Wednesday Dinner: Barbecue Spaghetti

The Baby had her nine-month well visit today after work. She’s fine, save an ear infection. The little bugger is growing like crazy — 28.25 inches long and just shy of 19 pounds. My hope is that she’ll remain skinny and inherit someone else’s genes and not her parents’.

Her trip to the doctor meant dinner needed to be quick and dirty tonight. I was interested in the recipe for barbecue spaghetti when I saw it on Serious Eats and figured that it could go together pretty easily. I ended up making the sauce the night before and giving it a night of chilling in our Olean fridge (Also known as our non-insulated backporch. The name is a backhanded slap at the quaint but backwoodsy town where my college was located.). I also got the chance to bust out my new toy — a Cuisinart immersion blender. Pretty sweet. I don’t know why I didn’t get one of these sooner (Oh wait. Now that I’m writing this blog, can I take the blender as a tax writeoff?).

The Wife and I will eat pulled pork without fanfare. Sure, it’s nice when made as a Cuban or served as an empanada, but often times we’ll just eat it plain. I’ll make my own in the slow cooker and have been known to slow roast my own pork shoulders (I’m going to buy a smoker one of these days…). Usually it’s a game time decision as I scramble around Wegmans after work. So, I pick up the Dinosaur Barbque brand prepack stuff. It takes like it was made at the restaurant, even though it is produced in South Carolina. Wegmans’ prepared foods pork is also quite good, but it all depends on how it looks. Some days, the people behind the counter smother the stuff in sauce. Not good. The other option is Lloyd’s, which is never an option. It looks like Alpo and has the consistency of, well, Alpo.

The tomatoes and barbecue sauce are important choices here. This is one of those dishes where fresh tomates isn’t going to work. One, the point is for this dish to prep quickly (or relatively quickly). Second, the quality of tomatoes right now is horrible. It’s worse than just lousy winter veggies; the crop damage in Mexico has been serious this winter. Choose carefully with your sauce. You want tomato-based, so choose Memphis-style. Kansas City sauce is molasses-based; cut out the extra sugar if you go this way. As for North Carolina barbecue sauce…that shit is rancid.

Barbecue Spaghetti
Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup pulled pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 16 ounces spaghetti (I went with Trader Joe’s organic whole wheat. Why? Because I can. Actually, it’s because I have a few pounds left in the cabinet from my sister’s last shopping trip on my behalf.)
Why did it take this long for me to buy one of these things?

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, pour oil into a large sauce pan and heat at medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes or until tender.

Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add sugar, oregano, and basil. Stir well, and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a blender and add barbecue sauce, or add sauce to the pan and insert an immersion blender to the pan. Blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Add pork to the sauce and heat through, allowing the tomato/BBQ sauce to take hold.

Before blending, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook according to directions on box. When done, drain pasta in colander. Return pasta to empty pot and pour in barbecue sauce. Stir well and serve.


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