Smoked Mac And Cheese

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5 from 21 votes
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Smoked mac and cheese makes the best skillet side dish or entree. It’s cheesy, creamy, smoky, and loaded with flavor!

Love all things mac and cheese? Try protein mac and cheese, keto mac and cheese, and keto cauliflower mac and cheese.

smoked mac and cheese.

Buying a backyard smoker has been the best possible idea ever! Smoking meats, poultry, and even seafood has become a new delicious hobby for us, and while we tend to stick to whole proteins, we’ve recently loved using it to make smoked mac and cheese.

Sure, you could bake the mac and cheese, but cooking it in the smoker adds an element of flavor that no other macaroni recipe comes close to. Don’t fret, though- it’s just as creamy and comforting as you’d expect it to be!

Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make smoked Mac and cheese? 
  4. Baked smoked mac and cheese
  5. Recipe tips and tricks
  6. Storage instructions 
  7. More smoked recipes to try
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Smoked Mac And Cheese (Recipe Card)

Why this recipe works

  • No smoker required. While we prefer using a smoker for this recipe, you can bake it in the oven or cook it on the grill!
  • Perfect for parties. Well, we all know that nobody can say no to mac and cheese, and this smoked version will have everyone begging for the recipe!
  • Easy to make. With less than five minutes of prep time, the smoker does all the hard work for you.
  • Transforming to a main meal dish is easy. Let’s be real- this is a meal, but it also pairs well with almost anything.
smoked gouda mac and cheese.

Ingredients needed

This recipe calls for very simple ingredients and pantry staples that you’ll likely have on hand. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Pasta. Elbow or macaroni pasta is preferred, but any work. 
  • Olive oil. You can use any neutral-flavored oil. 
  • Butter. Unsalted butter. 
  • Flour. Helps thicken the sauce. 
  • Milk. I used whole milk, but any milk works.  
  • Half and half. Balances out the milk by adding a richer element. If you don’t have half and half, heavy cream works.
  • Smoked gouda and cheddar cheese. Combining both kinds of cheese adds extra smokiness and creaminess and gives the top a golden exterior.
  • Salt and pepper. To taste.

How to make smoked Mac and cheese? 

Cook the pasta. As per the package instructions and until al dente. Add some olive oil to the top to keep the pasta from sticking. 

macaroni with olive oil.

Make the cheesy roux. Mix the two kinds of cheese well and separate some for the topping. Combine milk and half-and-half together. Melt butter over medium heat and add it to the flour until it gets a wet sand-like texture. 

cheese sauce mix.

Gradually add milk and the half-and-half mixture while mixing continuously. Mix everything together until a thick mixture forms. Remove it from heat, add more gouda cheese, and allow it to melt naturally. Once melted, add some more cheese to make a thick and smooth mixture. 

smoked cheese sauce.

Combine pasta and roux. Add the cooked pasta and cheese sauce to a large mixing bowl and give these a good stir until fully combined. Fold through the remaining cheese. 

smoked cheese blend.

Smoke and serve. Transfer the mac and cheese to a cast iron skillet and top it with more cheese. Place it in a preheated smoker and smoke for at least one hour or up to 90 minutes for an extra smoky flavor.

mac and cheese uncooked.

Baked smoked mac and cheese

No smoker? No problem! This recipe works in the oven, too. Simple prep everything as instructed, then bake at 180C/350F for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Recipe tips and tricks

Do not overcook the pasta. You want the pasta to be al dente and nothing more. The pasta will naturally soften as it smokes.

Use mild wood chips. I recommend using applewood or cherry wood chips, which are the least overpowering.

Cook at 225F. As tempting as it is to cook this dish quickly, low and slow will ensure the creaminess and the texture is not affected.

Freshly grate the cheese. This recipe is full-blown comfort food, so make the extra effort to shred your own cheese. Not only does it melt so much better, but it will taste better, too.

Add toppings. For a crunchy element, top the mac and cheese with some panko breadcrumbs or a seasoning mix! Finely chopped bacon is also a fabulous idea.

Storage instructions 

To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. Be sure to give everything a good mix before reheating.

To freeze: Place portions of the mac and cheese in shallow containers and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Reheating: Reheat leftovers in a microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a preheated oven.

smoked man n cheese.

More smoked recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cheese is best? 

Cheeses that melt well and have a strong flavor are always best for macaroni dishes. We used a combination of cheddar and smoked gouda, but you can swap out the cheddar for mozzarella or tasty cheese.

What to serve with smoked mac and cheese?

Simple greens are the best to pair with this dish. Try broccoli, green beans, or asparagus.

How do I prevent the mac and cheese from drying out during smoking?

Cover the skillet with aluminum tin foil if you are worried that the pasta will dry out during the smoking process.

smoked mac and cheese recipe.

Smoked Mac And Cheese

5 from 21 votes
Smoked mac and cheese makes the best skillet side dish or entree. It's cheesy, creamy, smoky, and loaded with flavor!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 cups smoked gouda shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the smoker to 225F.
  • Cook the elbow pasta until al dente. Drain and toss through the olive oil.
  • Combine the two cheeses and separate two cups of the cheese for the topping. Combine the milk and half and half together. 
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Slowly add in the milk/half-and-half mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Continue adding the remaining milk/half-and-half in. Continue letting everything simmer together until it has thickened. 
  • Remove from the heat. Add the salt and pepper and slowly fold in 1 ½ cups of the cheese and let it melt naturally. Once melted, add another 1 ½ cups until completely smooth.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked pasta and mix through the cheese sauce until fully combined. Fold through the remaining one cup of cheese.
  • Transfer the mix into a large cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for an hour.

Notes

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. Be sure to give everything a good mix before reheating.
TO FREEZE: Place portions of the mac and cheese in shallow containers and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in a microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a pre-heated oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 22gFat: 19gSodium: 638mgPotassium: 222mgFiber: 8gVitamin A: 909IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 578mgIron: 6mgNET CARBS: 27g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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