The Creamiest Smoked Mac and Cheese
Make this rich and creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese in your smoker! You’ll love this smoked side dish recipe packed with bacon and four cheeses.
I have so many smoker recipes here on the site at Blackberry Babe. But, I’ve never gotten it *quite* right. We’ve made good smoked mac and cheese, but not *GREAT* smoked mac!
Well, I am happy to report that this mac and cheese recipe is IT! After 7 years of experimenting, we have a recipe that we’re proud to share.
The difference in this Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe? It’s CREAMY as heck! Anytime you cook mac and cheese after you assemble it, you risk drying it out a bit.
This is true for baked mac in cheese made in the oven or the smoker!
The secret ingredient in this recipe? I could say it’s one of the many cheeses used, or the bacon, or the breadcrumb topping!
But, I think the secret ingredient is plain old cream cheese! Adding cream cheese was what helped us finally achieve our desired level of creaminess and keep it nice and rich.
Can I make this Smoked Mac and Cheese ahead of time?
Yes! Make the macaroni and cheese as directed, but do not smoke. Cool completely and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.
Allow the macaroni and cheese to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before smoking.
Our goal is to keep this luscious mac as CREAMY as possible, so make sure that your water pan is full!
This will help you maintain a high moisture level within the smoker.
The goal of smoking this mac and cheese is to get a nice, smoky flavor added. Please know that it will NOT crisp or brown the panko bread crumb topping to your liking. The temperature simply is not high enough!
But if you want a golden brown topping, this is easily fixed! Just broil your mac and cheese in the oven on high for 1-2 minutes until the panko bread crumbs are golden brown.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
For the sauce:
- 12 tablespoons tablespoons butter, divided
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 8 ounces Havarti cheese, cubed
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
- 8 ounces smoked gouda, cubed
- 12 ounces bacon, cooked, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the topping:
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
For garnish (optional)
- Parsley or extra bacon
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot, adding elbow macaroni and cooking until al dente (following package instructions).
- Drain the pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Melt 9 tablespoons of butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour until a paste forms.
- Slowly pour in the half and half and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly.
- Reduce the heat to low and add in the cubed cream cheese, whisking until melted and smooth.
- Slowly add the other cheeses, whisking until melted and smooth.
- Add in the seasonings: dry mustard, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the cooked elbow macaroni and stir until all of the pasta is coated in the cheese sauce.
- Add in the crumbled bacon and stir to combine.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter (melted) and the panko breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle the butter and breadcrumb mixture over the macaroni.
- Place the cast iron skillet in the smoker and smoke for 60 minutes
- Remove from the smoker and serve immediately.
- (Optional) Broil in your oven for 1-2 minutes to crisp up the breadcrumbs.
- Garnish with additional bacon and parsley, if desired.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1007Total Fat 75gSaturated Fat 42gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 225mgSodium 1920mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 44g
The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.
If you love this creamy mac and cheese on the smoker recipe, I think you’ll also enjoy these smoker recipes on Blackberry Babe!