Shredded meat tossed in creamy mac and cheese and finished with that delicious smoke flavor? Smoked Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese is a must-make!
Hello, Football Season.
Anyone else excited for a snap of cold weather and a reason to bust out some serious game day eats?
Because, I am.
And we all know football food is all. the. things. It’s cheesy, gooey spicy. It’s slathered, ranch-dipped, bacon-topped. Or smoked, barbecued, deep fried and all sorts of down-home delicious. As it rightly should be. With an extra side of durable napkins. Worth it.
Sure, we can dress up and break artisanal bread over manicured tables sharing locally-sourced crafted delicacies from time to time. But really, tailgating is the original food-bonding experience where any and all are welcome. That is until the game starts — and then we’d better at least agree on a team.
Tailgating goes back to the early 1900s when teams gathered in early fall and fans descended to cheer on their teams. And across the country, there are notable and worthwhile tailgating communities and events to scope out, fan or not, to enjoy elevated outdoor cooking and camaraderie without the fancy dinner spectacle.
Tailgating is showmanship of another kind.
From the newest grills to homemade mobile cooking contraptions, tailgating is, in my opinion, more fun, than what’s about to happen inside the stadium.
Traditional tailgating eats – new, fancy, always evolving or not, are often problem foods for a lot of people, as much as we love to have them. The substantial nature of the filling munchies can be hard on a lot of even their biggest fans.
From bacon wrapped brats to sweet and sticky wings, there’s not a bite I don’t find myself wanting to try. I don’t care that I’ve tried every chili in the row, I bet this one is different and worth tasting, too. And if you are lucky enough to be in a region where real-deal barbecue is going down, you know things are going to get dangerous.
This smoked pulled pork mac and cheese is the perfect make-ahead tailgating food.
It can be done in stages, covered, stored and heated on a grill when you are ready to dish things out. With layers of thick creamy cheese, pulled smoked pork shoulder and all the other goodness you can sink your teeth into, it’s the perfect sort of meal to share with friends at before the game starts.
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Smoked Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- ½ onion minced
- ½ sweet pepper chopped
- 4 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 ½ cup – 2 cups milk
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 5 oz cheddar cheese shredded
- 5 oz pepper jack cheese shredded
- 1 ½ cup shredded pulled pork
- 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained
- 8 oz elbow macaroni cooked al dente and drained
- 3 oz monterrey jack cheese shredded
- ½ cup tortilla chips crushed
- 1 tsp paprika
- Scallions assorted peppers, minced red onion and avocado for garnish
- Preheat your pellet smoker to 400.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a larger cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the peppers and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until soft.
- Sprinkle the flour over the pan and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Slowly whisk in the stock, creating a roux, making sure no lumps form. Cook for 2 minutes.
- When the roux has a good color, whisk in the milk, a 1/4 cup at a time.
- Add the brown mustard and cayenne and stir to combine.
- Slowly stir in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses to melt.
- Fold in the shredded pork, black beans, and cooked pasta.
- Top with the remaining monterrey jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Sprinkle with the paprika.
- Place the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in dollops over the surface.
- Place on the smoker and cook for 45 minutes to an hour until bubbling.
- Garnish as desired with a variety of sliced scallions, peppers, red onion, avocado, and cilantro for serving or serve in their own dishes and encourage people to pile on their own toppings.
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