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Featuring seriously creamy smoked mac and cheese

CREAMY Smoked Mac and Cheese

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5 from 2 reviews

This Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe is pure comfort with a creamy blend of three types of cheeses and crispy bacon, all infused with a rich, smoky flavor. Tuck into a warm bowl of this savory, indulgent dish and enjoy the moment.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 6-8 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound macaroni pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Gouda
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni. Boil water and cook the pasta until just al dente, according to the package directions. Make sure to salt the water. Strain the pasta and rinse with cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Set aside.
  2. Warm the milk and cream. Pour the two into a small saucepot on low heat and allow them to warm up. The dairy cannot be cold when mixed into the sauce.
  3. Prepare the roux. Melt the stick of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk to incorporate. Continue to whisk for about 4-5 minutes, cooking out the raw flavor of the flour to make a golden, smooth roux.
  4. Add the warmed dairy and seasonings. Slowly pour the warmed dairy into the roux 1/2 cup at a time, whisking to thicken the sauce. Once all of the milk and cream have been poured in, add in the spices and keep whisking constantly while the sauce is simmering, just until thickened. Make sure the sauce does not start simmering rapidly.
  5. Whisk in the cheeses and melt. Once the sauce has just started to thicken, turn off the heat. Mix the cheeses together, and reserve 1 cup to the side. Slowly add in the shredded cheese 1/2 cup at a time and whisk to melt. Continue to do so until all of the cheese has been used (except the reserved cup). If the cheeses aren’t melting completely, return the pan to LOW heat on the stove and keep whisking until the sauce is smooth. TASTE and adjust for seasoning.
  6. (optional) Cook the bacon. Place the pieces of bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway through. Cook until they are just crispy. Break the bacon apart into small pieces for mixing into the mac and cheese.
  7. Assemble the macaroni and cheese. Add the cooked pasta, bacon (or other mix-ins), and the cheese sauce to a 9″ x 13″ foil pan. Stir gently to make sure the cheese sauce is evenly coating all of the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top and add additional BBQ seasoning if desired.
  8. Smoke the mac and cheese. Heat up the smoker to 250°F and place the pan, uncovered, in the smoker. Allow the mac and cheese to smoke for 45-60 minutes. Do not stir!
  9. Remove and serve. This mac and cheese is best served after it’s had a couple of minutes to rest and cool down.

Notes

  • Use room-temperature cheese. Shred the cheeses and set them aside while you prepare the rest. Cold cheese added to a hot sauce will affect the creamy texture.
  • Don’t add too many mix-ins, especially smoked meat. The fat from smoked meat can cause the creamy sauce to break, so I recommend sticking with bacon, scallions, herbs, or other aromatics.
  • See the article for many more tips!
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Smoking
  • Cuisine: Pasta
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