Smoked and cheese is a barbecue classic.

Smoked mac and cheese appeals to all ages, and while it is tempting to just grab the box version in a pinch, a scratch made option is not nearly as difficult as most think.  So follow along with this recipe to wow your guests with your culinary mastery. 

This recipe is perfect for the Traeger Timberline XL.  Not only can you use the smoker to finish things off with that delicious wood fired flavor, but all the prep from boiling the noodles to creating the roux can be done on the integrated induction cook top. 

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Why should you try this recipe

  • Easy & delicious side: With just a few simple steps, this recipe serves as the perfect accompaniment while you prepare a variety of mouthwatering, slow-smoked meats.
  • Make it the night before: This dish can be prepared in advance. Simply boil the noodles, make the cheese sauce, and combine everything in an aluminum pan. After refrigerating overnight, warm it up on the smoker when you’re ready to enjoy.
  • Smoky alternative to traditional recipe: The added depth of flavor achieved by smoking this dish for 30 minutes or longer elevates this recipe from good to exceptional! The noodles and cheese quickly absorb the smoky aroma, so exercise caution not to overdo it on the smoker.

Ingredients for Smoked Mac & Cheese Bake

  • 1 Cup Colby Jack Cheese:  This cheese offers a gentle, distinct flavor, achieved by combining Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses.
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese:  This cheese originates from southern Italy and is a semi-soft non-aged cheese made from stretched-curd. 
  • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar is a beloved, orange-colored cheese commonly enjoyed in the UK. The sharp variation offers a strong, sometimes earthy flavor.
  • 4 TBSP Salted Butter:  Just grab a simple stick of salted butter, half of which will be used in the creation of the roux.
  • ¼ Cup Flour: My family has allergies, so I used simple all-purpose gluten-free flour. If you don’t have allergies, feel free to substitute regular all-purpose flour.
  • 2 Cups Half & Half: I like using half and half as it gives the cheese sauce a smooth yet thick consistency. If you’re ever in a pinch, you can substitute whole milk or even almond milk, but you might want to use less if you’d prefer a thicker cheese sauce.
  • 1 Lb Macaroni Noodles:  Again, I used gluten-free macaroni for this recipe, but grab whatever noodle you’d prefer.  Even consider using a rotini or a bow tie or some other form of pasta.
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Q Rock’s Bourbon Brisket Rub Spice Blend: This spice blend offers some unique black pepper and salt flakes, both aged in Bourbon barrels, giving off a unique smoky flavor. 
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Q Rock’s Big Easy Spice Blend: By including some Big Easy, you can infuse this smoked mac and cheese dish with delicious Cajun spices.

Parmesan Cracker Crust

  • 1 Cup Crackers: I chose some simple gluten-free crackers, but feel free to use your favorite crackers for this ingredient.
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese: This is a delicious Italian hard, granular cheese made from cow’s milk, then aged for 12 months. 
  • ¼ Cup Butter: Here is where you use the remaining amount of the stick of salted butter, melting it to hold together and toast the crackers and parmesan.

Instructions for making Smoked Mac & Cheese Bake

1. Boil the noodles: Bring a pot of water up to a boil, and don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to the water before adding your macaroni noodles and boiling for roughly 7 minutes until the noddles are soft, yet still slightly crunchy.

2. Make the roux: In a medium saucepan, add the butter and allow it to melt.  Once melted, whisk in the flour and mix until in becomes a paste. 

3. Melt the cheese: With the roux formed, add in the half & half and sprinkle in some Smoked Q Rock’s Big Easy Spice.  Allow that to warm and thicken slightly, then layer in each of the cheeses and allow to melt while stirring continuously.   

4. Mix the noodles and cheese: With the cheese sauce melted and the noodles cooked, start by placing half the noodles in the base on the pan then layer on half the cheese sauce.  Fold the noodles, don’t stir them, they may break up.  Then layer on the remaining noodles before pouring on the rest of the cheese sauce.  Finally, layer in the Smoked Q Rock’s Bourbon Brisket Rub and the Smoked Q Rock’s Big Easy Spice blend, then mix it all together to incorporate. 

5. Make and add cracker crust: Begin by melting the remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat on the Timberline XLs induction top.  With the butter melted, add the crushed crackers and the parmesan cheese and allow them to toast over medium heat.   

6. Smoke at 225º: The final step can be done right away, or pull the aluminum pan out of the fridge and smoke this to temp right next to the protein you have going.  But if you are doing it by itself, I run this at 225º for about 30-45 minutes.

Variations and Substitutions:

Substitution or variation: This recipe is ripe for changes and customizations to fit your preferences. Whether you swap regular noodles for the gluten-free ones I used, mix and match different cheeses like pepper jack or gouda, or just go with simple salt and pepper instead of the Smoked Q spices, this recipe is one that everyone can make into their own with little effort. 

Tips and tricks for making this Smoked Mac & Cheese Bake

Noodles al dente: To ensure the best results, it’s crucial not to overcook the noodles when boiling. This recipe finishes up in the smoker, where the noodles will finish cooking.

Get creative with types of cheese: Grab the Gouda, grab the Pepper Jack. Get creative with the cheeses used in this recipe, and you can turn one recipe into five or six different versions to suit your needs. 

Error on the side of creamy & cheesy: There’s nothing better than a deliciously creamy mac and cheese, but with this recipe, it’s crucial to avoid ending up with a drier outcome than desired. Therefore, don’t skimp on the creaminess, cheesiness, and gooeyness when preparing the cheese sauce.

No ratings yet

Smoked Mac & Cheese Bake

Servings: 10 people
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Smoked Mac & Cheese Finished
Barbecue has many delicioussides, but a classic favorite is mac & cheese. It attracts all ages, andwhile grabbing the boxed version is tempting, making it from scratch is not asdifficult as it seems. Try out this recipe to wow your guests at your nextbackyard fireup!

Equipment

  • 1 Traeger Timerline XL
  • 1 Medium Sauce Pan
  • 1 Medium Bowl
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 8×5 Aluminum Pan

Ingredients 

Noodles & Cheese Sauce

Cracker Crumble Topping

  • 1 Cup Crackers
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup salted butter

Instructions 

  • Bring a pot of water up to a boil, and don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to the water before adding your macaroni noodles and boiling for roughly 7 minutes until the noodles are soft, yet still slightly crunchy.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the butter and allow it to melt.  Once melted, whisk in the flour and mix until in becomes a paste. 
  • With the roux formed, add in the half & half and sprinkle in some Smoked Q Rock’s Big Easy Spice.  Allow that to warm and thicken slightly, then layer in each of the cheeses and allow to melt while stirring continuously.
  • With the cheese sauce melted and the noodles cooked, start by placing half the noodles in the base on the pan then layer on half the cheese sauce.  Fold the noodles, don’t stir them, they may break up.  Then layer on the remaining noodles before pouring on the rest of the cheese sauce.  Finally, layer in the Smoked Q Rock’s BourbonBrisket Rub and the Smoked Q Rock’s Big Easy Spice blend, then mix it all together to incorporate.
  • Begin by melting the remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat on the Timberline XLs induction top.  With the butter melted, add the crushed crackers and the parmesan cheese and allow them to toast over medium heat.
  • The final step can be done right away, or pull the aluminum pan out of the fridge and smoke this to temp right next to the protein you have going.  But if you are doing it by itself, I run this at 225º for about 30-45 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 18gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 462mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 812IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 360mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Tried this recipe?Mention @drizzlemeskinny or tag #drizzlemeskinny!

You May Also Like

About Mike Rauch

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating