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Now I want to smoke my family recipe mac-n-cheese - Not crazy, right? Appreciate any advice!

Danabw

Smoke Blower
SMF Premier Member
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Joined May 29, 2020
We have a long-standing tradition of baked macaroni and cheese at holiday dinners, going back to my grandfather making it (back in the time when men just didn't cook at home) when he heard my mom saying she was too busy and didn't have time to make it one Thanksgiving. :D I made it with him several times late in his life, some of my most cherished memories.

It's a recipe based on a roux made up of the usual suspects (butter/flour) with the addition of some salt and dry mustard, cooked until it's nice and golden brown. For cheese the recipe started out just using the sharpest cheddar my mom/grandfather could find, but over the years I've varied it using lots of different cheeses, still based on a very sharp cheddar (we love the sharp bite!), but also including other cheeses like fontina (which has become a family favorite addition that I now include in pretty much every batch), gruyere, gouda, a little parm, various smoked cheeses, garlic, sriracha sauce, some fun spicy cheeses (e.g., Tickler), etc. Milk and cheese are added to roux and heated until the cheese is melted, combined w/elbows and poured into baking pan, then topped with a layer of more cheese, panko, and lots of smoky paprika. Baked at 375 for 20-25 minutes. It's a relatively firm yet still creamy version of mac and cheese, and I can't imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without it.

Looks like this:
20191209_190716.jpg


I've made it w/smoked cheeses, but now I'd like to go all in and smoke it!

So I'm wondering:
  1. Cook most of the way in the oven and finish in the smoker?
  2. Cook it all the way in the smoker?
  3. What temperature in smoker, and how long in the smoker in either case?
  4. Smoke type? I'm thinking apple. I also have mesquite and hickory.
  5. Smoke in our normal glass baking pan OK? Wife won't be happy if I mess up the pans. ;-)
  6. The panko gives it a great crust on top, don't want to give that up so I want to ensure the method I follow will preserve that.
  7. Things to beware...are there any dragons here?
 

normanaj

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Feb 2, 2014
M+C in the smoker is awesome,done it several times.

I do mine the whole way in the smoker (MES).I do throw it in the oven under the broiler for a minute or two to give it that nice crust on top.
 

Danabw

Smoke Blower
SMF Premier Member
141
105
Joined May 29, 2020
M+C in the smoker is awesome,done it several times.

I do mine the whole way in the smoker (MES).I do throw it in the oven under the broiler for a minute or two to give it that nice crust on top.
Excellent, thanks for confirming. Do you smoke it the normal cooking time that you'd use in the oven, and then add on the broiling, or do you use a different cooking time in the smoker than you would use in the oven?

Since my smoker max is 275, I was wondering if I should keep it in the smoker longer than my normal 25 minute cooking time in the oven at 375.
 

Steve H

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Feb 18, 2018
Nope, do the whole cook in the smoker. The glass dish will get dirty from the smoke. But it'll clean off ok. I've done it with hickory. But apple or comp. blend should be great as well. Do a search here. It is a pretty popular dish.
 

Danabw

Smoke Blower
SMF Premier Member
141
105
Joined May 29, 2020
Excellent, thanks very much for your help!
 

vol47

Newbie
6
10
Joined Nov 25, 2015
I tried to do smoked mac and cheese topped with a bacon weave. Tasted delicious, but it was pretty greasy and a couple of bites was all you could take. 😂
 

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