My hometown of Memphis is known far and wide for barbecue. And we’ve found ways to barbecue-ize everything. Pizza, nachos, pimento cheese (yes, I did that). So when I was pulling together an outdoor picnic, adding a dose of barbecue to the spread seemed only natural, so I added a little Memphis kick to a lovely cold pasta salad. The results were a big hit, so I think it will become a staple in my summer side menu. It’s great with burgers and dogs, but also compliments a cold sandwich spread.
As is the case with dishes like this one, it is imminently customizable. I love using my house barbecue sauce, so I control the spice and sweetness, plus I end up with some extra sauce for burgers or grilling. But if you use a bottled sauce, I won’t tell. Use a mix of colored bell peppers, substitute green onions for the red. Add some cooked crispy bacon, or small cubes of cheddar cheese. Stirring some vinegar into the cooled pasta helps to add a salty flavor – it’s difficult to get the level right in a cold dish, so salt it after it has chilled.
- 1 ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup sorghum
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 16 ounces small pasta
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk to blend well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Leave the sauce to cool. This makes more sauce than needed for the salad, the extra will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Rinse the pot with water to cool it down, then return the pasta to the pot. Add the vinegar and stir to coat the pasta. Toss the noodles with the onion, green pepper and parsley.
- Stir the barbecue sauce and mayonnaise together in a small bowl until completely combined, then pour over the pasta. Stir to completely coat the pasta. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. The Salad can be kept covered in the fridge for up to two days.
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