I love to really turn things upside down in the kitchen, especially when it comes to making popular dishes that we’re all used to, and giving them a fun and interesting new makeover. Just like with these savory Falafel Waffles. Homemade falafel made into healthy waffles and then topped with a crazy delicious Mediterranean slaw. It’s just like what magic would taste like, if magic had a taste. I like to keep you guys guessing and just when you think you know what’s going on, I throw a curveball your way and take things in a different direction. As a big fan of cinnamon rolls, I decided that what the world needed more of was savory cinnamon rolls. There are plenty of sweet variations out there that people do so well, and so rather than give you another sweet creation, the next best thing are these Savory BBQ Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls. So let’s think outside the box and welcome them with open arms. Give them a big hug, and eat as many as you can.
The dough is not sweet at all, and while yes, I’m calling them cinnamon rolls, there really isn’t any sugar or cinnamon in the filling, although you really could if you wanted to as the sweetness from a bit of brown sugar would be great with the BBQ sauce and pork. So if you’re a fan of BBQ sauce, pulled pork and cheese, then you’ll definitely be best friends with these rolls. They’re the perfect recipe to try out over the weekend. Get started in the morning and while the dough rises and the rolls double in size, you could go around the house and get your chores done or cross things off from your to-do list. By the time the rolls are ready, you’ll be done with everything and you’ll have the greatest reward waiting for you. If you want to make these after Easter and have lots of leftover ham lying around, then by all means, dice up the ham and use it as a filling instead of the pulled pork. That would be a great use for that excess Easter ham.
Let’s start by waking up that dry yeast. It’s important to activate dry yeast before using it for dough so that it rises properly and gives it the right taste and texture. In a small bowl, combine the warm milk and a tiny bit of sugar.
**Note: The milk needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot that it’ll kill the yeast. Keep it somewhere between 110 to 115 degrees F.**
Once foamy and froth, throw the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer with the flour, salt, sugar, eggs, and butter. Stir with the dough hook until the dough comes together. It’ll look scraggly and shaggy, but that’s okay.
Knead on high for about 8 to 10 minutes until somewhat smooth and soft. It won’t be completely smooth, so don’t worry too much about getting it right. It’ll smoothen up while it rests.
Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl, turning it over to coat both sides, and then cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
**Tip: The best place to let dough rise and rest, is above the fridge or in a prewarmed oven. Turn on the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn it off. Once it’s warm, bingo, that’s the best place to proof dough.**
Punch the dough down and then transfer to a well floured work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick, and then spread with BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with shredded pepper jack cheese, pulled pork and red onion.
**Tip: Use some help from the store by grabbing a bottle of store-bought BBQ sauce. Same thing goes for the pulled pork. If you have some leftover, you can use that. But if you don’t, grab some from the store as well. Hormel makes some great taco fillings that you can find in the sandwich meat section of the store. This isn’t an ad, I just like it.**
Roll into a tight log, lengthwise, just like you would regular cinnamon rolls. Cut into twelve even pieces and then transfer to a well-greased 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Make sure to space them out evenly as they’ll double in size.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot and allow to double in size, about 1 hour. This time around, place it above the fridge as the oven should be preheating at this point. Once doubled, bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Then spread the baked cinnamon rolls with some more of that store-bought BBQ sauce. Don’t load it up too much on top because it’ll make the rolls too soggy. For that final flavor push and garnish, sprinkle the top with scallions.
Serve these rolls warm for the best savory cinnamon roll experience. The cheese will be melty and the dough itself will be soft. If you make these ahead of time, rewarm them in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to make them soft again.
**Tip: You can most definitely make these rolls ahead of time, and keep them in the fridge (without the BBQ sauce or scallions) until ready to serve. Then just rewarm in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Then spread with BBQ sauce and garnish with scallions.**
If you’re not a fan of pork, you should give it a try with shredded BBQ chicken instead. You’ll still get great taste and texture with the chicken.
If you have any little bit of doubt, don’t worry at all. Let me reassure you. These aren’t sweet at all, and even though they’re called “cinnamon rolls” there isn’t any sugar or cinnamon in them. Although, if you wanted to make them slightly sweet, you could totally sprinkle a bit of brown sugar before rolling the dough and then cutting.
These cinnamon rolls make for a great afternoon snack or weekend lunch. Make them in the morning and serve them with a few cold beers. They’re perfect for afternoon parties or potlucks if you really want to shine and seem like you’re the coolest person in the world. Get to baking this weekend. They’re calling out your name.
- 1 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 2¼ teaspoons (1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1¾ teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1 (18-ounce) jar store-bought BBQ sauce
- 1½ cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1½ cups pulled pork (leftover or store bought like Hormel taco fillings)
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast and about a teaspoon of the sugar. Set aside in a warm spot and let sit until foamy and frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, milk mixture, sugar, salt, eggs and butter and mix on medium until it comes together. Knead on high for about 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and somewhat soft. Transfer the bowl to a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
- Punch dough down and then transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Spread the dough with about ½ cup of bbq sauce. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, pork, and red onion. Roll into a tight long, length wise, and then cut into 12 even pieces. Place on a well greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the rolls until puffed and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Top with BBQ sauce and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately or let cool completely and then store in the fridge for up to 3 days.