If you’ve ever enjoyed the heavenly food called smoked cheese, you are going to LOVE my Smoked Mac and Cheese.
My Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe is creamy, rich, and satisfying. It comes together in a quick 15 minutes. Get it on the Traeger and, after a couple of hours, you’ve got a surefire crowd pleaser!
Here’s everything you’ll need for Smoked Mac and Cheese:
- Elbow noodles. This recipe uses one pound of macaroni (also known as elbow noodles). I used Barilla brand.
- Milk and Heavy whipping cream. The combination of milk and heavy whipping cream helps cook our pasta to creamy perfection.
- Butter. You know we’ve got to have butter!
- Seasonings. Seasoning this dish is made easy with my Garlic Butter Rub, my Everyday Rub, and some Killer Hogs Hot Sauce.
- Cheese! My Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe has five (count ‘em) FIVE cheeses. I use a good variety of cheeses in this dish because each one brings a different character and adds to the overall insanely gooey texture of the finished Smoked Mac and Cheese.
- Cream Cheese.
- Monterey jack. 1 cup, freshly shredded.
- Colby jack. 1 cup, freshly shredded.
- White cheddar. 1 ½ cup, freshly shredded.
- Cheddar. 1 cup, freshly shredded.
If you’re wondering why I call for freshly shredded jack and cheddar cheeses, it’s because the pre-shredded, packaged stuff is coated with starches and preservatives. Those starches and preservatives prevent the cheeses from melting properly and can result in an “off” texture.
The Smoker Setup
Here’s the main equipment I used and how I set it up. See the equipment and tools section for everything I used to make this Smoked Mac and Cheese.
- Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for this recipe. Pellet grills can sometimes be confusing as they can be used for grilling or smoking. Grilling involves cooking at a high temperature over direct heat for a relatively short period of time. Smoking involves cooking at a low temperature over indirect heat for a longer period. In this recipe, we smoke our pan of macaroni and cheese at the low temperature of 275º for approximately 2 hours.
- Rack. I like to cook this Smoked Mac and Cheese on the middle rack of the Traeger. Make sure it is in position before you put the pan on the grill.
- Pellets. Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets, impart a subtle smoky flavor to my Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe.
The Process for Making Smoked Mac and Cheese
The detailed procedure for this smoked mac and cheese on the Traeger Timberline 1300 pellet grill is covered in my video and the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s what the process looks like in general.
- Prep the grill. Load the grill with the charcoal pellets. I find that Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets give this mac and cheese a nice, smoky flavor without overwhelming the overall taste of the dish. Get the Traeger heating to 275º while you prepare the macaroni and cheese.
- Drop the macaroni into a pan. Place the pound of macaroni noodles into a half-size deep aluminum pan. The disposable pan makes for easy handling on the grill and even easier cleanup.
- Add the milk and cream. First, pour 3 cups of milk over the noodles, followed by a pint of heavy whipping cream. Stir well to mix.
- Sprinkle on the seasonings. Generously sprinkle my Everyday Rub over the noodle and cream mixture, followed by another generous sprinkling of my Garlic Butter Rub. Don’t be afraid of going heavy on the seasoning, as the pasta needs quite a bit of it.
- Add hot sauce. Sprinkle on my buddy Malcolm Reed’s Killer Hogs Hot Sauce. Use as much or as little as you like. Stir well to mix the hot sauce and all the seasonings into the macaroni mixture.
- Add butter. Evenly distribute the half stick of butter throughout the macaroni mixture.
- Add cream cheese. Evenly distribute the cream cheese throughout the macaroni mixture.
- Add the shredded cheeses. Sprinkle on most of the Monterey jack, Colby jack, white cheddar, and regular cheddar cheeses, holding back about a third of each to place on top of the dish later.
- Get the macaroni and cheese on the grill. Place the pan of mac and cheese on the middle rack of the Traeger grill, then close the lid.
- Wait, then stir. Let the macaroni and cheese cook on the Traeger for an hour and a half. When the time is up, give it a good stir and leave the lid up.
- Add the remaining cheeses. Sprinkle on the remaining cheeses, but do not stir in.
- Close the lid. Let the macaroni and cheese cook for another half hour.
- Remove and enjoy!
This Smoked Mac and Cheese is ooey gooey goodness on the inside with a beautifully caramelized cheese crust. The subtle smokiness takes the flavor of this mac and cheese off the charts!
Serving Suggestions for Smoked Mac and Cheese
Here are some ways you can enjoy my Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe:
- As a side for BBQ. This Smoked Mac and Cheese is the perfect side to any grilled or smoked beef, pork, or chicken.
- As a sandwich filling. Make up a batch of my Easy Pulled Pork, make a sandwich of the pork, some of this Smoky Mac and Cheese, and top it with my
- With a glass of your favorite red wine. There’s something about this Smoked Mac and Cheese that pairs beautifully with a red wine.