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5 from 12 votes

The Best Smoked Mac and Cheese

After many tweaks and trials, I have found the best smoked mac and cheese recipe. Throw this on the smoker while you wait for your smoked meats to rest.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost $15/ 12€

Ingredients

For the Cheese Sauce

  • 4 oz gruyere cheese (2 cups/ 118g)
  • 2 oz cheddar, sharp (1 cup/ 70g)
  • 2 oz emmenthal (1 cup/ 70g)
  • 2 tbsp butter (35g) plus extra for garnish
  • 3+½ tbsp flour (35g)
  • 1 litre 2% milk
  • 250 ml cream 35% (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 10 drops worchestershire sauce
  • 10 drops tabasco
  • 2 tsp salt (you may add more or less)

Everything Else

  • 9 oz macaroni (2 cups/ 313g)
  • ½ tsp BBQ spice blend (see below)
  • ½ bunch fresh chives
  • 40 g panko
  • Maldon salt for garnish

BBQ Spice Mix

  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika you don't need smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • For a Weber:
    If using a weber like I did, fill a charcoal chimney about halfway with the coals and light it.
    Once the charcoal is white hot, pour to one side of the smoker for indirect heating. Set up your temperature probe in the middle of the BBQ.
    Leave the vents open until it reaches 350°F/180°C, then turn the air vents down to about a quarter to maintain a temperature of 300°F/150°C.
    Electric Smoker: Set the smoker to 300°F/150°C.
    Getting-the-charcoal-ready
  • Before you begin, weigh out all of the ingredients in separate bowls like in the picture.
    Bring a large pot of salted water (as salty as the sea) to a boil.
    all-of-the-ingredients-ready-to-go
  • Begin by melting the butter in pan over medium heat.
    adding-the-butter-for-the-roux
  • Add the flour and whisk thoroughly. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes to remove the floury taste without browning (blonde roux).
    making-the-roux
  • Slowly pour in the cold milk, the cream and whisk vigorously until a smooth sauce is formed.
    Once a smooth sauce is formed use a spatula to prevent the bottom from scorching.
    making-the-roux-with-milk-and-cream
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cheese. (Save some cheese for garnishing later!)
    Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
    adding-the-cheese-to-the-bechemel-sauce
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water for half of the recommended time. I used smaller macaroni and cooked mine for 5 minutes.
  • Once cooked, rinse the macaroni in cold water to remove the excesss starch.
    rinsed-macaroni-in-a-colander.
  • Check that the smoker is at 300°F/150°C. Add 2-3 wood chunks to the hot coals and let smoke for 5-10 minutes. You want to have the smoker ready to go before you add the macaroni to the sauce.
    Adding the wood chips to the charcoal.
  • Add the macaroni and sauce together in a big pot and mix well. If you did it right it will look quite soupy but don't worry it will continue to cook and thicken in the smoker.
    adding-the-pasta-to-the-bechemel-sauce
  • Pour the mac and cheese into a cast iron pan. Top with a thin layer of panko, BBQ spice, a little extra cheese and some flakes of butter.
    mac and cheese in a pan with panko, bbq spice and butter on top.
  • Place the mac and cheese close to the coals but not directly underneath. Smoke for 45 minutes.
    Optional: After smoking, broil in the oven on high heat for 2-5 minutes to get some extra crispy, golden brown edges.
    Garnish with lots of Maldon salt and the fresh cut chives.
    Serve and enjoy right away!
    smoked mac and cheese with a fork in it

Notes

*I used a 10" (25cm) cast iron pan which was just a little bit too small for the amount in this recipe. A 12" cast iron should fit this recipe perfectly. 
*Add the cheese at the end and off the heat to avoid a split sauce.
*If the sauce splits, add a splash of cream and try blending it with a hand blender.
*Some cheddars may be the culprit to a grainy sauce. White cheddar seems to work better than regular cheddar but you may need to experiment with different cheddars.
*The mac and cheese will split if it gets too hot. Keep it close to the coals but not directly overtop to avoid overheating.
 
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