Marie Callender’s Kansas City Style Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl Review

Marie Callender's Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl

We love inventive takes on mac and cheese here at Freezer Meal Frenzy, so we try as many of them as we can. We’ve sampled everything from the simple Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese by Devour (one of our favorites) to the seasonal Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. In fact, we’ve even reviewed mac and cheese in the form of a pot pie!

So compared to some of the macaroni and cheese varieties we’ve tried, the Marie Callender’s Kansas City Style Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl is not all that innovative. Still, the idea of mixing BBQ pulled pork and macaroni has us pretty excited.

This takes a little bit longer to cook than we were expecting. You’ll toss it in the microwave for four minutes, give it a stir, and pop it back in for another minute and a half. Five and a half minutes isn’t terribly long, but we were hoping to have this one done in under five. (If you want to see the full cooking instructions, check out our package scans at the bottom of this review.)

When we first pulled this out to stir it, we noticed that the pork was clumped into what looked like meatballs. These are easy enough to stir into the mix, but it was a little bit of a surprise. Once it’s done cooking the second time, the whole thing comes out looking like a pockmarked alien wasteland. Now, some of our favorite macaroni dishes have this same quality (it comes from the long cook time, we think), and it sort of goes away once you give this a good stir. Still, this macaroni looks quite a bit less appealing in real life than it does in that lovely picture on the box.

Marie Callender's Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl

Now, when we noticed the strange clumpy quality of the pork, we suspected it was going to be a little disappointing, and we weren’t wrong. This pork is finer and less stringy than we were hoping for — it’s almost better described as a pork mash. It’s also kind of mushy and it has a generic flavor to it.

Thankfully, that flavor can be covered up easily enough with the barbecue sauce, which we think is pretty decent. It has a lovely smokey-sweet flavor, though it does taste a little bit too ketchup-y. If you’ve ever whipped up a batch of DIY BBQ sauce by mixing ketchup and brown sugar, you’re probably familiar with this taste.

The mac and cheese portion is your pretty standard stuff — elbow noodles in a yellow cheese sauce. However, the barbecue sauce really dominates the flavor profile here, so the quality of the cheese sauce hardly matters.

Now, we just talked about a lot of flaws, so we should clarify that this meal actually tastes pretty good. It’s pretty hard to make barbecue pork and mac and cheese taste bad, though you can certainly make mistakes when preparing such a dish. This is a meal that makes a lot of those mistakes, but the end result is still pretty tasty. In fact, we found ourselves scraping the bottom of the dish to get every last drop of that barbecue sauce and cheese sauce blend.

This is certainly no diet food, with 400 calories and 1080 mg of sodium. Calorie counters are going to want to proceed with caution, and those looking to decrease their sodium intake will want to stay far away from this.

The Marie Callender’s Kansas City Style Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl is a flawed meal that still ends up tasting pretty darn good. It’s not amazing, but it’s better than decent, and it’s really hard to argue with that smokey barbecue sauce, even if it does taste a little bit like ketchup.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen mac and cheese bowl, check out our package scans below.

Marie Callender's Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl
Marie Callender's Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl
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