bbq pulled pork cinnamon rolls.

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

For Assembly

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

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27 Responses to “bbq pulled pork cinnamon rolls.”

  1. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — April 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    wow, this is blowing my mind. looks and sounds amazing!!

  2. #
    Megan @ Country Cleaver — April 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

    o.O There are no words to describe everything I’m thinking right now… The sweet/salty/tangy, my taste buds are tantelized and my gleeking like I just ate a whole bag of sea salt and vinegar chips. Too much info? Sorry. These just have me floored.

  3. #
    Michelle — April 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

    WHOA! WHOA! Outside the box for sure, but I’m intregued they look yummy :)

  4. #
    Heather — April 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Holy wowzers!

  5. #
    naomi — April 2, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Wow-so unique. I love it!

  6. #
    Cookin' Canuck — April 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

    These are flippin’ brilliant! I REALLY want to make these for my family. I know they’d be gobbled up in a flash.

  7. #
    Carolyn — April 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Wow, I think these sound fan-freakin’-tastic!

  8. #
    Katie — April 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Woooow! Now these sound delicious to me! Pulled pork is such a unique compliment to something like a cinnamon roll…what a great idea! Now I want one…

  9. #
    Mary — April 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    These sound fantastic, once you get past the initial surprise, that is. I love the sweet salty combination and with the tangy BBQ sauce, I am all over this combination! What a unique idea. I am impressed!

  10. #
    Ann — April 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    That is absolutely BRILLIANT!! Pork and bbq sauce are such good friends with cinnamon! Love, love, LOVE it!

  11. #
    Danguole — April 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Oh my gosh. This sounds incredible!

  12. #
    Kathryn — April 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    These sound so weird but in a very good way.

  13. #
    Melissa Klotz — April 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Wow… I was looking for a new cinnamon roll recipe to try out for Easter Brunch… And found THESE! How creative!!!

  14. #
    Katie — April 3, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I know once we have our yeast 101 class I’ll be able to successfully be able to make these! ha! Great way to challenge yourself!

  15. #
    Claire — April 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Wow, this is exactly the kind of recipe I can’t help drooling over! I love salty-sweet combinations. Next time I make pulled pork, I am definitely dedicating some to trying these out! Would be a great brunch contribution (so long as the vegetarians know it’s off limits).

  16. #
    kita — April 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Seriously, I may be in love with those right now. These bbq cinnamon rolls sound killer.

  17. #
    Sues — April 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I am with you 100%!!!! I love salty/sweet and pulled pork barbeque in ALL KINDS of things!!!! Thanks for the validation that I’m not alone! :-P

  18. #
    Julius Droolius — April 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Love this recipe and photos!! I would love a dozen of these right now! :)

  19. #
    Laura Rees — April 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Kudos – that is one of the most inventively delicious things I’ve seen in a while!

  20. #
    christina @ Oven Adventures — April 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    i was looking at them thinking “ok a little weird” but then the wheels started turning and I think i need to make these. how awesome for brunch. pinning now.

  21. #
    Kim Bee — April 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Holy heck, you blew me away. This is amazing.

  22. #
    Kristen — April 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I just had to click on these as soon as I saw them and wow, you are the girl with the cute mustard tights at the Food Blog Forum! Those rolls are what food fantasies are made of. Seriously, you are a rock star!

  23. #
    Food Pusher Kelly — April 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Hey! Nice to see someone else is bringing pulled pork and cinnamon rolls together! Great pics! Too bad I can’t eat cinnamon rolls anymore. Pulled pork or otherwise.

  24. #
    Cathy @ Savory Notes — April 4, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Deeelicious! I made pepperoni stuffed pizza buns on my site a few months ago. You know what that means? Bun party!

  25. #
    Kaitlin — April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Jeeze! You weren’t kidding – these sound incredible! What a wonderful idea. So creative!!

    I can just imagine the smell…. yummmmm…

  26. #
    Sunny — May 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I think you should give a little more credit to foodpusher since you totally “came up with this idea” all on your own. You “adapted” more then just the dough recipe. And she came out with these more then 2 years ago.

    Give credit where it deserves.

  27. #
    Julia — June 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Woah, this is insane. You are crazy creative!!!!

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