Hickory Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese
If you ask anyone what their favorite side dish at barbeque, odds are they are going to point to that creamy, delicious Mac & cheese. Ever wonder how you can have restaurant quality Mac & cheese at your holiday dinners? Here’s your answer! This Mac and cheese recipe is adjustable to work with your favorite cheeses and even perfect to hit the smoker to add that extra hit of sumptuous, smoky flavor that we’ve come to know and love in southern/midwestern bbq. Hope you can enjoy this recipe as i have these past years!
8-10 oz Medium Shell Pasta- ( You can substitute your preferred pasta )
12 oz Hickory Smoked Bacon- Diced
1/2 cup Rendered Bacon Fat
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
2 Tbsp Granulated Onion
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper- To taste
Kosher Salt- To taste
3 Cups Whole Milk
2-4 Thin slices Manchego Cheese
1 cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Smoked Gouda- Shredded
1 tbsp Fresh Garlic- Finely Minced
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika ( Optional )
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1/2 Cup Crispy Bacon
1/2 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese-Shredded
Smoked Gouda & Aged Parmesan Cheese - Freshly Grated
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Turn oven to broil.
Place medium-large pot on stove, season water with Kosher salt and olive oil
Place medium size pan over medium-high heat and place half of the bacon in the pan, render until crisp and conserve the fat in a heat resistant cup, repeat until all bacon is rendered and fat is collected
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions, then strain and oil, set aside in bowl.
In a large pan, add your bacon fat and place over medium high heat until fat gets close to smoking, then reduce to medium heat. Add Garlic and cook for 8-15 seconds
Add flour to bacon fat mix and whisk constantly until mixture(roux) begins to brown.
Reduce to medium-low heat and begin mixing in milk in a steady stream until fully mixed. Once your mixture is cohesive, add your cheese in handfulls until full mixed. Add granulated onion and garlic, black pepper and some salt. Taste and adjust your seasoning— add the smoked paprika if desired.
Add pasta to a cast iron skillet, add half of your Monterey Jack , Gouda , and bacon for garnish to the pasta, making sure its evenly distributed.
Pour your cheese sauce over the pasta until fully covered, mix until all the pasta is covered. If sauce is leftover, reserve for extra when serving.
Garnish your Mac with the remaining cheese, bacon, parsley and a generous amount of black pepper.
Place in oven and broil until top of Mac becomes slightly crisp. Remove from oven and enjoy!
* If you prefer a cheese like cheddar, you can substitute the Monterey Jack, just make sure its gooey when it melts. Finish with your favorite bbq sauce for a sweet twist!
* Substitute the bacon fat for butter if you are vegetarian