color, (usually around 165° - 175°F) I’ll set it into an aluminum pan with some apple juice, and cover with foil until the internal temp is around 202°F or probe tender. At that point, I let it rest covered in a cooler for 1 hour.

Then start pulling the pork!


After the pork is pulled, I add more rub and BBQ sauce. I used MeatBoneZ Master Blend BBQ Sauce for this cook. Just work it into the pork and taste. You want great flavor without it being overpowered by BBQ sauce. Look for that perfect balance.


The Vodka Sauce

I decided to use a vodka sauce for this dish. It’s such a nice rich, creamy, garlicky fresh tasting sauce and it goes perfectly with this dish.


Start off by browning 5 peeled cloves of garlic in ¼ cup of olive oil on medium low heat. When browned (Not burnt! If you burn the garlic, START OVER!), pour in two 28oz cans of GOOD QUALITY whole peeled tomatoes, such as Mutti. *Do not cheap out on the tomatoes! It really does matter!


Then stir in the vodka. (Best to pull pan off the heat when adding the alcohol for safety) Bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add half the fresh basil. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.


While the sauce is cooking, bring a big pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add 1lb of Rigatoni. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.


I use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce. If you don’t have one, then you can use a blender or just a masher for a more rustic texture. After it’s smooth, add in the heavy cream and the remaining basil. Bring back to a low simmer for 15 more minutes.


Preheat oven to 375°F


The Pie

Using a springform pan, coat the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Use cooking spray to coat the sides of the pan. Arrange the rigatoni in an upright position all around the pan until full. You might not need all the pasta. Don’t worry about that.

Now, ladle the sauce onto the noodles, making sure to fill up all the holes.

Spread the ricotta cheese on top of the pasta and sauce.


Now, layer the pulled pork on top of the noodles making sure to leave room on top for the shredded cheese.


I decided to use a Mexican blend of shredded cheese on top for something different but it’s really up to you. Try whatever cheese you want!


Place the springform pan onto a cookie sheet just in case it leaks. Cover the springform pan with foil taking care not to let the foil touch the cheese.


Cook covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.


Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Then let rest another 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Enjoy!




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