Feed a crowd with ease thanks to this decadent pulled pork mac n cheese. Use the extra pulled pork for tacos the next day or even as a mix-in with eggs the next morning.
- 1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder, fat trimmed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 6-8 cups root beer
Mac n Cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- 1 tablespoon grained Dijon mustard
- 3 scallions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 6 ounces (standard 6 slices) American cheese
- 6 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese
- 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked al dente in salted boiling water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8-10 slices pickled jalapeño
- 1½ cups crushed french-fried onions
1. Make the pulled pork. In a slow cooker add the pork shoulder then around the sides place the tomatoes, onion wedges, garlic and peppercorns. Sprinkle over the entire contents of the slow cooker the salt, chile powder, cumin and Italian seasoning. Gently pour the root beer around the edge of the pork leaving the seasoned top un-splashed and ¼ of the pork uncovered by the root beer. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or until pork is fork tender and easy to shred. Shred all the pork and place it back in the juices of the pot. Turn the cooker to warm while working on the rest.
2. Make the mac n cheese. In a large pot on low heat add the butter and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until both are combined and the flour soaks up the butter. Add a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the mustard and constantly stir on low for 5 minutes. Add the scallions, heavy cream and vegetable stock. Raise the heat to bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The liquid should thicken slightly in a few minutes, then remove from the heat and add the American cheese and both cheddar cheeses. Stir to melt the cheese. Take one last taste of the cheese sauce and add salt if needed. In a small bowl whisk the eggs and slowly add 1 cup of the cheese sauce to the eggs while whisking to warm them. Once the eggs are warm, add the egg mixture back into the cheese sauce along with the cooked elbows and stir.
3. Assemble the casserole and bake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides of a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish. In the bottom of the dish, evenly layer 3-4 cups pulled pork (yes, there will be plenty left from your slow cooker, enjoy the leftovers for days or freeze it right and enjoy much later). Arrange the jalapeño slices evenly apart in rows. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture over the top. Top the casserole evenly with french-fried onions. Bake until the top is golden and the edges are bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes.