Smoked Mac & Cheese

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
  • Honey
  • 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!