The perfect combination of smoked macaroni and cheese is one of the fascinating dishes for many. It is super cheesy, incredibly creamy with a great smoky taste. Finding the perfect recipe for the dish is a task as there are various versions available.
The recipe depends heavily on the cheese options chosen and the amount of smoking.
Getting the perfect taste is a must as it is the most preferred side dish for any housewarming BBQ party. According to your liking, choosing the ideal dish with the best possible combination makes every family occasion worth it!
Why Mac And Cheese?
Mac and Cheese is one of the most staple dishes available. It consists of Macaroni Pasta and Cheese with crumb toppings to go with it.
The essential BBQ party is about a lot of meat and beverages. Mac and Cheese provides one of the best side dishes.
For vegetarians, Mac and Cheese are the go-to options in a BBQ party. The article discusses the best smoked mac and cheese recipe.
The Perfect Smoked Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 pound Macaroni pasta
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and jalapeno jack cheese
- 6-8 slices of Gouda or Havarti
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bacon and Panko Topping
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 pound crispy bacon, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- The smoker is prepared and heated up to 235-240 degrees F using preferred wood chips. This is a vital step since the choice of firewood greatly affects the smoky flavor.
- A foil pan of size 9 X 13 has to be sprayed and kept aside.
- The pasta is made al dente. Overcooking the pasta is not advised as we will further cook it later. Therefore, it boils one minute less than packaged directions.
- Four tablespoons of butter are to melt over medium heat in a large skillet. The onions are added and cooked till they soften. This adds richness to the taste.Post that, add garlic and whisk in the flour and keep cooking for 2 minutes. Milk is then added slowly at low heat with continuous stirring. Once combined, add salt, Dijon Mustard, and pepper.
- Cook while constantly whisking till there is a boil. Thick the sauce so that it coats the back of the spoon by reducing the heat and occasionally whisking.
- The grated sharp cheddar and jalapeno jack cheese are added to the pan after being removed from the heat. Stir until smooth. Add the pasta, then and coat it with the sauce.
- Half the Macaroni and cheese are spooned into the prepared foil pan. The sliced Gouda or Havarti is spread evenly over the Mac and Cheese.The sour cream is spread over the cheese slices, and the remaining Macaroni and cheese are spooned over it.
- One cup of grated Parmesan cheese is spread evenly over the top. Post smoking, it will melt to enhance taste and give it a creamy texture.
- For the topping, butter and olive oil are melt in a medium skillet. The panko crumbs are then added and stirred to coat. The crumb is cooked till they turn golden brown.Remove from heat and stir in the crumbled bacon. Sprinkle it evenly over the Mac and Cheese.
- The dish needs to be smoked for two hours to get the perfect taste!
Finesse Behind Mac and Cheese
The perfect recipe does not always ensure a tasty and creamy Mac and Cheese. Several other parameters need to be kept in mind while cooking it. Right from the accessories we use to the amount of cooking time, everything plays a significant part.
Al Dente Pasta
The texture of the pasta is one of the essential things to take care of. The macaroni boils one minute less than the guideline time.
It allows the pasta to absorb additional flavors better. Since the pasta is later smoked with cheese, it gives the perfect taste.
The resultant pasta has a soft texture which ensures the pasta melts in the mouth. It is important not to overcook the pasta.
The smoky flavor that gets added to the Mac and Cheese is the hidden gem of this recipe. The fragrant taste from different firewoods adds layers of smoky flavor to the dish.
The dish takes a long time to smoke. Regulating the temperature is another critical criterion. Thereby, choosing the best smoker is essential.
You can also follow a detailed step-by-step guide for beginners regarding which smokers you can keep for your list to go for.
Mac and Cheese is a dish that one cannot prepare quickly. It needs its own time to cook and smoke.
The amount of heat is always kept under the scanner when smoking the dish.
Irregular smoke levels often spoil the taste of the dish altogether. The dish generally doubles up as a side dish for the family crowd with pulled pork or beef brisket.
Homemade vs Store Bought
The dish is one of the most locally available and easy to prepare dishes. This leads to various stores selling it and an increased consumer base.
According to a user survey, the store-bought mac and cheese needed tremendous improvement in the field of taste. The flavor is not up to the mark yet.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese always has an added plus point. One can add bland experiments with ingredients according to the flavors liked by the family.
This gives homemade dishes a variety of spectrum to cater to concerning taste.
Choosing the perfect cheese is an essential factor in the recipe. As the ingredients suggest, more than one type of cheese is used.
Young and processed cheese often taste bland with pasta though they melt pretty quickly. Aged cheese adds a lot of complex flavor to the dish.
Sharp cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese for the recipe. The local version available at supermarkets strikes the right balance between melting ability and flavor.
Sharp cheddar cheese is cheaper compared to using three types of cheese. It works as a base cheese. The pre-shredded kind is not preferred as it contains additives that hamper the silky melting of the pasta.
Except for Sharp cheddar cheese, Gruyere is often used as it melts just like Cheddar. Besides, it has a nutty flavor. Other variations like Gouda, Havarti, Parmesan are also used.
Brie works well too, if one can make sure you remove the rind before mixing it in.
Macaroni and Cheese is the most staple dish for Americans. The dish has been handed down generations for its creamy taste and flavor.
The next time you have a BBQ party at home, you know what to add on with your meat! The irresistible Mac and Cheese is bound to floor your guests.