The 4th of July is fast approaching so get ready for BBQ’s, fireworks, and lots of relaxation. My family has the tradition of heading down to our little country home in the middle-of-nowhere Reedville, Va. Seriously, it’s a dead zone: there’s no TV, computer, or cell service. Why do we go down there? My mom throws a fun little party at her place with lots of food and drinks. It’s also a great excuse for all of our family friends to get together plus everyone brings their pups. My mom has 2 basenji’s named Zoe and Corbie and there are two other dog friends named Monet and Buddy. They are our entertainment for the evening before we set off some fireworks. The best part about this trip, for me, is the huge crab feast we always go to. My family and I have had this tradition since I can remember and even though there isn’t a whole lot to do other than have a few drinks, relax, and play the card game “13,” I absolutely love it.

This 4th of July I am going to be making one of my all time absolute favorite pasta salad recipes. Listen people, you may think you have a pretty good tasting pasta salad, but this one… knocks all others out of the park! I made this last August for the Air and Water Show that happens right outside our condo and Chris continually asks me to make it because it is mouth-watering deliciousness! I found this recipe off of the Food Network, like I do with many of my recipes. This recipe comes from the fun loving couple called the Neely’s. If you don’t know much about them, the only thing you need to know is that they rule everything barbeque. Almost all of their recipes include barbeque sauce in some way and they are always adding in some frisky spices like cayenne. They are an adorable couple that knows how to make some mean barbeque. This recipe definitely brings all the goodness of barbeque in to the convenience and tastiness of a pasta salad. Picture a mouth watering pulled pork sandwich with your all time favorite sauce plus pasta and some fix-ins. What I love about this recipe is that it is so easy to throw together and you can add whatever you want into it and it will all taste amazing!

When I first made this recipe it called for fresh pulled pork, which for me is not super easy to find. Luckily I went to Whole Foods and they had the good stuff, like they always do. Since I first started making this dish I found that the microwaveable pulled pork works just as well and it’s friendlier on your wallet. I like to add in lots of veggies like corn, black beans, yellow or orange peppers, even a little jalapeño to add a little more kick. If you’re interested in making this a vegetarian dish you could add in pinto and black beans and this would still be a hearty pasta salad. Seriously, this pasta salad is packed with flavor. I love the sweet tang the apple cider vinegar gives and you can add in your favorite bbq sauce. I always us Sweet Baby Rays, it’s just so delicious. I have made this pasta salad many times and I am always impressed as to how good it is and I don’t think I have ever made it the same way twice. It is such a versatile recipe, if you need it to be meatier, get extra pulled pork or if you need it to be more veggie friendly, pack in your favorite vegetables. If you’re not a fan of mayo you could always replace the mayo with greek or plain yogurt to help make the dressing a little creamy.
So if you’re going to make one thing this 4th of July it needs to be this pasta salad! It never fails to impress and everyone will want the recipe.The Neely’s BBQ Pasta Salad


Ingredients

•1 pound fusilli pasta
•2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
•1 teaspoon hot sauce
•1/2 teaspoon chili powder
•1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
•Pinch cayenne pepper
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1/2 cup Neely’s BBQ Sauce
•1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
•2 ribs celery , chopped fine
•2 whole scallions, sliced thin
•8 ounces pulled pork
•Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
* I added 1 can of black beans and corn

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil, in large pot, over high heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain in a colander and allow to cool, and then transfer to large bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.
  4. Add chopped vegetables and toss to coat.
  5. Pour BBQ dressing over pasta and mix well. Place the pork on top and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then garnish with parsley.

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