Mac and Cheese is no doubt an irresistible and easy-to-cook recipe that is loved by people of all ages. But if you want to add a unique taste and flavor to the dish, it is worth spinning around and trying the delicious version of smoked mac and cheese recipes.
First, boil the macaroni pasta in a pot of seasoned water, drain it and then mix it up with cheese sauce, choice of toppings, seasoning, and spices. Next, transfer the cooked mac and cheese into a baking dish and smoke it for around 20-30 minutes in a preheated smoker. Smoked Mac and Cheese is best prepared using light woods such as maple wood, pecan wood, and applewood.
Smoked mac and cheese is an irresistible carbohydrate and protein-enriched delight that can be used both as the main or side dish. The dish is versatile, and its smoked variant enhances the dish’s classic taste to another level. Here’s everything you need to learn about how to make the best-smoked mac and cheese ever.
How To Smoke Mac and Cheese On A Pellet Smoker
The Basics Of Cooking Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a dish of cooked macaroni pasta blended with cheese sauce, most commonly cheddar. It may also be blended with meat or seasoning of choice. But, to add a smoky taste to the dish, the cooked mac and cheese is transferred to a baking dish or an aluminum pan and grilled in a smoker.
For the size, ease of operation, and convenience in controlling the temperature, modern pellet smokers for home use work the best for cooking mac and cheese.
Choosing Wood For Smoked Macaroni And Cheese
When smoking macaroni and cheese, you should prefer using light woods such as maple wood, pecan wood, and cherry wood. These woods introduce a hint of fruity and flavorful smokiness to the dish without being overpowering. Woods like Hickory and Mesquite are not recommended for baking mac and cheese. You can use signature mixes from various brands if you want the mix of both sweetness and spiciness in your pasta.
Ideal Temperature For Smoking Mac And Cheese
A temperature between 210 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit will perfectly bake/ smoke your mac and cheese. For preheating a wood pellet smoker, load the wood tray with one handful of pellet wood mix and preheat at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
While baking, anything above 225 degrees Fahrenheit will overcook the noodles & the cheese, and the dish will turn out dry. Always use the medium flame while using the skillet and the grill or while making the cheese sauce.
4 Best Smoked Mac And Cheese Recipe
1. Classic Smoked Mac And Cheese
One pound elbow macaroni noodles, ½ cup butter, 4 tablespoons flour, 4 oz. cream cheese and 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese, 1.5 cups of grated gouda cheese, and 1 tablespoon of mustard powder.
- Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted water, until the noodles are soft enough to chew. Drain the excess water.
- Preheat the smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit using cherry wood or applewood pellets or blocks.
- Melt the butter on a cast iron skillet and whisk in flour and mustard powder until you get a smooth paste. Reduce the mix with cream cheese, gouda cheese, and cheddar cheese. Make sure no lumps are formed.
- Turn off the heat and introduce the boiled macaroni noodles. Stir gently until all the noodles are coated evenly.
- Place the skillet in the smoker and close the lid.
- Cook for about an hour and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
2. Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese With Bacon
½ pound of chopped bacon, ½ cup butter, ½ finely chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of flour, 3 cups of whole milk, 2-3 cups of grated cheddar cheese, 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 2 cups of macaroni noodles, black pepper, 2 tablespoons of grated jalapeno and sliced paprika, and salt for seasoning.
- Pour 1-2 teaspoons of bacon fat and saute the bacon on a seasoned grill on a medium-low flame. Do not overcook.
- Boil the macaroni in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and keep it aside.
- Melt the butter on a cast iron grill and whisk the flour, grated cheddar cheese, whole milk, and parmesan cheese to make a smooth paste. Add the macaroni and mix it well with the cheese sauce.
- Pour half of the mac and cheese into a baking dish and add toppings of jalapeno, sliced paprika, and bits of bacon. Smother the remaining mac and cheese and again layer it up with sliced paprika, bacon, a hint of ground black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese.
- Keeping the lid closed, smoke the dish for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Cool off for about 10 minutes before serving. The dish can also be prepared with smoked chicken and pork.
3. Applewood Sausage Mac and Cheese
2 cups of macaroni, 1 cup of chopped sausages, 14 ounces of smoked applewood and cheddar smoke mix, 1 medium-sized chopped onion, 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 3 cups milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup of shredded provolone cheese, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs.
- Boil the macaroni in a seasoned hot pot of boiling water until it is semi-cooked. Drain the water and set it aside.
- Stir fry the sausages and the onion in a large saucepan for about 5-minutes or until the onions turn golden brown. Remove from the pot and set aside. Drain the excess oil.
- In the same saucepan, add butter, flour, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and provolone cheese. Cook for around 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Stir constantly to avoid making lumps.
- Turn off the flame and evenly mix the macaroni and the tossed sausages into the cheese sauce.
- Preheat the smoker to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Use only smoked applewood for this recipe.
- Pour the cooked mac and cheese onto a baking dish and garnish with some panko-butter mix on top of the pasta.
- Place the pasta in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
4. Four Cheese Mac and Cheese
Elbow macaroni pasta, 4 types of shredded cheese (gouda, parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella), cream cheese, optional choice of toppings (pulled pork, brisket, bacon, shredded smoked chicken, pulled chicken, etc.), 3 cups of milk, ¼th cup all-purpose flour, ¼th cup butter, salt, and black pepper.
- Preheat, the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt the butter in the saucepan and sprinkle some flour, salt, and black pepper. Add milk and the 4 types of shredded cheese. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the choice of toppings at this stage.
- Pour the macaroni pasta into the sauce and mix well.
- Transfer the macaroni into a baking dish or in an aluminum pan and sprinkle with gouda cheese and cheddar cheese.
- Bake for about an hour or until the top turns golden brown, and you can see the bubbling of the cheese.
- Remove the baked mac and cheese from the smoker and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.
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The universally loved dish can be baked with different types of smoked meat and toppings to create a new variety every time. Whether you want a super cheesy one or a strong smoky flavored mac and cheese, for the best results, you must smoke low and slow and be patient to unearth the unexpected flavors in each bite.