Smoked Mac and Cheese is one the best sides you can make on your barbecue. This creamy, cheesy, classic comfort food is so much better after a couple of hours on the smoker. Whether you’re making a delicious family dinner or need to bring something for potluck, this smoky, creamy, cheesy pasta dish will be an instant hit.
SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE
If you haven’t tried smoked mac and cheese yet, put it on your to-make list immediately! Smokey flavors turn this childhood favorite dish into something amazing. Mac and cheese is already rich, creamy, and cheesy, which makes it everyone’s favorite side, but when you add some smoke, that’s a whole new level of delicious.
It’s a perfect side dish for so many occasions like a comfy dinner at home, or a barbecue party, or to bring it with you to a potluck.
TIPS FOR MAKING SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE
It’s a perfect side dish to throw on the smoker, especially if you already have the meat going. It takes only about an hour and a half to smoke so add it to the smoker when the meat has the same amount of time left.
I usually use a cast iron skillet but when I need to make it for a party, I use an aluminum pan. Aluminum pan is easy to bring with you if you’re going to a potluck party.
Mac and cheese is also a great side dish to bring with you to a potluck party. Make a big batch of it in an aluminum pan and smoke it right in it. When it’s done, just pop the pan into another aluminum pan to make it sturdier and protect yourself from any barbecue residue that may be on the bottom of the pan.
Don’t smoke it for more than two hours or it will start to dry out. I found that an hour and a half is the perfect time.
Can I Make It Ahead Of Time?
This is a very easy side dish to make ahead of time. Prepare it completely up to the topping and smoking step, cover it it and refrigerate for about a day.
I don’t recommend putting cold dish on the smoker because it will lower the temperature inside the smoker. Pull the pan out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for 30-45 minutes to warm. Add the topping and pop it on the smoker.
Can I Make It Gluten Free?
Absolutely! Use gluten free all purpose flour in the cheese sauce and use gluten free bread crumbs for the topping. Gluten free bread crumbs already resemble Panko crumbs so it will be an seamless substitute.
QUICK SMOKING NOTES
At what temperature to smoke mac and cheese: 225° is the perfect temperature. Set your gas or electric smoker to 225° and if using charcoal/wood smoker, maintain the temperature between 225°-235°.
How long does it take to smoke mac and cheese: about an hour and a half. Don’t smoke it for more than 2 hours.
What wood to use for smoking mac and cheese: choose mild wood like apple, pecan, or maple.
HOW TO MAKE SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE
Pasta: cook pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Cheese Sauce: melt butter in the same pan and whisk in flour. Keep whisking and add cream cheese pieces. Let cream cheese start to incorporated and then, slowly start pouring in milk. Keep gently whisking until all incorporated.
When the milk is warmed, start adding cheese one handful at a time. Continue to whisk and add the cheese in handfuls until all is smooth and melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix: pour cheese sauce into the bowl with pasta and mix well. Spread pasta in the greased cast iron pan (or aluminum pan).
Topping: mix ingredients for the topping in a small bowl and evenly spread it over the pasta.
Smoke: make sure the smoker is preheated to 225°, place the pan of the smoker, close the lid, and let it cook for about an hour and a half.
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Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb macaroni
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk can use 2%
- 10 oz sharp cheddar cheese block, grated
- 10 oz Monterrey Jack cheese block, grated
- black pepper
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt more or less to taste
- Start the smoker and preheat it to 225°.
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt butter in the same pan and whisk in flour. Keep whisking and add cream cheese pieces. Let cream cheese start to incorporate.
- Slowly start pouring in milk and keep slowly whisking until all incorporated.
- When the milk is warmed, start adding cheese one handful at a time. Continue to whisk and add the cheese in handfuls until all is smooth and melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour cheese sauce into the bowl with pasta and mix well. Spread pasta in the greased cast iron pan (or aluminum pan).
- Mix ingredients for the topping in a small bowl and evenly spread it over the pasta.
- Make sure the smoker is preheated to 225°, place the pan on the smoker, close the lid, and let it cook for about an hour and a half.