I did it. I put a whole barbecue meal inside a pie. And it was cosmically awesome. First there’s a layer of pulled pork drenched in a Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, then comes a hearty dose of homemade stove top Mac & Cheese, and finally some nice collard greens. All together. Surrounded by flaky, crusty, buttery, wonderful pie dough. Every bite was monumental.
I liked choosing which of the four components to spear with my fork and eat together.
Getting a bite that included a bit of everything was the best, though. This is the pie cut in half.
Cheesy, leafy, gooey, sweet, tangy, meaty strata. Oh yes. It’s wicked. And you can make it yourself. Or if you just want to eyeball more photos, feel quite free to do so.
First I’ll walk you through the photo tour of assembling THE BEAST and then recipes for the components will follow. But first, one important note: You need all your components to be chilled before assembling. If you add warm filling, the little bits of butter in the pie dough will warm up and melt making a tough and blah pie shell. Make all the components the day or two days in advance and have them chilled in the fridge for when you’re ready to assemble.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Your pie dough should be in two pieces. Roll out your first round of pie dough. This will be the top piece. Cut to size an inch larger than the pan you’re going to be using. I used my Pyrex as a template. You want a nice big oven-safe dish to bake it all in. This one is 9” in diameter and 3” tall. Gather up the scraps that are around your rolled out top piece and add them to the rest of your dough you have for the second, bottom piece.
Roll out your bottom piece. You want the thickness of your pie dough to be between 1/8th and 1/4th of an inch. Drape the second, larger piece over your baking dish and press it down into the bottom and sides.
You want your pie dough to remain as cold as possible, this makes it nice and flaky. It’s more important to work quickly than accurately when dealing with pie dough. You can always pinch and patch places that get thin and torn.
First comes a layer of collard greens on the bottom.
Then comes a healthy dose of mac and cheese. It’s cold and clumpy now, but it will be oozy, gooey, melty-cheesy later.
Finally, top it with pulled pork mixed with barbecue sauce. Heap in on there first, then gently push it all down to make a slightly rounded top.
Place the top piece of rolled pie dough on top. Trim both pieces so there’s only about 3/4” overhang off the dish. Take the trimmed dough and ball it up and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You most likely will have leftover pie dough. This is a good thing. If you didn’t get any bbq sauce on the dough (I most certainly did), go ahead and use it for a dessert pie. If some of the filling is on the leftover dough, use it in a savory application, like the top crust of a pot pie, a quiche, or empanadas.
After trimming the dough, with your thumb and forefinger, pinch the two layers together to seal them.
Do that little move with your thumb and forefinger and other forefinger where you put a wavy crust along the edge of the pie. You want a nice thick crust edger, otherwise it will burn before the rest of the pie is finished baking. Here’s how-to photos of crimping the edger. Next, cut steam vents in the top. Just a couple of cuts with a butter knife will do. I put “ss” as a visual representation for steam. For fun. Make your steam vents your own. You can carve your initials or even slice out a semi-intricate design. That’s what the top crust of pie is for, planting your makers mark. Okay maybe not the main thing pie crust tops are for, but it’s on the list.
Here’s the finished unbaked pie, side view.
Next, I wanted to protect the crust edger from burning by making a shield for it out of a few 3” strips of aluminum foil. Every pie I’ve made before implementing this procedure had a too dark and too burned tasting crust edger. So I recommend taking time to do this step. You want to crimp the foil on the sides and handles (if any), but be careful not to press down and crush your nice wavy edger. I’ve heard you can also protect the crimped edger of your pies by cutting a ring that just covers it out of parchment paper and setting it on top instead of using aluminum foil. I haven’t tried that version, so I can’t attest to it.
The barbecue pie is now ready to go into that 450 degree F oven. The cook time will vary based on your pan depth and other factors. Mine took about 50 minutes. Remove the foil or parchment paper ring when it looks like you have about 10-15 minutes left of cooking time.
Golden brown means it’s done!
Finished, baked bbq pie, side view. Let it cool, just slightly, about 2-5 minutes. This time will go by quicker if you snap some photos of your prized beauty before slicing into it. These are the moments you’ll want to cherish. (And thus concludes the Kodak-commercial-influenced-sentence of this post).
This dish warrants a slow-motion shot of serving. So let’s pretend that photo is a gif, okay?
And put a big piece on your plate and dig in. Onto the recipes!
Most importantly, you’ll need some leftover pulled pork. Since pulled pork is a whole other thing with lots of instructions and advice, I’ll turn you over to an expert. Here’s all the information you didn’t know you needed about turning pork butt into smoky, tender, pulled pork. There’s lot’s of great sauces to try out on that site as well. If you don’t have leftover bbq sauce for the pie, try mine. It’s sweet and tangy with good heat. And it’s easy.
Slightly Apple-y Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup apple juice concentrate
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Simmer over medium-high heat until sauce reduces and thickens. This will take about 7 minutes. Turn down heat to medium-low.
To the sauce pan, add about 4 cups of pulled pork. Stir to combine. Once pork is coated with sauce, remove from heat. Cover and chill.
Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe can hold it’s own. Great by itself.
- 3/4 lb of elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
- 1 cup colby jack, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon of each of these: paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, onion powder
- salt, to taste
1. Make the sauce: In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine butter and flour. Whisk constantly. Cook for about a minute after the butter has melted, this will cook out the raw flour taste. Add milk and seasonings and whisk often. Turn heat to low once mixture begins to thicken. Continue to whisk regularly while making pasta.
2. Bring salted water to a boil and cook macaroni according to package directions. You want the pasta to be very al dente because it will soften more while baking in the pie.
3. Turn heat up to medium-low over milk mixture. Add cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, to milk mixture. Whisk to combine before adding next batch. Once cheese is fully integrated, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Stir cooked and drained pasta into cheese. Cover and chill.
- about 1 lb of collard greens, sliced in 1/4” intervals, including stems
- 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
- 1 small onion, medium dice
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
Sweat onion in a large pot over medium-low heat. Once softened, add greens. Cook until they’re wilted down some, stirring often. Add vinegar and water. Put on a lid and turn heat down to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until greens and stems are softened to your liking. This could take 15-40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and chill.
- 4 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled (3 sticks)
- about 1 cup of very cold water
Sift salt into flour. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or food processor. Add water, a tablespoon or two at a time, until dough just holds together. Cut dough into two pieces. Wrap each piece individually and securely with plastic wrap. Put dough in fridge. Chill for at least one hour, up to a few days.
And there you have it! Hope your Barbecue Pie Beast turns out wickedly awesome. Drop me a line and let me know how it went if you make one of these bad boys.