Smoked Mac & Cheese
Last week I received my new shiny Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. I haven’t had a chance to really play with it due to it being so busy at work. I am a member of a BBQ Forum the BBQ Brethren (Link on side panel) and I had seen pics of people smoking their mac and cheese on their grills. Ever since then I knew I had to try this myself. I make a pretty mean mac and cheese, I am not even allowed to step into a family function without the mac and cheese in hand. I had never even thought to make it on the grill so this seemed like a great experiment for me. I did decide to switch up my usual recipe. My usual recipe is the dense mac and cheese that is served in squares like a casserole, rather than the creamy mac. I figured on the smoker the creamier version would work better. Since I also wanted to go with a BBQ theme I figured rather than doing a bread crumb topping I would go with a traditional BBQ side for the topping, cornbread! Here is how I made it –
- 1 lb box of noodles – I used Rotini
- 1 lb of smoked gouda, shredded
- 1 small package of velveeta (for texture)
- 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 stick butter + enough flour to make a roux
- Powdered mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
- 1 recipe of prepared cornbread
- Melted Butter
I will admit, I cheated a bit. I didn’t feel like making cornbread, so I bought a prepared package of it at the store. Today was all about cooking outside! I unwrapped the cornbread, poked a bunch of holes in it with a fork and added melted butter mixed with honey and drizzled it over and set aside.
I cooked the noodles until it was almost done, but not quite there yet. I strained the noodles and ran them under cold water until chilled. I then made a roux with the butter and flour and added the milk until thickened. Add all the spices to taste, I never measure this part – sorry! Add all cheeses until smooth and creamy. Toss in noodles and mix well. I mixed in half of the cornbread mixture to my mac and cheese, and reserved the rest to sprinkle on top.
To finish cooking the mac and cheese on the smoker, I used a cast iron skillet because I knew it would handle the smoker well and would retain enough heat in it to sort of “bake” the smoked mac and cheese. I buttered the bottom of the skillet, poured in the mac and cheese and then sprinkled the remaining cornbread on top.
The wood I used on my smoker was apple and hickory. I kept the mac and cheese on the top rack of the smoker for about 3 hours. The topping didn’t get crisp and crunchy, but toasted just enough to have a bit of a crust. I was skeptical that the mac and cheese would really pick up a smokey flavor, but it really did! It was definitely a whole different flavor profile than mac and cheese just made in an oven. If you have a smoker I highly recommend trying this!