Smoked Mac & Cheese

(a.k.a. Road Grill’s Smoked White Cheddar Macaroni - Food Network Canada).  Former CFL quarterback, Matt Dunigan, prepared this dish on Food Network's Road Grill.   It’s not a classically saucy type of mac & cheese but instead gets moisture from tomatoes & onions as well as cheese.  Prepare it in a cast iron Dutch oven.

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  • 1 lb (454gr) small elbow macaroni 
  • 1 lb (454gr) old white cheddar or smoked cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 slices of crisped bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped or canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • oil for drizzling
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes sliced ¼ inch thick; set aside the best looking slices for the top
  • 8 cups apple wood chips for smoking

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook macaroni until “al dente” about 7 - 8 minutes (careful not to overcook because they will cook again in the barbecue).  Drain the pasta and place back into the pot. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. 

Make smoke pouches. Lay out a large sheet of tin foil. Place 4 cups of chips at the center of the foil. Wrap to make a sealed pouch and poke with the tines of a fork for smoke to escape.  Repeat to make a second pouch.

Prepare barbecue for indirect smoking by turning one burner on high and leaving the remaining off.  Place one smoke pouch directly over the flame. Close the lid and wait for smoke. Adjust the heat to 300°F (176°C).  When smoke is not longer coming from the first pouch, replace it with the second one.

Assemble the mac and cheese in three layers as the barbecue heats up.  Place ⅓ of the macaroni on the bottom of the pot.  Top with ⅓ of the onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes and then spread ⅓ of the cheese evenly over top.  Arrange ⅓ of the tomato slices over the cheese, leaving the best slices for the last layer.  Repeat for the next two layers making sure to arrange the best tomato slices nicely on top.

Place the uncovered pot on the grill over the side with no heat. Close the barbecue lid and smoke for 1½  hours or until the cheese is bubbling and crispy on top. The cheddar will take on a nice smokey apple wood flavour.   Remove and let cool briefly.  Use a sturdy metal serving spoon to dig into the pot of smokey mac and cheese.

We adapted the directions to make them a little easier to follow without the assistance of the TV host, but otherwise made very few changes from the Episode, ROAD GRILL II #2034.  


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