Looking for a kicking campfire recipe or maybe something to really knock their socks off at the next bbq – this Smoked Jalapeno Mac and Cheese is perfect for that. Perfectly creamy mac and cheese with a hint of heat and smoke.
On a mission to create the perfect bbq platter that could be recreated without any fancy tools or tech, I wrangled out basic charcoal, wood chips and dry spices for my smoked pork spare ribs.
Then I went on a hunt for a sturdy cast iron skillet to put over the flames. I was determined to create the perfect campfire mac and cheese recipe that would go down proudly next to some of the finest barbecue I’ve created yet.
I was craving something smooth and stick to your ribs kind of good. It was an act of desperation, cuz if I am going to throw down calories on carbs, they have got to be good, otherwise, I just save more for meat.
This smoked jalapeno mac and cheese was just what I was looking for. The pancetta kicked things off with a little crispness, and the heavy dose of cheddar cheese melted smooth with the Stone Ruination Double IPA (my current favorite cooking beer. Sorry Dogfish, no hard feelings.) and the heat from the jalapeno balanced everything out.
Just to make sure things were extra creamy, I packed little Velveeta bombs (yep, just coined that) into the mix before topping with panko and letting come to over the smoky pecan chunks I had heating over the coals.
Whether pitching a tent and camping all weekend long, or using a grill at home, this smoked jalapeno mac and cheese is a must try.
Smoked Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- 6 oz macaroni cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup diced pancetta
- 1 onion diced
- 1 jalapeno stemmed seeded and minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- 8 oz Stone Ruination Double IPA or similar beer
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 oz Dubliner shredded, or other sharp cheese, divided
- 4 oz Velveeta cheese cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/3 cup Panko
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- In a large cast iron skillet, heated on a grill over low heat, cook the pancetta until the fat has started to render.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
- The pancetta should be nice and crispy but not burnt.
- Stir in the jalapeno and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and stir to coat. Add the butter.
- Whisk in the beer a little at a time, to form the roux. Season with salt and pepper.
- Melt in the cheddar cheese and 3 ounces of the Dubliner.
- Stir until melted and creamy.
- Fold in the cooked noodles.
- Press the cubes of Velveeta into the mac and cheese randomly.
- Toss the panko, paprika and remaining 3 ounces of cheese in a bowl to combine.
- Sprinkle over the top of the pan.
- Cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes, directly over low heat, until bubbly with grill lid closed if using.
- Remove foil and cook another 5 to 10 minutes to brown.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.