Barbecue fans from Memphis take their craft seriously. Slow-cooked, hickory-smoked pulled pork is considered a particular point of pride. As such, pit masters don’t limit barbecued pork to its typical fate between a saucy bun. In fact, the savory, tender meat works wonders in spaghetti.
BBQ spaghetti can be a bit of a misleading name. To be clear, the spaghetti itself is not barbecued, but the hunks of pulled pork that complete the dish are. The combination is united by a base of cooked-down tomatoes and onions—flavors that compliment both Southern and Italian pork preparations—mixed with thick, smoky Memphis-style BBQ sauce.
If you consider the pasta Italian, the BBQ sauce Southern, and the slow-cooked pork, tomatoes, and onions as cornerstones of both cuisines, the result is an even combination of influences. But ultimately, what dish is as American as a heaping plate of comforting, culturally-disparate Frankenfood?
Need to Know
BBQ spaghetti is served at barbecue restaurants around Memphis and selectively in surrounding Southern states.
Where to Try It
The Bar-B-Q Shop1782 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 38104, United States
After buying out this restaurant from BBQ spaghetti's inventor, the new owners moved locations and changed the name, but still make the original recipe in-house.
Jim Neely's Interstate B-B-Q2265 S 3rd St, Memphis, Tennessee, 38109, United States
This Memphis restaurant helped put BBQ spaghetti on the map with its house pulled pork and special sauce.