Smoked mac and cheese is a creamy pasta dish with crispy coating on top. You can make this recipe in an electric smoke, fire wood smoker or a pellet smoker.
Smoked mac and cheese
I think you will absolutely love this dish. It may seem unconventional to cook it in a smoker, but you may be surprised at how many delicious meals you can make using a smoker!
If you have eaten smoked cheese, you probably already have a good idea of what makes this meal stand out from the rest. Smoked cheese is rich and hearty, with a depth of flavor not found in regular cheese.
You can also use this recipe as a simple side dish. Although, with a few simple additions, it can also be incredible hearty and a satisfying dinner.
What about pasta?
You can use any pasta of choice. I prefer to use elbow macaroni, but any small variety of pasta works well. Shell pasta or corkscrew (rotini) are excellent options.
You will need to cook the pasta before mixing it with the sauce before smoking. So, feel free to save some time and make pasta up front if you want.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 8 tbsp melted butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups cheddar shredded cheese
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a large pot, boil the pasta in plenty of salted water at the bottom of each package. Drain and toss 1 teaspoon of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking to it.
- Preheat smoker to 225 ° F using cherry or apple wood chips or pellets.
- Add the butter and melt over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the flour and cook for a minute. Add the milk and whisk to mix well. Combine mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes, the sauce will then thicken.
- Add the cream cheese and stir to melt the sauce. Add the mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheeses and stir to melt and add. The sauce should be then
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to mix thoroughly. Top with a mixture of breadcrumb and place it in the smoker for 1 hour uncovered.
How to make smoked mac and cheese
If you have been using smoker for a while, you know that wet, or soft substances absorb the smoke very quickly. That’s good news if you want to whip up this smoked macaroni and cheese like a side dish for something like a smoked brisket. You can take out your big meat to let it rest for an hour and get your mac and cheese directly from the smoker without having to preheat your grill.
Tips for smoked mac and cheese
- Use cast iron. The 12-inch skillet will move from the stove to the smoker to the dining table without much hassle or too many dishes. And it will give you plenty of space for your mac and cheese to absorb the smoke.
- Keep your smoking temperature low. Anything above 225 degrees F will overcook your noodles and make your mac and cheese dry.
- For wood; I recommend cherry wood, apple, maple or pecan.
- Feel free to mix! This mac and cheese is a great base for other flavor enhancers, bacon, green chiles, lobster, pork chop… name it!
FAQs about smoked mac and cheese
- How can I keep my macaroni and cheese from becoming oily when reheated?
One issue with the cheese sauce is that the oil separates, forming an oily layer. You may have seen this happen when you bake mac and cheese in the microwave oven.
Reheating sauces require a delicate approach. When stirring, take it lightly and add a little butter or milk if you want the sauce to stay creamy.
What if I don’t have a smoker?
You can use wood chips on the grill or substitute smoked Gouda for the Gruyere cheese to get the smoky flavor. You can bake this mac and cheese casserole in the oven for 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until it turns lightly golden brown.