Yes. You read that title correctly.
No, this is not some sort of belated April fool’s joke I’m playing on you.
These are the real deal. The goodness of pulled pork and sweet, tangy bbq sauce meets a warm, yeasty cinnamon roll.
It might sound a little wrong, but I can assure you that these BBQ Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls are everything that’s right with the world.
This month’s Recipe Swap kind of threw me for a loop. I mean, just look at it:
First of all, ground ham sounds like an affront on all of mankind. I don’t know why that makes me cringe, but it does. And tomato sauce? With ground ham? All rolled together in some sort of twisted dough roll thing?
I love participating in the Recipe Swap, because each recipe always forces me to think outside the box. For this month, I went pretty damn far outside of said box, mostly because I wanted to get as far away from the concept of ground ham as humanly possible.
My first thought was some sort of pizza roll, because who doesn’t love pizza, right? I mean, as long as there’s no ground ham lurking around, then pizza is the best ever. Then I realized we made pizza for last month’s swap. So that was out.
I was also thinking along the lines of some sort of wacky thing to make that would be appropriate for April Fool’s Day, since this post was originally supposed to go up last night. But we started watching Mad Men. For the first time! Ever! And we totally got sucked in. You guys understand, right?
Anyhow. I came up with these BBQ Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls, and they have basically changed our lives forever. I made BBQ sauce that’s plenty sweet and tangy, and it compliments the smoky suppleness of the pulled pork perfectly. The dough itself is sweet and soft, kissed with enough cinnamon sugar to lend complexity to each bite.
Yes. These bad boys are basically life-changingly delicious. Ryan was highly skeptical of them, but he was hooked after one bite. I gave a pan to one of my lovely friends, who also spoke of the cinnamon rolls’ life-changing powers. They’re magical. They are everything that is delicious about BBQ, wrapped up in a (slightly) neat, yeasty roll.
I know that word freaks a lot of people out: yeast. But fear not! Working with yeast isn’t scary or impossible. If you’ve never made any sort of yeasted bread before, I definitely recommend cutting your teeth with this recipe. There’s not a thousand steps in the process, and the results are beyond swoon-worthy.
Did I mention your house will smell like freshly baked bread? Who doesn’t want to live in a bread factory, right?
So. I now have a full-on obsession with these BBQ Pulled Pork Cinnamon Buns, as well as the concept of cinnamon rolls as a delivery system for savory foodstuffs. Thanks, Recipe Swap!
Check out the rest of the group and their take on this month’s challenge below!
BBQ Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 16 bbq pulled pork cinnamon buns
For the Dough
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 100 degrees, no warmer)
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
For the BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chile powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (mix 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)
1 stick melted butter
1 pound pulled pork (make your own, or pick some up from your favorite bbq place!)
For the BBQ Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring often.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, and turn down to medium-low.
Allow the sauce to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Transfer the sauce to a blender or a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the sauce into a clean, sterilized jar and allow to come to room temperature before placing the lid on.
The BBQ sauce will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
For the Dough
Place the butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the butter is melted and the milk is steaming, stirring often. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to around 100 degrees.
Place the yeast in a small bowl and add the warm water. Stir gently with your finger to combine, and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook fitted on, combine the sugar, egg, egg yolks, kosher salt, flour, warm water/yeast mixture and warm milk/butter mixture.
Turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 minutes to combine the ingredients.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl (I find a plastic bowl scraper works well for this), and turn the mixer to medium speed (speed 6), and allow the dough to mix for 6-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
When the dough is smooth, scrape it into a well-oiled bowl and cover the bowl loosely with a piece of plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot in the kitchen and allow to double in size, about 1-1/1/2 hours.
When the dough has doubled in size, lightly press it down and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 18" x 14" in size, with the long side facing you.
Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the dough liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
Arrange the pulled pork in a single layer spread over the dough, leaving about an inch border on the short sides of the dough.
Spread about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on top of the pulled pork. I find that a squeeze bottle does the job well!
Fold the short sides of the dough over top of the pulled pork. Beginning with the long side closest to you, roll the dough into a log shape. When you get to the end, pinch the end piece of dough into the log to seal it.
Butter a 9" x 13" rectangular pan, as well as an 8" x 8" pan. Set aside.
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the log of dough into 1" thick pieces, and carefully transfer them cut side up to the prepared pan, leaving about 1/2" of room between each bun.
When all the buns are in the pans, cover the top of the pans with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free area to rise for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center.
When the buns are puffed and about double in size, remove the plastic wrap and gently brush the top surface of each with melted butter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature is 185 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and serve warm, with BBQ sauce and plenty of napkins!
dough recipe adapted from food pusher