Dinner Tonight: Barbecue Spaghetti Recipe

Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger

I realize barbecue spaghetti sounds wrong. The authentic pasta lover in me scoffs at the heavy-handed sauce, while my barbecue side can't deal with the meat playing second fiddle to noodles. But while it may be "mutant barbecue," as it is called in the caption in this recipe from Mike Mills's Peace, Love, & Barbecue, that doesn't mean it isn't good. Indeed, as I found on a recent visit to Interstate Barbecue in Memphis, sometimes it can be the best thing on the menu. It's also happens to be one of the best ways to use up leftover pulled pork that I've ever found.

First off, it's not as simple as just mixing barbecue sauce with spaghetti. That would be a disaster. No—this one starts with a base of tomatoes and loads of onions. After that cooks down, it's blended until smooth and then mixed with a barbecue sauce. Though it claims that you can use your favorite barbecue sauce, I'd avoid the vinegary North Carolina-style, as it doesn't work quite as well as the tomato-based kinds.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 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 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 16 ounces spaghetti

  • 1 cup pulled pork


  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, pour oil into heavy-bottomed 12-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onions and garlic. Cook until onion turns translucent, stirring often with wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for five minutes. Add sugar, oregano, and basil. Stir well, and cook for another five minutes. Transfer sauce to a blender, and add barbecue sauce. Blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.

  3. 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 add pork. Serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
652 Calories
31g Fat
83g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 652
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 1663mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 83g 30%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 56g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 18mg 88%
Calcium 108mg 8%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 901mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)