Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe On the Traeger Ironwood XL

Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe On the Traeger Ironwood XL

If you’re in the mood for a gooey, decadent treat, try my Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe. This dish contains four types of cheese, multiple one-of-a-kind seasonings, and a crisp topping that’s to die for. Plus, it all smokes to perfection on the Traeger Ironwood XL, making it perfect for cozy dinners or cookouts.

This recipe comes together in less than 3 hours and is a fabulous weeknight meal. Kids and adults alike will ask for seconds…and keep coming back to the table for more great memories. 

Mac and Cheese With Bacon | Heath Riles BBQ

Feel free to customize this recipe to fit your family’s preferences. Try adding brisket, different types of cheese, buffalo sauce, or veggies. The sky’s the limit!

Here’s how I make the ultimate Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese. 

The Ingredients

These ingredients create the best Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese. 

  • Bacon. There’s nothing better than mac and cheese..unless, of course, you add bacon! Watch the video to learn how I cook crisp, decadent bacon. 
    • Pasta. I used elbow macaroni, but you can use your favorite type of pasta, such as bowtie or pasta wheels.
      • Cheese. This recipe contains four different types of cheese. I used cream cheese and shredded Gouda, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack. This combination gave the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese the perfect texture. 
        • Killer Hogs Hot Sauce. If you like a good hot sauce, try this one from my good buddy Malcolm Reed. It features aged peppers for the perfect hint of heat. 
          • Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub. People worldwide are ditching their traditional salt and pepper shakers for my elevated AP rub. It contains the perfect blend of salt, pepper, and garlic. It’s a great addition to fries, steak, salads, eggs, and more. 
            • Heath Riles BBQ Beef Rub. My Beef Rub makes steaks and roasts shine, but it also adds great flavor to chicken, mac and cheese, and pork. Some even use it on veggies!
              • Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Rub. My Sweet Rub was the first blend I ever perfected. It has just a touch of heat on the back end. We use it for Bloody Marys, ribs, chicken, pork, turkey, and almost everything else. 

              The Smoker Setup

              Here’s the main equipment I used for this recipe. More of my grilling favorites are in the Equipment and Tools section. 

              • Pellet grill/smoker. I smoked this mac and cheese with bacon on the Traeger Ironwood XL. This pit is incredible because you can use it to grill or smoke. The Traeger Ironwood XL has many excellent features, like a pellet sensor, a super smoke button, and easy transportation. 

              You can’t go wrong with the Traeger Ironwood XL if you cook large quantities of food. It’s roomy without taking up your entire patio and ultra-durable, lasting for years!

              • Charcoal. I stoked the pit with Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood Pellets. I love this brand because you get clean smoke with no fillers. It gives the steak a rich, deep flavor that tastes authentic. This charcoal burns hot and fast!

              The Process for Making Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese

              The video and recipe card provide a detailed demonstration of this recipe. For now, here’s a quick rundown of how I made this Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese. 

              • Fire up the pit. I stoked the Traeger Ironwood XL with Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood Pellets and fired it up to 325℉
              • Cook the bacon. I placed a YETI 12" Cast Iron Skillet under the grill’s racks and laid the bacon over the top. This allowed the grease to drip into the pan, which I’ll later use for my roux. I shut the lid and let the bacon smoke for one hour until crisp. I like to undercook my bacon a little, as it’ll crisp more once cooled. I chopped my bacon to ensure every bite of mac and cheese included meat.
              • Make the roux. I kept the grease in the YETI 12" Cast Iron Skillet and moved the pan to a burner set to low. Then, I added the butter, stirring until melted. I whisked in the flour, mixing until light brown. I stirred in the ground mustard, Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub, and half and half. I brought the roux to a simmer and let it go until thick, then added the cream cheese and about half of the shredded cheese. To finish the roux, I added Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub and Heath Riles BBQ Beef Rub to taste. 
              • Assemble the dish. I transferred the cooked macaroni to a large kitchen bowl and poured the roux over top. I gently stirred until the mixture was homogenous. Then, I added a large handful of the remaining shredded cheddar, chopped bacon, and a dash of Killer Hogs Hot Sauce. 
              • Add topping. I transferred the mac and cheese to the YETI 12" Cast Iron Skillet, layering it with the shredded cheese. I topped the dish with more shredded cheese, then combined the melted butter,  breadcrumbs, and Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Rub. I sprinkled the topping over the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese.
              • Start cooking. I set the pan back on the Traeger Ironwood XL and smoked it for about 45 minutes, spinning it at the halfway mark. The only thing left was to take the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese off the pit and let it cool before digging in. 

              The Results

              The combination of four types of cheese created a gourmet, well-rounded baked mac and cheese with bacon. If you’re a mac and cheese lover, you’ve got to try this recipe! You’ll never go back to boxed mac and cheese. 

              Storing Leftovers

              You can store Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese in the fridge for 3-5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it as the texture is too different when thawed. 

              Equipment and Tools

              Traeger Ironwood XL, Royal Oak Charcoal Hardwood Pellets, YETI 12" Cast Iron Skillet, cutting board, mixing bowl, wire cooling rack.

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