Smoked Mac and Cheese is a twist on a classic dish that is sure to please any cheese lover. This smoked mac and cheese recipe has the best smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the creamy pasta and it can be served as a main course or as a side dish.
Whether you’re looking for a new take on an old favorite or you’re simply trying to impress your guests, smoked mac and cheese is sure to hit the spot.
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The Best Smoked Mac and Cheese
Have you planned your upcoming BBQ weekend? Is the meat well-seasoned and ready to go on the smoker? Are the drinks cold and perfect for all guests?
But what about a cheesy and delicious side? Every main dish needs a flavorful companion. Fret not, as we have one of the best smoked mac and cheese recipes for you.
So, read on and explore what this creamy delight has to offer. We are sure you won’t be disappointed!
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
If you use a smoker regularly, you would understand how it is pretty easy for soft and porous food items like pasta to get smoked.
So, once you have placed your big pieces of meat to rest after being smoked and cooked, you can quickly prepare smoked mac and cheese without performing any preheating procedures.
This smoked mac and cheese recipe is that easy!
- Large Pot
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Wood Chips of cherry or apple wood
- 1 pound cooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 Tablespoons of flour
- 1 Tablespoon of mustard powder
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 2 cups of half and half
- 3 cups of cheddar
- 1.5 cups of gouda
Ingredients for Topping
- 1 cup of panko topping of bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2 Tablespoons of Signature Sweet Rub
Detailed Cooking Instructions
Here are complete details of the smoked mac and cheese recipe:
Step 1 – Boil Macaroni in Salt and Water
Follow the package instructions and boil the macaroni in a pot with water and salt. Salt not only helps to add flavor to your macaroni but also helps the water boil faster!
Once your macaroni noodles are al dente, according to package directions, and still a little hard, turn off the heat.
Step 2 – Preheat the Smoker
Use mild wood chips or wood pellets to preheat your smoker. We would recommend you go for pecan, cherry, or applewood. These flavors are mild yet rich.
As mentioned above, make sure to keep the smoker’s temperature as low as 225 degrees. You don’t want to ruin the dish by going overboard with heat and smoke!
Step 3 – Choose Your Skillet
Take a good-sized cast iron skillet to prepare the cheese sauce for your mac n cheese. We have chosen a 12-inch skillet because it will be used as a multipurpose dish.
This large skillet gives us enough surface area for the smoked mac n cheese to cook correctly.
Choose something you can use to prepare the sauce, smoke the mac n cheese, and even serve to your guests, thus saving from the hassle of arranging additional cutlery.
Step 4 – Prepare Cheese Sauce
Melt butter (1/2 cup) in the skillet, then slowly add flour and mustard powder while whisking to form a paste. Since we’re using a healthy amount of butter, you won’t need to add cooking spray to the skillet.
As the sauce thickens, add half and half creamer and bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 5 – Add Cheese Variations
Reduce heat and add cream cheese to the sauce. Whisk and stir to attain a nice consistency.
Next, add gouda cheese and pre-shredded cheese. If you like, you can also add parmesan cheese. The choice is ultimately yours.
Whisk the cheese sauce on medium heat until all the cheese has melted.
Step 6 – Add Boiled Macaroni to Cheese Paste
Reduce or turn off the heat and add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce.
Mix well until the boiled pasta is thoroughly coated with the cheese sauce.
Step 7 – Prepare Topping
While the macaroni noodles are mixed with the sauce, prepare your topping.
Use a small bowl and mix bread crumbs, sweet rub, and melted butter. Sprinkle the resultant mix over the cheesy mac and cheese.
You can also add flavor additions of your choice. For instance, if you like bacon or green chilies, make them a part of your toppings. Feel free to experiment!
Step 8 – Place the Skillet in the Smoker
Now is the time to give your dish the much-needed smoke flavor!
Place the skillet carrying the well-cooked macaroni in the smoker and let the delicious dish absorb all the smoke flavor for an hour.
You can extend this duration for another hour too for rich smoky flavor but be careful as the elbow macaroni may end up too strong for your tastebuds.
Step 9 – Serve!
As soon as you are happy with the results, it’s time to serve your creamy smoked mac n cheese to your hungry guests!
We hope you enjoy this delicious smoked mac n cheese! Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the full recipe card.
Tips For Making The Best Smoked Mac And Cheese
- Serve Hot. It’s better to serve the smoked macaroni and cheese dish while it is still hot. The smoked cheeses taste better when warm and gooey.
- Low and Slow. Make sure to keep the smoker’s temperature as low as 225 degrees F. A temperature above that will make your cooked pasta dry and ruin the flavor of your smoked mac and cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
If this is your first time making a smoked mac and cheese dish, you might have a few questions.
So, to clear them up, we’ve put together a thorough Q&A to read through before heading to your kitchen to prepare this wonderful cheesy recipe.
What Is The Nutrition Information For Smoked Mac and Cheese?
This great recipe and comfort food has a total of 837 nutritional calories. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and saturated fats. Plus, this comfort food contains 877mg of sodium, 231mg of potassium, and 1665IU of Vitamin A.
Which Cheeses Work Best for the Smoked Mac and Cheese Dish?
The best cheeses that are easy to smoke and taste great are Mozzarella and Parmesan. Smoked Gouda also has a sharp taste, and many people also try Swiss, Brie, American cheeses, and Monterey Jack.
Try as many cheese variations as you want to find the perfect combination for your taste buds!
Can You Use Whole Milk In the Smoked Mac and Cheese Recipe?
Yes, you absolutely can. Whole milk can be a good substitution for half-and-half creamer.
Moreover, if your guests are health conscious, you can also add evaporated or low-fat milk to your smoked mac and cheese dish.
What Is the Right Temperature to Smoke Cheese At?
Smoked Gouda or any other cheese should be prepared at a temperature below 90 degrees F. This tip is essential to save the cheese from unnecessary melting. If you want to produce cold smoke, put your chosen cheese on the smoker’s grate.
Can You Add Hot Sauce to Your Mac and Cheese?
If your guests love spicy sides, you can definitely add hot sauce to your cheese sauce. This product will add an element of rich flavor to your dish and make your cheese smoked mac worth every effort.
How do you prevent Macaroni from Sticking Together?
People often use olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
However, olive oil can be harmful to this cheese-smoked mac recipe. It can create a significant barrier between the sauce and pasta, preventing the former from mixing with the latter. So, make sure the quantity is minimal if you are using it.
Can I Use Long Pasta While Preparing Mac and Cheese?
It’s not recommended to use long or thin pasta with this dish. They fail to hold and catch the cheese with precision and may not give you the creamy flavor with every bite.
For the best creamy mac n cheese, choose the best macaroni noodles that will maximize the cheesy flavor with every spoonful.
When Is the Right Time to Turn Off the Smoker?
You can remove the skillet from the smoker as soon as one hour has passed. If your macaroni has turned golden brown and looks ready to serve, it’s ready!
Is It Safe to Add Colby Jack Cheese to this Delicious Recipe?
This cheese tastes rich and adds value to your best smoked mac and cheese recipe. It doesn’t take long to melt and smoke. So, it is safe to use this cheese in your dish.
However, make sure to add the right quantity of cheese so you can get the maximum flavor in your food.
How Can You Experiment With the Basic Mac and Cheese Recipe?
You can add new variations to a basic mac dish and make a new recipe altogether.
For instance, adding some jalapeno slices to the sauce can create a Jalapeno Popper Smoked mac and cheese. Moreover, you can include bacon in the dish to get a flavorsome Bacon mac and cheese.
If you aren’t serving this side dish to a vegetarian, adding pulled pork to the recipe will help you create cheese bombs that your guests will cherish for a long time.
Smoked Mac And Cheese Recipe
- 1 lb cooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups half and half
- 3 cups cheddar
- 1 1/2 cups gouda
Ingredients for Topping
- 1 cup panko topping of bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tbsp Signature Sweet Rub
- Take a bowl of salted water with macaroni and boil it.
- Turn off the heat as soon as the macaroni noodles feel al dente and not very soft.
- Use apple or cherry hardwood to preheat the smoker. Its temperature should reach 225 degrees F.
- Simultaneously, place a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Use it to melt butter.
- In the melted butter, add the given amount of flour and whisk until there is a paste.
- Now also include a tablespoon of mustard powder.
- Whisk well and add half and half in the paste. Cook until the mix has reached the boiling point.
- Now slow down the heat and add cream cheese. Whisk again until the whole paste is smooth.
- Add gouda cheese and cheddar cheese as well. Stir and whisk until they have adequately melted.
- Now turn off or reduce heat and add macaroni noodles. Stir them in the cheese sauce so that they look fully coated.
- Simultaneously, add melted butter, panko topping of bread crumbs, and sweet rub in a bowl. Sprinkle the resultant mix over the prepared mac and cheese.
- Put the skillet in your smoker and cover it with a lid.
- Let the mac and cheese smoke for at least an hour.
- Once the time is over and you are fully satisfied, serve your creamy smoked mac and cheese while it is still melty and tempting.