Mac and cheese is one of my go-to barbecue sides.
It’s warm, gooey, and just so satisfying I think we can agree it’s the ultimate comfort food.
So how do we put our own twist on it, how do we make it better? We smoke it! This definitely takes it to another level, and not only that we simplify the entire process.
1. One tray
Most mac and cheese recipes require you to make a white sauce (also known as a bechamel sauce), but not this one. This is a one-tray beauty.
I used a foil tray, you can use a baking tray but I’m into minimal cleanup!
And then you basically just add everything to it. Colby cheese, uncooked pasta, cheddar cheese, butter, and cream cheese.
Add 6 cups of full cream milk to the tray and you are ready for the smoker, no need to stir it just yet it’s best to wait until the heat softens up all of that cheese.
2. Smoke it
I used my Traeger Timberline 1300 for this cook. Any hooded barbecue will do, you just need to get the temp up to 300°F to 320°F to get the cheese melting.
I used a milder scented wood to smoke with, Bear Mountain Pecan pellets, cherry would be a good choice as well. Fruit and nut varieties of smoking wood tend to have a milder taste and are not so overbearing and one thing with this recipe is you don’t want to overdo the smoke flavor.
Once you know your temp is stable, you can add the tray of mac and cheese. You can leave it alone for 30 minutes. This first 30 minutes is when all the cheese is going to start to soften and the pasta will absorb the milk.
Once that 30 minutes is up, give it a good stir, it should start resembling mac and cheese by now but still a little runny.
Sprinkle the panko crumbs evenly over the top and pop it back in the smoker for another 30 minutes or until the top is nice and crispy.
Once this is finished cooking, you will have the perfect gooey cheesy consistency that you would expect with any mac and cheese and a nice crunchy crust on top.
Being a classic bbq side dish, this is what we would serve it with:
Easy Smoked Mac And Cheese
- 24 oz pasta macaroni style
- 16 oz Colby cheese shredded
- 16 oz Cheddar cheese shredded
- 8 oz cream cheese cubed
- 4 oz salted butter cubed
- 6 cups full fat milk
- 3 tbsp BBQ rub
- 7 oz panko crumbs
- Get your BBQ up to temp of 300°F to 320°F
- Add the cheeses, pasta, butter, bbq rub and milk to a baking tray. Do not stir at this stage
- Put the tray into the smoker for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, give the mac and cheese a good stir to combine and sprinkle the panko crumbs over the top, smoke for a further 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.