How to Make Barbecue Spaghetti

There's not much that doesn't go with spaghetti noodles. Chili (by way of Cincinnati). Dessert, even. You can bake it into a pie, or put it into tacos. But have you ever thought about barbecue spaghetti? Not, to be clear, barbecued spaghetti where the pasta itself is grilled - more like bbq spaghetti, where the noodles are topped with pulled pork.

Barbecue spaghetti is a classic Memphis dish: spaghetti noodles topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. It's the best of two worlds and if you can't make it to Memphis to try some, we've got the details on how to make it at home.

Southern Living details the history of this dish, as researched by Craig David Meek in his book "Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce, and Soul." The dish was invented by Brady Vincent, owner of a barbecue restaurant called Brady and Lil's. Vincent retired in 1980 and sold the restaurant to Frank and Hazel Vernon, who renamed it The Bar-B-Q Shop but kept barbecue spaghetti on the menu using Vincent's original recipe.

Vincent also taught Jim Neely, who founded Interstate Bar-B-Q in 1979, about barbecue spaghetti. Neely modified the original recipe a little bit, but both versions are tangy and delicious.

The dish is more than just pulled pork dumped on top of a pile of noodles. It starts with a thick tomato sauce, into which barbecue sauce is added. The pasta is tossed with the sauce and the shredded pork.

How to Make Barbecue Spaghetti

If you're ready to try your hand at this Memphis treat, here's how to make it.

Step One: Prepare your spaghetti sauce. You can use your favorite jarred sauce, but it's also incredibly easy to make a quick sauce. Dice onions and saute them in olive oil, add canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste and season with salt, black pepper and your favorite Italian herbs. Once the tomato base has cooked for 10 minutes or so, it's time to add your barbecue sauce. Again, you can use your favorite, though a Memphis or Kansas City bbq sauce will work best. Blend the two sauces together well. You can run an immersion blender through the sauce to get it really smooth, or pour it (carefully!) into a blender.

Step Two: Cook the pasta according to package directions. In a large pot, boil water, add your spaghetti noodles and cook until al dente. When the noodles are done, drain them well then return them to the pot. You can cook the pasta while the sauce is cooking, so that when the noodles are done, everything is ready to combine.

Step Three: Pour the sauce over the noodle and mix well, then add your pulled pork. You can absolutely use pulled pork made just for this dish (and we've got some great recipes for that) but barbecue spaghetti is also a fantastic way to use up leftover pulled pork.

Step Four: Serve the barbecue spaghetti with your favorite barbecue sides. Turn on some Memphis blues music. Eat. Enjoy!

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