Smoked Mac and Cheese is a good side dish for smoked meats; it packs a lot of flavor and pairs well with smoked meats like briskets and pulled pork. A touch of smoke flavor can be added to Mac and Cheese by mixing a few ingredients and cooking it in your smoker.
Smoked mad n cheese packs rich flavors, and its creamy texture goes well with many foods. This smoked mac and cheese technique will help you add another dish to your smoker recipe portfolio and another fantastic item to prepare when smoking meats.
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese: The Recipe
A few steps need to be followed to get creamy and smoked Mac and Cheese using your smoker grill. Using our Green Egg is our preference, but you can use any smoker. If you don’t own a smoker grill, watch for sales and deals during the winter. You can pick up a new one for cheap!
First, the smoker needs to be set at an appropriate temperature to avoid overcooking the pasta. Smoked Macaroni and Cheese is all about gently infusing smoky flavor to the pasta and cheese.
Second, a good mix of wood pellets or wood chips should be used to prevent overpowering the cheese flavor or oversmoking the cheese.
Lastly, the macaroni noodles should not be over-boiled; the noodles will spend at the very least an hour in the smoker.
Learning how to smoke pasta and cheese sounds easy, and it is, but some practice will help find the best balance between cheese, texture, and smoke flavor. When smoking pasta and cheese, it is important not to use too much smoke and overpower the cheese taste.
Cheese, pasta, and thin, soft foods do not require long cooking times and can be quickly smoked after cooking the main dishes. Mac and Cheese goes great with brisket and pork, so it is common to smoke this side dish after the main dish.
Use these tips to get creamy better-smoked Macaroni and Cheese
- Important Set the smoker to 225 F – Maintain your smoker temperature low and consistent to about 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures will burn the cheese and dry the pasta and might end up with hard smoked macaroni and cheese.
- Try not to use intense wood flavors that can overpower the cheese, and if too much smoke is used, it can discolor the cheese and add odd flavors.
- Use a cast-iron skillet to mix the ingredients and smoke the macaroni, avoid using multiple containers to make your life easier. Cast iron skillets work well in smokers and won’t bend or warp when moving the Mac and Cheese around.
- Try Something New – get creative! I love adding bacon to my Mac and Cheese. I have also tried adding pork belly and ham. This is a fun side dish perfect for getting your culinary creativity out.
- You will want to cook the macaroni al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the smoker and absorb additional flavors, like wood smoke.
Smoking the Mack and Cheese in the Smoker
Setting up the smoker to smoke the Mac and Cheese is an important step. First and always, preheat your smoker to 350 degrees and let it get to temperature. Once at temperature, let it run at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
The Mac and Cheese will be smoked at 225 not 350 degrees.
Once the smoker is preheated, set the temperature to 225 degrees F and place the Mac and Cheese inside the smoker. Be careful not to let the smoker produce too much smoke or dirty smoke while smoking the mac n cheese. If the fire in your pellet grill or charcoal smoker needs to be restarted, remove the mac and cheese to avoid excessive “dirty smoke.”
Printable Smoked Mac and Cheese Recipe
Prep Time 30 mins | Cook Time 1 hr | Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Ingredients For This Mac and Cheese Recipe
Seasoning the Macaroni and Cheese
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 cups half and half ( can change to taste)
- Black pepper
Main Ingredient for Macaroni and Cheese
- One pound of elbow macaroni noodles cooked according to package instructions ( remember that the macaroni will continue cooking in the smoker, keep that in mind when prepping the macaroni on your stove)
- We use elbow macaroni but feel free to explore with other types of pastas.
The Cheese ( please note that you can try different types of cheese to add flavor and texture to your mix )
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 3.5 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese ( We use sharp cheddar cheese but feel free to get creative )
- 1.0 cups gouda cheese (shredded cheese)
- Optional – add your favorite cheese mix
Optional ingredients – Toppings
- Bread crumb topping
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 Tablespoons of pepper ( or other seasonings you like)
- optional – chopped smoked bacon – I love bacon on my smoked Mac 👌
- optional – chopped pork rings
- Parmesan cheese
- Boil the macaroni noodles in salted water until they are al dente, not completely done, remember these will finish cooking in the smoker. Just be sure to bring to a boil but do not over cook the pasta.
- Preheat your smoker following the process mentioned above and after preheating, set the temperature to 225 degrees F, set your favorite wood, and set the smoker to smoke.
Prepare the Cheese Sauce
- Place a cast-iron skillet on your stove, get it to medium heat and melt half a cup of butter and whisk in the flour until a paste texture forms. If you want to use your charcoal or gas grill for cooking the cheese sauce, go for it. I enjoy using iron skillets in my Green Egg.
- Add and whisk in the mustard powder.
- Add the half and half and bring up to a boil while whisking the mix; lower the heat and add the cream cheese, mix until the texture is smooth.
- Whisk in all the cheeses and mix until it all melts. Shut off the heat and pour in the cooked macaroni noodles. Stir gently not to break the noodles until all look nicely coated with the cheese sauce.
Some people do not like the flavor of smoked gouda; add your own touch to the cheese sauce until you find whats works best for you.
I like to add shredded cheese to mac and cheese once in the smoker to add a bit of texture. If you like creamy smoked mac and cheese then the cheese sauce should be sufficient.
Place in the Smoker
Time to put the skillet with the mac n cheese in the smoker. Smoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
You can smoke the mac and cheese for up to 2 hours if you want a stronger smoker flavor, but pasta can absorb smoke fast. Do not overcook and dry the pasta.
Prepare your toppings melted butter, panko bread crumbs, bacon, all can be mixed and sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese.
This is an easy mac and cheese side dish, perfect for combining with your favorite smoked meats. Invite some friends over and have some fun! Grab your favorite beer, hot sauce, or whatever you like and share with your friends and family.
This Mac and Cheese Recipe is a great way to add an amazing side dish to smoked ribs or brisket. If you search smoked mac recipes, you will quickly realize there are many ways of preparing this dish.
Don’t be afraid of trying new things and adding your own twist. Enjoy the process!