This week, I asked one of my oldest (not in age, but in friendship duration) and very dearest friends if he’d be willing to share one of his recipes.  I know I’m partial, but I can’t believe that not only can my pal speak German fluently, recite Shakespeare, and mix up the perfect purple drank, he can cook!   I mean, ladies, how is this man single?  Anyway, this isn’t some froofy girly girl recipe … so if you wanna impress your main man with something delicious that he will appreciate, keep reading. (Oh… and please behold this amazing school dance photo of me my male bff.  Sorry, dude, had to):

After a pilgrimage to Neely’s Interstate BBQ in Memphis and sampling their phenomenal BBQ spaghetti, I was determined to recreate it for myself.  It’s not nearly as difficult as one would think, but it does take a bit of time.  For the record, if my writing seems disjointed or broken, I’m watching Nigella Lawson and am enthralled by her accent and, um, other attributes.

What you need: 

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1lb pork, beef, chicken, turkey, dog, cat – cooked and chopped to bits
  • 1lb spaghetti

First things first, the BBQ sauce:

  • 2 cups of ketchup (about 1 20oz bottle)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard (don’t skimp – get Colman’s)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
What you do:
  1. Combine everything in a pot, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer for about an hour or an hour and a half.  Length of time depends on how thick you want it.  There’s also a lot of wiggle room in the sweetness/bite of the sauce.  The recipe I listed is Neely’s original and it’s got decent balance.  However, I like a little more vinegar flavor so I added a bit more and cut back on the sugar.  If you want it sweeter, add more sugar/brown sugar.  The sauce as is has decent tang, but if you want some heat, throw in some cayenne pepper or some hot sauce to bring the spice up a bit.
  2. Once you’ve got the sauce square, heat up the oil and throw in the peppers, onion and garlic salt and cook everything until it’s nice and soft.  Once done, throw in the BBQ and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, put in your chopped meat and reduce to a simmer.  Bring your pasta water to a boil, salt it appropriately and then cook your pasta til al dente.  Mix the sauce/meat and the pasta and voila, BBQ spaghetti.
  3. For the meat, you have a lot of options – you can buy pulled pork (sans any kind of sauce) or brisket, brown some ground beef/turkey/chicken – whatever.  Just make sure you chop it up small enough so it blends well.  When I made this, I bought smoked pork loin from one of the BBQ joints down here and chopped it up and it turned out really well.  I doubled the recipe and it fed a dinner party of 10 perfectly, and I’ll take the lack of leftovers as a testament to how good it was.

OK – back to Nigella.