**Post written by The BBQ Brothers. For all meat prep, grill set up, temperature and humidity control, recommended tools, and techniques for The BBQ Brothers recipes, check out The BBQ Brothers Beginner’s Guide To Grilling first, then get to cookin!
So you have your whole BBQ weekend planned out. You’ve got your meat rubbed and prepped and on the smoker, the beers are cold and the game is going to be on a few hours.
But what are you supposed to do for that friend of yours with the new vegetarian girlfriend??? First, you tell him to rethink his life choices and the types of people he associates with. If that doesn’t work, we have a ton of different sides that will fit for the meat averse people that you let into your life for whatever reason. The first is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for even the pickiest of eaters.
SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE
First thing we want to do is get our cheese sauce ready for our macaroni. To start we want to make a roux, which is a fancy french way of saying we’re going to combine some flour and butter and cook them gently. We do this to act as a thickening agent for our cheese sauce. So add your 1/4 C butter to a medium sauce pan and melt, then whisk in your 1/4 C flour and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to get bubbly and you’ll notice it has turned a bit brown. Once you’ve reached this stage whisk in your 3 C milk and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken. After it has thickened add in your 8 oz of cream cheese cut in small chunks and stir until it’s smooth.
In a large heat resistant bowl, add all of your 36 oz of cheese. I hand grated mine because pre-shredded cheese has a bunch of weird additives that we don’t need in our lives, and just as importantly it will save you some money which is never bad. Freshly grated cheese also creates a creamier mac and cheese. Plus this site has diet stuff and a little arm workout while you’re grating will help burn off some of the mass amount of calories we’re about to enjoy!
Once you have your cheese grated (or dumped out of the bag like a dirty heathen) combine with the cream sauce we made earlier and mix until the cheese is melted and evenly distributed.
If you haven’t done so already, cook your 1 lb of macaroni according to the box instructions. Once done drain and combine with your cheese sauce. All of these steps can actually be done in advance of a few hours to even a full day ahead.
At this point you can get more frisky and add anything that sounds good. If you want to add some heat you can add fresh jalapeños or hot sauce. If you want to add some crunch you can add bacon or breadcrumbs. If you want something more savory you can go with garlic and herbs. Go crazy!! You’ve made a great canvas, now it’s time to paint on it! Or you can go plain Jane and it will still taste delicious.
Once you have everything mixed together to your liking spray your aluminum tray with cooking spray and spoon in your mixture and even it out. Cheap aluminum trays are fantastic for recipes like this that you want to toss on the smoker since you won’t want to stain a nice pan that you have with smoke.Throw it on the smoker at 225 for about 2 hours until its crisped on top but still nice and gooey on the inside. Another thing that’s so nice about this recipe is that since everything is already cooked you don’t have to be exact on times or temperatures and you can pretty much just use whatever temp you’re cooking your other foods at, and you can adjust the time for how smokey you want it to taste.
So that’s it! Once it’s done dish it out and enjoy.
BBQ ESSENTIALS (Smoked Mac and Cheese Edition)
1lb (16 oz) Elbow Macaroni.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
3 cups milk
8 oz cream cheese
36 oz of hand shredded cheese ( I like to use a mix of cheeses. One that is sharp and one that is a bit softer and will get extra gooey. I used 16 oz Colby Jack and 16 oz of Sharp Cheddar. But go crazy it’s hard to mess up your cheese choices!)
Pepper to taste. (We already have loads of salt from the cheese so we don’t want to add any more.)
One 8×8 aluminum tray
- Feel free to add in any ingredients you’d like, such as jalapeños, bread crumbs, bacon, hot sauce, garlic, herbs, etc. Go crazy!
So let us know what you think….did this recipe smoke the competition or go up in flames?