The Chef-Approved Dessert To Pair With Pulled Pork This Summer

At first sight, the pairing of pork and bananas may appear unconventional. To some, however, it's a match made in BBQ heaven. Chef Rich Parente, owner of Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, New York, told Mashed, "With pulled pork, I'd go with banana pudding." Parente spoke with Mashed about these two foods that, collectively and individually, remind him of North Carolina, where locals and tourists feast on plenty of each. "This is a nostalgic combination for me, and eating pulled pork and banana pudding just makes me happy." The tasty fusion is a testament to the striking compatibility that can be found in sweet and savory fare.

Among beloved dishes such as sweet potato pie, fried green tomatoes, and sonker, pulled pork and banana pudding are icons of Tar Heel State cuisine and have deep roots in Southern culinary traditions. A slow-cooked, generously seasoned pulled pork recipe offers a satisfyingly tender palate, while banana pudding brings a unique feeling of comfort. The classic dessert is made with layers of vanilla wafers or ladyfingers, vanilla custard, and thick banana slices, all topped with whipped cream or fluffy meringue.

Banana pudding and pulled pork are Southern staples

The textural contrast between pulled pork and banana pudding is one to behold, as it adds to the allure of the legendary collaboration. The melt-in-your-mouth succulence of pulled pork — which should, of course, be smothered in the best barbecue sauces — meshes beautifully with the creaminess of banana pudding — which can be made in the form of brownies for a fun, social media-worthy mashup. Plus, the occasional chewy morsel of banana and slight crunch of vanilla wafer nestled in the pudding further enhance the juxtaposed mouthfeel. Flavor-wise, the duo is equally charming. The smoky, piquant notes of the pork are balanced by the aromatic sweetness of the pudding.

For many folks, including Rich Parente and countless residents of the American South, the combo of juicy pulled pork and soul-soothing banana pudding instantly evokes memories of lively family gatherings, weddings, potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. This emotional connection to the food we eat reinforces the enjoyment of the memorable, heartwarming meal. As Parente eloquently put it, "They're simply delicious together."