We love cooking foods in our smoker. It’s probably our favorite way to cook. The meats always come out so tender, and that smoke flavor is just incredible. We always throw in a variety of foods. It’s like doing all the cooking for the week at once. Last time we made some incredible smoked jalapeño poppers. This time I wanted to take things up a notch, and this is what I came up with: smoked jalapeño popper macaroni and cheese. Oh. My. Gawd. I truly wish I could mail everyone some of this so you can experience exactly how tasty and delicious it really is. I died and went to heaven. This is definitely the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had.
I was a little nervous going into this because I’ve never made macaroni and cheese from scratch before. Who has time for that? So we usually get the stuff in a box. To get the flavor I wanted, I knew it had to be the real stuff. It wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting.
I diced and cooked the bacon ahead of time. I even reserved some of the bacon grease for sautéing the jalapeños. While the pasta was cooking, I made the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes, whisking the whole time. Make sure your heat doesn’t get too high. My stove got a little crazy and I had to re-do this part. Then you whisk in the milk and let it cook until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the cheeses (except what you’ve got set aside to go on top). Then combine the sauce, cooked pasta, and a cup of the reserved pasta water in a large mixing bowl. I just mixed it all together in the pot I used for cooking the pasta. No need for a million extra dishes. Don’t forget to stir in the sautéed jalapeños and cooked bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t need to add much as the bacon I used seemed a little saltier than usual.
Steal a few bites, or a small bowl. Enjoy just a little now; it’s already very tasty. Pour the rest of it into a greased foil baking pan. Top it with the remaining cheese, if you have any left from your kitchen “helpers” AKA snitchers. Then comes the very important part. It goes in the smoker for two hours at 220-230 degrees. If you do not have a smoker this could also be baked in the oven. I would say 350 degrees until it gets all bubbly and the cheese on top melts. It wouldn’t have that smoked flavor, but it’s already ridiculously delicious as it is.
It’s creamy. It’s cheesy. With the jalapeños seeded and deveined it wasn’t spicy, but it still had that yummy jalapeño flavor. And it was smoky. Monster liked it so much that he asked for a third serving until he realized he was full. It went really well with the steaks Hubs made. That man can cook. Give him a grill and a smoker, and he’ll make you the best meal you’ve ever had.
Are you drooling yet? You should be. What’s your favorite way to make macaroni and cheese?
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- 6 jalapeños, seeded, deveined, and diced
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
- 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining.
- Dice and cook your bacon, set aside.
- Saute diced jalapeno (optional: use a little bacon grease as oil), set aside with the cooked bacon.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for two minutes, stirring continually.
- Whisk in milk and let it cook until it thickens, approximately 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the cheeses (8 oz cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, 1 cup colby jack) and heat until the cheeses melt.
- Combine cooked pasta, sauce, and reserved pasta water (either in the pasta pot or a large mixing bowl). Stir in jalapeños and bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour mixture into a greased foil baking pan. Top it with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
- Smoke for 2 hours at 220-230 degrees.
- If you want to make it spicy, do not devein and seed the jalapeños.
- If you do not have a smoker, this recipe is great in the oven as well. Bake at 350 degrees until it gets bubbly and the cheese on top has melted.