This is a recipe loosely based on John McLemore’s recipe from Dadgum That’s Good! I thought his version was good, but a tad dry. I tweaked it by adding buttermilk, two extra spices, Velveeta cheese and BACON. In my humble opinion, every mac ‘n’ cheese recipe should have bacon in it. Indeed — the world is a better place with more cheese and bacon.
For this recipe I use a 30″ Masterbuilt Smoker with an electronic temperature control. It’s pretty much idiot-proof and the result is amazing.
Don’t be alarmed when half of your neighborhood stops over and asks what that wonderful smell is. The combination of apple wood smoke, Gouda cheese and bacon is unbeatable.
One 16-oz. package elbow macaroni or fusilli pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup buttermilk
One 8-oz. block of cream cheese, cut into chunks
One 8-oz. block of Velveeta® cheese, cut into chunks
1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoned salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 cups extra-sharp shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
2 cups shredded Gouda cheese (divided)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy, then crumbled
1 cup apple wood chips for smoking
Disposable 11 x 9.5″ aluminum baking pan
Preheat your smoker to 225° F, and ensure the wood chip holder is inserted (without wood) so the interior of the smoker box stays hot. Completely shut the top vent.
Cook the pasta until just al dente in water with a pinch of salt. Drain well and set aside.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt the butter and whisk the flour into the butter. Be careful not to scorch it, and stir constantly. Cook for two minutes until the sauce is bubbly and thick. Slowly whisk in the milk and buttermilk and bring to a low boil. Cook another five minutes until thickened. Add the Lawry’s salt, white pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Stir in the crumbled bacon, cubed cream cheese and Velveeta, and mix until smooth.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine one cup of the sharp cheddar and Gouda cheese and all of the Parmesan cheese, cooked pasta and the cream sauce. Stir gently, then spoon the mixture into a 11 x 9.5″ disposable aluminum baking tray coated generously with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of shredded cheddar and Gouda cheese.
When the smoker is preheated, load the chip holder with apple wood. Place the baking pan on the center rack, seal the door and cook for one hour. Leave the top smoke vent open only 1/4″ for full flavor.
Remove, let set five minutes and serve.