How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
Low and slow is the key to this creamy, decadent smoked mac and cheese. The smoker takes about 50 minutes to get that added smokiness that sets this dish apart.
Macaroni and cheese is one of the most popular comfort foods in America. Now add a little smoke, and WHEW! It’s next level with smoked flavor infused into it. It’s totally worth a try if you haven’t had it before.
I love mac and cheese, but whenever Christian grills, I try to take advantage of the smoker being on. I’ve made this smoked mac and cheese for a few years, modifying the recipe to my liking. I’ve tried different cheeses and spices. We have even played around with the temps and cook time. The recipe I am sharing today is my favorite variation; my family loves it too!
We love our MasterBuilt smoker, and Christian has become quite good at smoking meats. Last weekend, Christian smoked two Boston butts. We pulled the pork using “claws” I bought him as a gift last year and served it with this smoked mac and cheese and homemade coleslaw. While prepping the mac and cheese, I caught our youngest son cooking in his play kitchen.
We always have plenty left to share with friends and for me to make meals like this Pulled Pork Frittata. Our neighbor stopped by for some, and I’ll test out some more ways to use leftover smoked pork this week. Stay tuned!
BBQ Must Haves for Smoked Mac and Cheese
To make smoked macaroni and cheese, you need the right equipment! Here’s what you need:
- A smoker – I know it sounds obvious, but having a good smoker allows you to cook food at a much lower temperature and for a longer time than a grill.
- A cast iron skillet (without enamel) – It’s a timeless pan that is incredibly heat resistant. Also, if your skillet is well seasoned, you won’t have any trouble with the mac and cheese sticking. I’ve always had a pretty easy cleanup after making this dish.
- Your favorite wood chips – We often use hickory, but you can use milder flavored wood if you prefer. We’ve found this article by The Spruce Eats, to be helpful when choosing wood for the smoker.
How to make my smoked mac and cheese recipe.
Mise En Place
- 1 lb of dry macaroni noodles
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika – divided
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- One 8 oz block of cream cheese – cut into 10- 12 small cubes
- 2 cups milk – warmed slightly on the stove or in the microwave
- 1 cup of mild cheddar cheese- shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese- shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup Gouda cheese- shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup Asiago cheese- shredded + more for topping
Recipe Steps and Cooking Tips
1. Preheat the smoker and cook the noodles.
Start by preheating the smoker to 225 degrees F. While the smoker warms, cook your macaroni noodles until al dente, drain and set aside.
2. Make a Roux and whisk in warm milk.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. While whisking, add in warm milk and Dijon mustard. Cook for one more minute until thickened and smooth. Turn off the heat.
3. Add seasonings and cheeses to finish sauce.
With the heat off, whisk in the onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir in the mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, asiago, and gouda cheeses until melted.
Tip: If the sauce seems too thick, stir in 1 -2 tablespoons more milk.
4. Add cream cheese and pasta.
Spoon in dollops of cream cheese. Add the cooked macaroni noodles and fold in gently.
5. Top with additional cheese.
Top the macaroni and cheese mixture with additional shredded cheese and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
6. Lastly, SMOKE it low and slow!
Transfer the skillet to the smoker and cook for 45-50 minutes. Remove and serve warm.
Tip: The lower and slower, the better! You don’t want to smoke higher than 225 F because the mac and cheese could dry out. You also want to cook it least 45 minutes to allow the dish to take in that good smoky flavor.
I recommend storing any leftovers refrigerated in an air-tight container. This can be stored for 3-4 days.
I have found this dish to reheat well in the microwave. Be sure to stir often if you reheat in the microwave. You can stir in a splash of milk if needed to restore the creaminess.
All in All
This is one of my favorite dishes to make on the smoker. The subtle smoke infused into the pasta and cheese adds flavor that is not overpowering. The diverse blend of cheeses gives it richness and a creaminess that is so comforting.
I hope you and your guests enjoy this as much as I do! Please let me know what you think below.
Don’t forget to Pin this for later!
Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb dry macaroni noodles
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika divided
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups milk warmed slightly
- 1 cup mild cheddar shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup sharp cheddar shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup Gouda shredded + more for topping
- 2/3 cup Asiago shredded + more for topping
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook macaroni noodles to almost al dente, drain and set aside.
- In a small pan or in the microwave, warm milk slightly.
- In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. While whisking, add in warm milk and Dijon mustard. Cook for 1 more minute until thickened and smooth. Turn off heat.
- With the heat off, whisk in onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir in mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, asiago and gouda cheeses until melted. *If sauce seems too thick, add in 1 -2 tablespoons more of milk.
- Spoon in dollops of the cream cheese.
- Add cooked macaroni noodles and fold in gently.
- Top the mixture with additional shredded cheese and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika.
- Transfer skillet to the smoker. Cook for 45-50 minutes. Remove and serve warm.
Overall, macaroni and cheese isn’t really one of my preferred dishes, but I love the idea of smoking it; smokey flavors always increase my interest in a food. I’d go for this right away if I got a chance to taste it!
Love this take on mac & cheese! So much depth of flavour
This was so delicious. The smokiness added another layer of flavor. So good!
It looks so yummy! It’s on my hit list now!
I am intrigued by the smokiness. I must try it. Printed and on the menu this week.
Thank you for sharing
What a lovely recipe with complex flavor added by that smoke. Thank you!
Now this is the ultimate in comfort food – smoke, carbs, and cheese, oh yes please!!
This creamy Mac and cheese is lovely. The smoke added really have it a fancy lift.
This smokey mac and cheese looks absolutely delicious! Perfect for a bbq with a head of slaw, yuuum! My mouth is watering already!
Thank you! Yes, slaw was the perfect pairing for this.
I loved this variation on traditional mac and cheese, although I had to use extra Cheddar in place of asiago as I can’t buy it in my area.
I am glad you enjoyed it! Can’t go wrong with extra cheddar.