A total “mash-up” of the king and queen of comfort foods, this dish incorporates the healthier pork alternative – the tenderloin, which is cooked on low in a slow cooker to achieve maximum tenderness for shredding. The pork is combined with a naturally sweet and spicy BBQ sauce that highlights the sweetness of apple and spiciness of chipotle peppers. The pork is placed on top of the mac and cheese that eliminates the butter and heavy cream and highlights a unique blend of cheeses. Topped with herbs and breadcrumbs and baked until golden, this guiltless treat will leave you in a state of sublime.
Anecdote: “Family BBQs take me back to my childhood when granddad would teach me all he knew about grilling and most importantly the anticipation of indulging in all the great food! I remember the billowing clouds of smoke would fill the air as you could literally hear the sizzle of pork ribs on the grill. This pork fest was never complete without the secret homemade BBQ sauce and rich decadent mac and cheese to accompany. One of the greatest moments was when granddad shared his secret sauce recipe with me – I was the only one to get it!
While I still crave these nostalgic experiences, embarking on a healthier lifestyle journey has led me on a mission to re-create these comfort dishes in a healthier way without compromising flavor. This recipe is the perfect marriage of two of my greatest food memories made simple with a lighter flare”.
Apple Infused BBQ ‘Slow Cooked’
Pulled Pork Tenderloin Mac & Cheese
By: Chef Judson Todd Allen
Serving Size- 6-7 servings
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Cook Time – 3 hours 50 minutes
1 lb pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ cup chicken stock
2 cups apple infused BBQ sauce
2 cups penne or cellentani pasta
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons herbed goat cheese
1 cup fontina cheese
1 cup teleggio cheese
1 ½ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Judson Todd Allen Chef Blend Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon fresh parlsey, finely chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
sea salt to taste
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 15 minutes
Yeilds – 3 cups
1 cup ketchup
½ cup apple cider or juice
1/3 cup grated apple
1/3 cup grated onion
2/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (minced)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon black pepper
In a medium heavy pot, add all ingredients. Over a medium high heat, whisk to fully combine. Reduce sauce down until thickened.
Pulled Pork Tenderloin:
Set slow cooker to ‘low’ setting. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, chicken stock and 1 cup of BBQ sauce.
Season pork tenderloin with black pepper and sea salt. Cut into 3 pieces and place into the slow cooker.
Cover and let cook for 2-3 hours or until fork tender for pulling/shredding. This is a great cooking method for those that want to cook overnight or while at work. Use timer feature on the slow cooker to control cook time.
After pork has completed cooking, remove from liquid and pull apart with fork. Place pork in a bowl and add ½ cup of BBQ sauce.
Macaroni & Cheese:
In a large cast iron pot over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, Cajun spice and whisk to fully incorporate. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk until sauce is thickened and smooth.
Add cheeses and sour cream (reserve some of your cheddar to top your casserole before baking). Stir in hot sauce.
Boil noodles in water for 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add pasta to cheese sauce and season with pepper and sea salt to taste.
To build BBQ pulled pork mac and cheese casserole – add noodles in cheese sauce to a lightly oiled baking dish. Add pulled pork in BBQ sauce over the noodles. Top with a layer of reserved cheddar, panko breadcrumbs and parsley.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite vegetable.