If you have a BBQ smoker that you have used for a while, then you must know that wet, soft, or porous items can take smoke pretty quickly.
This is something interesting if you want to prepare a smoked mac and cheese as a side dish for your smoked pork shoulder or brisket.
You can grill your meat, and then allow it to rest for one hour, and then put your mac and cheese into the smoker—without needing to preheat the grill.
Smoked mac and cheese is one of the most amazing side dishes that go along well with any barbeque.
The recipe is easy to prepare, and since it is smoked over wood, it’s full of flavor that will definitely impress and satisfy you.
Whenever you try out this recipe, you will love it, and you will always look forward to the time you will get to prepare it again.
It doesn’t matter the mac you use—be it four-cheese mac, baked mac, and cheese, cauliflower mac and cheese, or boxed cheesy mac—you will always love your mac and cheese dishes, so long as you get them right.
Your recipe will always become more interesting when you throw it in a smoker until it turns golden brown.
This great video shows you exactly how, and read on for some amazing recipe ideas:
What you need to note about smoked mac and cheese
Smoked mac and cheese is a simple recipe to prepare—so long as you own a BBQ smoker.
You can always prepare it as a side dish for your BBQ or a main dish. One of the most interesting ways of preparing smoked mac and cheese is when you are smoking meat.
You just need to throw it in your smoker as soon as you are done with smoking the meat. In this post, we shall highlight 2 smoked mac and cheese recipes that you should try out at home.
Here are a few tips that you should follow if you want to get the best-smoked mac and cheese
- Use cast iron – skillets are some of the best cookware to use when preparing smoked mac and cheese dishes since you can easily move them from a stovetop to the smoker with less hassle. In addition, the cookware will give you enough space needed for your mac and cheese to smoke.
- Ensure that your BBQ smoker is in low temperature – temperatures over 225 degrees F will overcook your dish, and make your mac and cheese dry.
- Use mild wood to smoke – you can opt to use pecan, maple, apple, or cherry wood.
- Be creative – always feel free to be a little creative when preparing smoked mac and cheese recipes. You can choose to add some extra flavors like bacon, pulled pork, lobster, green chilies, and other interesting flavors.
Here are two BBQ smoker mac and cheese recipes that you should consider trying out at home.
Recipe 1 – with bacon
This rich and super creamy macaroni is prepared in cheese béchamel sauce and topped with bacon. Make sure that you use a BBQ smoker or grill to give the dish that extra smoky flavor.
It can be a perfect side dish for BBQ meat or even opt to serve the dish as a main course.
- Chopped bacon – ½ pound
- Butter – ½ cup
- Finely chopped onion – ½
- Chopped garlic – 1 clove
- All-purpose flour – 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Whole milk – 3 cups
- Black pepper and salt
- Grated aged cheddar cheese – 2 to 3 cups
- Macaroni – 1 to 2 pounds
- Grated jalapeño (pepper) Jack cheese – 2 cups
- Parmesan cheese – 1 cup (grated)
- BBQ smoker/grill
- Use paper towels to line a plate. Place the chopped bacon in a sauté pan, and cook on mid-low heat until they become crisp—but be careful not overcook the bacon. Use a slotted spoon to move the bacon to a plate to drain. Next, pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of bacon fat into a clean sauté pan and keep the remaining fat for later use.
- Now, heat the bacon fat on medium heat. Add the onions and butter, and then cook as you stir, until the onions are soft and not brown. Next, add the chopped garlic and stir ‘til it releases its sweet flavor. Add the all-purpose flour, stirring the mixture until it becomes even. Now, cook it for several minutes so that the mac and dish don’t taste like raw flour.
- Slowly add the whole milk to the mixture, a cup at a time. Make sure that you mix well after every cup to prevent chunks forming on the flour and also to get a creamy mixture. Use pepper and salt to season. Once the mixture is warm, add in the cheddar cheese and mix well. Remove from the heat and then cover it so that it can remain warm.
- In a large pot, boil salted water and then add the macaroni. Cooking following the package instructions—but make sure that it is slightly undercooked so that it will absorb the cheese mixture, and add more taste to the dish. When ready, drain the macaroni, and then mix it with the cheese sauce—stir well.
- Now, prepare your BBQ smoker or grill, and get it ready for smoking. Set it to medium heat.
- Put hat of the mac and cheese into a large baking dish or skillet. Smother it using 1 cup of grated jalapeño Jack cheese, and then cover it using the remaining mac and cheese. To the dish using the remaining 1 cup of grated jalapeño Jack cheese, bacon bits, and parmesan.
- When smoking, use the indirect side of your grill, and make sure that the lid is closed for around 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is a bit browned and bubbly.
- Remove the mac and cheese from heat and allow it to cool a bit before serving it.
Recipe 2 – with Gouda
- Cream cheese – 8 oz. (cut into cubes)
- Butter – 5 tbsp (chilled), plus some extra for coating cast iron
- Dry mustard – 1 tsp
- Hot sauce – 1 tsp or more to taste
- Black pepper – ¾ tsp
- Elbow macaroni – 16 oz.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – 1 ½ cups
- Shredded smoked mozzarella or Gouda cheese – 1 ½ cups
- Panko breadcrumbs – 1 cup
- Melted butter – 2 tbsp
- Smoked Paprika, For Serving
- Before you start cooking, set the BBQ smoker temperature to 180 degrees F to preheat, and make sure that the lid is closed for around 15 minutes. You can use super smoke if it’s available when you want optimal flavor.
- For your sauce, mix half of the chilled butter, cream cheese, dry mustard, hot sauce, and black paper in a seasoned iron skillet.
- Next, place the iron skillet on the grill grate, and smoke the mixture for around 30 minutes (uncovered). Remove the sauce from the grill and then whisk until it becomes smooth.
- Increase the temperature on the grill up to 320 degrees F, and preheat with the lid closed for around 15 minutes.
- As the sauce smoked, boil salted water in a large pot on a stovetop.
- Cook your macaroni for 1 or 2 minutes less than the directions on the package, as the pasta will continue cooking on the grill.
- Drain the cooked pasta, and rinse it with cold water for one or 2 times, and then put it back to the cooking pot. Next, toss the cooked and cooled pasta with the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Now, pour the smoked sauce of the cheese and pasta, as you stir gently using a rubber spatula—until the macaroni is coated.
- Use 1 tablespoon of chilled butter to coat the inside of the iron skillet and then pour your mac and cheese into the skillet, and make sure that you smoothen the top.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then spread them on top of the macaroni.
- Now, place the mac and cheese directly on your grill and then bake until the top slightly brown and bubbly. This should take around 30 – 40 minutes.
- Dust lightly with paprika before serving.
What to serve with your smoked mac and cheese
As highlighted earlier, you can serve your smoked mac and cheese as a side dish or main dish.
Most people serve this dish during Thanksgiving and other holidays, but there is no bad time to enjoy this amazing delicacy. It will always please you and your guests whenever you get it right.
If you are planning to prepare a full meal out of smoked mac and cheese, the following are some recipes that you should consider preparing alongside your smoked mac and cheese.
Roast broccoli (baked)
This is a very simple recipe to prepare, and you will only need four ingredients—garlic, broccoli, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. You will need to roast the broccoli until it’s slightly crispy and tender. If you prefer the charred pieces, the better.
This simple roasted broccoli recipe has lots of flavors and is ideal for any meal.
- Broccoli – 1 ½ pound (cut into florets)
- Minced garlic – 3 cloves
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Juice extracted from ½ a lemon (1 tablespoon)
- Black pepper and kosher salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the broccoli florets and garlic in a large bowl, and then drizzle some fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Toss around until the florets are covered.
- In a large baking sheet, arrange the broccoli in 1 layer. Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Now, roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked, and you see golden brown color.
- Remove from the oven and serve while warm.
Roasted lemon parmesan green beans
This is another amazing dish that’s easy to prepare and can be served with any meal.
- Green beans – 1 lb. (trimmed)
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Juice from ½ large lemon
- Black pepper and salt to taste
- Parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup (grated)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place green beans on a large baking sheet—you can opt to line your baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
- Drizzle some lemon juice and olive oil on the beans, and then season with black pepper and salt to taste. Toss the beans before placing them in the oven.
- Roast for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the beans. Use a spatula to toss the beans, and then return them to the oven.
- Roast for an additional 7 minutes or until the beans are crisp and tender, and cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
Buttermilk oven fried chicken
- Chicken drumsticks – 8 (about 3 ½ ounces each), skinned
- Kosher salt – ½ teaspoon
- Sweet paprika – ½ teaspoon
- Poultry seasoning – ½ teaspoon
- Garlic powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Black pepper – 1/8 teaspoon
- Buttermilk – 1 cup
- Lemon juice – ½ lemon
- Cooking spray
- Panko bread crumbs – 2/3 cup
- Crushed cornflake crumbs – ½ cup
- Parmesan cheese – 2 tablespoons (grated) Kosher salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
- Dried parsley – 1 teaspoon
- Onion powder – ½ teaspoon
- Sweet paprika – 1 ½ teaspoon
- Garlic powder – ½ teaspoon
- Chili powder – ¼ teaspoon
- For the chicken, season the drumsticks with paprika, salt, poultry seasoning, black pepper, and garlic powder. Next, pour the lemon juice and buttermilk over the seasoned chicken and then refrigerate for 6 – 8 hours or overnight if you can.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a rack on top of the baking sheet, and then spray some oil on the rack.
- For the coating, mix cornflake crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and parsley in a shallow bowl.
- Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and then cover each piece using the crumb mixture. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared baking sheet, and then spray some cooking spray on top of the chicken.
- Bake for 40 to 25 minute, or until the chicken turns golden brown.
This is one of the easiest recipes that you can try out in your home—and you will always be impressed by the results whenever you get everything right.
Just remember this, you can serve the smoked mac and cheese as a side dish or a main course with any of the accompaniments we have highlighted above. Don’t forget to share your results in the comment section below.