Grilled Mac & Cheese with BBQ Pulled Pork

You saw this one coming. After my visit to the Grilled Cheese Truck I felt compelled to try my hand at recreating that Cheesy Mac & Rib sandwich on the panini grill. The task was made a whole lot easier once I found out the recipe was published in Food Network magazine this month as part of a feature about National Grilled Cheese Month. All I had to do was decide on which macaroni and cheese and pulled pork recipes I would use, the rest was mostly a matter of careful assembly.

Fun for foodie kids everywhere!

And speaking of careful assembly…how cute is this little make-your-own Grilled Cheese Truck?! Ever since I downloaded and pasted this thing together my three-year old has embraced “grilled cheese truck” as her new favorite pretend game. “Everybody wait in line! The Grilled Cheese Truck is almost here!” Fisher-Price, are you listening? Little People Food Truck. You’re welcome.

Not sure how I would have flipped this in a skillet

After piling on my “slice” of chilled mac and cheese, barbecue pulled pork, caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese I was staring at one tall sandwich! I have no idea how the Grilled Cheese Truck folks manage to flip theirs. Maybe they don’t fill it quite as high. I toyed with the idea with just making these in a skillet as directed in the recipe but once I realized how precarious flipping it would be, the panini grill seemed like the easier way to go.

Grilled Mac & Cheese with BBQ Pulled Pork

As I previously mentioned, this sandwich is a fantastic – albeit extremely caloric – concept. My version tasted remarkably like the original. The bread was a little less crispy, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use the mayonnaise or nearly as much butter as the Truck does (an entire stick for 4 sandwiches?!). I also opted to use sourdough instead of buttermilk bread as I needed something a little sturdier to stand up to the panini grill. Other than that, I kept it pretty much the same. If you can’t make it to LA to track down the Truck, this recipe will get you pretty close.


Grilled Mac & Cheese with BBQ Pulled Pork

Adapted from the Grilled Mac & Cheese with Pulled Pork recipe from The Grilled Cheese Truck on

Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 30 min

Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, warmed
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups prepared pulled pork
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)


  1. Spread the macaroni and cheese in an 8-inch-square baking dish to about 3/4 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 45 minutes. Cut the macaroni and cheese into squares that are slightly smaller than the bread slices.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the barbecue sauce and pulled pork in a saucepan over low heat and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and brush on one side of each bread slice. Flip over half of the bread slices; layer 1 slice of cheddar, 1 macaroni-and-cheese square and another slice of cheddar on each. Top each with one-quarter of the pulled pork and caramelized onions and another slice of cheddar. Top with the remaining bread slices, buttered-side up.
  6. Working in batches, cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, about 5 minutes.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. melodie wrote:

    Looks completeley crazy, decadent and delicious! I want to try it. I have never seen mac n’ cheese in a sandwich before.

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  2. marla wrote:

    Could this grilled cheese be any more decadent & fabulous!!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  3. This sandwich is outrageous – I think my preschooler might like a grilled mac and cheese sandwich. Fisher-Price take note – that is one cute grilled cheese truck!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  4. I always love your posts!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  5. Maria wrote:

    I knew I would see this one on your site:) Love it!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      It had to be done, lol.

      Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  6. Christina wrote:

    Crazy and delicious!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  7. Alexa wrote:

    So excited to find a blog dedicated to paninis. genius. and this looks incredible, thanks.

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  8. my inner fatkid is crying tears of joy over this sandwich

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Lol, it made my inner fat kid pretty happy too. 🙂

      Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  9. Claire wrote:

    I just saw this on the cover of Food Network magazine when I was at the grocery store this morning and was going to look up the recipe when I got home. But, this email was waiting for me instead. Perfect timing!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  10. AngieFisch wrote:

    To make the bread crispier without using mayo, how about a light dusting of parmesan cheese?

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  11. What a sandwich! I can’t think of anything more decadent…or more wonderful.

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  12. Now that is one tasty looking grilled cheese sandwich!

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  13. Shaina wrote:

    So much fun to put mac and cheese on a sandwich. I love the addition of pork here.

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  14. HOLY MOLY!! Deng that is a serious grilled cheese. I always miss this truck, or see if after I am already stuffed.

    Posted 4.6.11 Reply
  15. This sounds like the absolute best thing ever. I’m going to make it soon.

    Posted 4.7.11 Reply
  16. Megan wrote:

    That is one stellar panini and like really like the toy idea. I’d buy one! 🙂

    Posted 4.9.11 Reply
  17. Dan wrote:

    What a great combination… and a messy sandwich. yum!

    Posted 4.14.11 Reply
  18. W.J. wrote:

    This sandwich may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I. Want.

    Posted 5.3.11 Reply
  19. Shawnda wrote:

    Oh, wow! Now that’s a decadent grilled cheese!

    Posted 5.4.11 Reply
  20. I liked Panini Happy on Facebook

    Posted 4.17.12 Reply
  21. This is AMAZING..and kind of horrifying…but mostly amazing! Mac and cheese doesn’t last very long in our house, but I might hide some from the next batch so that I can make this.

    Saw that you’re attending BlogHer Food Conference this year…it’s my first time. Have you been before?

    Looking forward to a weekend with fellow foodies!

    Posted 5.3.12 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Yes, this will be my 3rd BlogHer Food – get ready for a fun, inspiring weekend! 🙂

      Posted 5.3.12 Reply
  22. Memoria wrote:

    You have no idea how happy I am to see this recipe!! I wanted to try out this truck, but when I found out that it uses Tillamook cheese, my heart dropped. Unfortunately, I’m one of the weird few who doesn’t like Tillamook (I suffered while living in Oregon haha). So, I could totally use a different type of cheese with this recipe. Thank you so much! It looks amazing.

    Posted 6.14.12 Reply
  23. Vanessa wrote:

    This looks amaaaazing! 🙂

    Posted 4.22.14 Reply
  24. staci wrote:

    is the mac and cheese able to get warm while toasting the grilled cheese?

    Posted 12.8.15 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      It does. I haven’t tried it with refrigerator-cold mac and cheese but I think as long as it the sandwich isn’t overly thick it should be able to heat through. ~Kathy

      Posted 12.10.15 Reply