Food & Drink

Two Ways to Use Your Leftover Game-Day Barbecue

Makes about 1 quart

Plus a smoked corn salsa verde recipe to top it.

Photo: Jonathan Boncek

Real, wood-smoked barbecue requires serious quantity in order to make any sense. When prescribed cooking times range from several hours to overnight, you aren’t going to play
around with a few chops—no. The twelve or thirteen active hours required to tenderize a whole hog with hot smoke pay off with enough delicious pork to feed the parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and their friends, or a bunch of hungry tailgaters, with meat left over.

But what do you do with those leftovers? Of course, you can toss them in a little warm sauce and fork them up plain, or shovel them onto a bun. Or you can repurpose those chilly strands of smoked pork into something new, to appease a crowd that has already taken down a few plates of straight-up pig. Memphis-style barbecue spaghetti, a regional oddity from the same town that gave us barbecue pizza, is a good bet. A simmer in the thick barbecue sauce favored in those parts has the same effect on pork that’s a few days off the smoker as it does on fresh meat: the smoky barbecue melts into a rich, tomato-based gravy that sticks to noodles like macaroni and cheese to your ribs on a cold day.

Another great next-day use for pulled pork is a plate of hot, cheese-smothered nachos. Nuke the pork briefly to heat it through, then scatter it on top of a layer of thick corn tortilla chips on an over-proof platter and top with plenty of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack. Broil until the cheese is gooey. And if you’re willing to put a little work into your leftovers, chef Aaron Siegel of Home Team BBQ in our hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, tops barbecue nachos with a corn salsa that’s worth firing up the smoker a second time. To copy his nachos exactly, pair the salsa with heaps of pico de gallo, guacamole, and a simple relish composed of carrots and pickled jalapeños blended with pineapple juice.

Siegel serves this salsa with pulled-pork nachos and smoked chicken chili.


    • 1 jalepeño pepper

    • 1 lb. poblano peppers

    • 2 cobs corn

    • 2 cloves garlic

    • 1/4 cup canola oil

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    • 1/2 lb. tomatillos, halved

    • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss peppers, corn, and garlic in oil, salt, and pepper. Smoke for 1 hour. Then de-stem and roughly chop peppers. Add to a food processor with all ingredients except for corn and pulse until roughly puréed but still chunky. Slice kernels off the cobs and fold into the mixture. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to five days.