I would love to tell you that this is a quick and easy recipe. That it’s something you can whip up in about 20 minutes. But I can’t. If you want quick and easy you may want to search for another recipe. If you’re looking for a recipe that will challenge your skills without taxing them to the max, this is for you. If you’re looking for a recipe that showcases your ability as a smoker, then keep reading. If you’re looking a recipe that will give you a mac & cheese that’s smokey, gooey, with rich deep flavors, then continue to scroll.
What to expect:
A very rich creamy mac and cheese with deep hints of smoke. The grilled peppers add yet another layer of flavor while the green onions not only bring texture but their own flavor. The mustard lends slight acidity to break up the heavy flavor and bring it to life.
What you will need:
9X13 baking dish buttered
45 minutes for roasting and prepping the vegetables.
6 minutes for cooking the macaroni.
20 minutes total for making the béchamel (more about that later).
30 minutes for the final cook.
*Times do not include time to set up grill and get coals to lit and to temperature.
3 red peppers
3 pablano peppers (or green peppers if pablanos are unavailable)
3 bunches of green onions
2 4.5 oz cans of green chilis
2 jalapenos (optional but highly recommended )
1lb of elbow macaroni
½ cup olive oil (divided)
1 ½ lbs of smoked sharp cheddar (shredded) (divided)
*Your own cold smoked cheese is HIGHLY recommended for this, but if you don’t have any or the time I’m sure store bought will work, just not as well.
½ lb quality Parmesan cheese (shredded)(divided)
1 stick unsalted butter (more for greasing the pan)
6 tbls all flour
4 cups whole milk
¾ cup heavy (aka whipping cream)
½ tsp white pepper (ground black will work if it’s what you have)
2 tbls prepared mustard (this will be to taste)
How we did it:
Begin by roasting your peppers on a grill over direct heat, until well charred on all sides.
Once they are done place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set aside, and let cool.
While the peppers are cooling cook your macaroni according to the package directions…… with a few exceptions.
- HEAVILY salt the water. It should taste like the ocean.
- Add a liberal amount of olive oil. (¼ cup or so. Or you can do it like I do, just pour it until you get a good oil slick.)
- Check the pasta at the ½ point of cooking, it’s usually ready at this point. It should be firm to the bite, but not “crunchy”.
I’ve found that these 3 things VASTLY improves all of my pasta cooking.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain into a colander, shaking a few times to remove excess water. Add the remaining olive oil, mix well, and let set. This will keep your pasta from sticking together while it sets.
Remove the skins and seed pods from your now cool peppers, retaining as much of the juice as you can.
Cut the peppers into a medium dice.
Toss in a bowl with any juices you may have been able to save.
Chop the green onions along with the firm green parts and add to the bowl with the peppers.
Dump the green chilies in with the bowl containing the peppers and onions.
Mix your shredded cheeses together, then set aside 1 ½ cups for finishing.
Begin making the bèchamel.
1st mak a roux
Melt the one stick of butter in large stock pot over medium low heat.
Sprinkle flour over melted butter a tablespoon at a time and whisk in.
Once all the flour is added continue to cook and whisk or stir until it turns a light tan color. This may take longer than you may expect.
Once the roux is ready, gently add the four cups milk and ¾ heavy cream whisking constantly.
Raise heat to medium high and bring to a low boil while continuing to whisk.
Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook while stirring.
Once it coats the back of a spoon it’s ready. KEEP AN EYE ON IT, once it starts to go, it happens fast.
*If your sauce does become too thick, just give it a splash of milk to thin it down slightly.
Remove from heat, and exhale, take a drink. The tricky part is done.
While the bèchamel is still hot add your shredded cheese, about a strong handful at a time. Reserving about a cup and a half.
Stirring until melted after each addition.
Once the cheese is all melted, dump in the bowl of vegetables and mix.
Add the 2 tablespoons mustard, mix well.
Taste. This will be the primary flavor profile of your mac and cheese. If it taste to heavy, add a little more mustard. However you don’t want to taste the mustard but it should at this point have a barely, almost unnoticeable acidity to it.
If it taste well balanced and is to your liking, add the macaroni and stir well.
Take another taste, because it’s time for another decision. If the smoke is solid your not going to want to add more smoke by smoking the final product on your grill.
Pour into the buttered 9X13 pan.
*Recipe up to this point can be made 1-2 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.
When ready to cook, sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Set up grill for indirect cooking, medium to slow coals.
If you want more smoke nows the time to add it. I recomend something light at this point like apple, cherry, or maybe oak.
Place pan on grill.
Cook until the cheese on top starts to turn a nice golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Foil the top and continue to cook until it’s heated through, about another 20 minutes.
There you go,all that’s left to do now is enjoy some very creamy, smokey mac and cheese.
Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.
*All recipes on this site are solely those of the author unless otherwise stated.