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Smoked Mac & Cheese with Sausage

Good, old-fashioned comfort food with a smoky twist. Rich, creamy mac & cheese with a light smokiness and smoked sausage on the side.

Print Recipe

Ingredients

Smoked Mac & Cheese with Sausage
  • Sausage of your choice
  • 3¼ cups dry rotini pasta or about 5 cups cooked pasta (other noodle types can be substituted for rotini)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3-4 cups milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded or cubed
  • 1 cup Gouda, shredded or cubed
  • ⅔ cup Pepper Jack, shredded or cubed
  • ½ cup Parmesan, shredded or cubed
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Paprika to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Dash of chipotle chile powder or cayenne for a little heat (optional)

Items Needed

  • Barrel House Cooker
  • Aluminum pan at least 4" deep, about 6"x10"
  • 2 Half Grill Grates (14D)
  • Full Grate (18C)
  • H-Frame
  • Wood chips (optional, but recommended)
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Makes 5-6 large servings (or 7-10 smaller servings) of mac & cheese and as much sausage as you cook

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions for al dente pasta or just 1 minute short of al dente. While the pasta is cooking, cube and shred the cheeses and set them aside.
  2. When the pasta is done, drain the water and toss it in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together, then set it aside.
  3. Begin the sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter come to a simmer but do not let it burn.
  4. Once the butter is simmering, whisk in the flour. Whisk continuously until the butter and flour form a thick paste.
  5. Slowly whisk in about 2 cups of milk, whisking out any lumps. Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce begins to thicken up, stirring frequently.
Cubed Cheese

All the cheese cubed up and ready for the sauce.

Mixing the Sauce

Blending the cheese cubes into the sauce.

  1. At this point, add in the garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and chipotle chile powder or cayenne. Start with ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of the other seasonings, and add more to your taste preference.
  2. Add in the cream cheese and continue whisking until the cream cheese is well blended.
  3. Start adding in the other cheeses slowly (in no particular order), stirring continuously while the cheeses melt down and create a smooth sauce. Keep blending in the cheese and stirring until all the cheese has been added. (Note that the sauce will be very thick with all the cheese added, so milk will need to be added to thin it out. Again, the amounts listed in the ingredients are meant to be a starting point. Add more cheese if you feel the sauce needs it.)
  1. Once all the cheese has been added and is blended into a thick, smooth sauce, add milk as necessary to thin it out. Let it continue cooking for about 10 minutes after all the cheese has completely melted down. The sauce needs to be fairly runny since the smoke in the cooker will dry it out and tighten the sauce up.
  2. Lightly spray the aluminum pan with cooking spray, then pour in the cooked noodles. They should only fill it about halfway.
Macaroni Noodles in Pan

Fill the pan about halfway with cooked noodles.

Pouring the Cheese Sauce

Pouring the cheese sauce into the noodles. Leave some room at the top of the pan.

  1. Pour the sauce over the noodles, leaving about half an inch of pan from the top. It will seem like an excessive amount of sauce, but it will thicken up during the cook.
  2. Top the sauced noodles with breadcrumbs. The amount of breadcrumbs depends on your desired level of crunchiness on top. Feel free to add a little extra cheese to the top if you have any leftover.
  1. After lighting the cooker according to our instructions, we recommend adding a few wood chips right before the mac & cheese goes into the cooker for a stronger smoke flavor.
  2. Carefully place the full mac & cheese pan on the two Half Grill Grates (or Full Grate for 18C owners) in the middle level to cook.
  3. Let it cook for about 15 minutes before adding the sausage. Use the H-Frame alone at the top for longer sausages. For shorter sausages, you may need to use the H-Frame with an additional grate, buy a Full Grate, or wait to cook them until the mac & cheese is resting. We don’t recommend placing the sausage on the same level as the mac & cheese because it may block air circulation.
Mac & Cheese in Cooker with Sausage

Place the Mac & Cheese on the middle level and use the H-Frame at the top for the sausage.

Mac & Cheese with the BHC

Smoked Mac & Cheese with Smoked Sausage next to the cooker.

  1. Let the sausage and the mac & cheese cook for another 30 minutes before removing both from the cooker. Be sure raw sausage is fully cooked to 160°F internally. Let the mac & cheese rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese to thicken up even more.
  1. Let the sausage and the mac & cheese cook for another 30 minutes before removing both from the cooker. Be sure raw sausage is fully cooked to 160°F internally. Let the mac & cheese rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese to thicken up even more.
Finished Smoked Mac & Cheese with Sausage

Finished Smoked Mac & Cheese with sliced up Smoked Sausage.