By Christie Vanover | Published January 8, 2022 | Last Updated March 15, 2023
I’m sure you’ve had bad mac and cheese. You know that kind that’s just dry where the noodles don’t even stick together, and it’s totally not worth the calories.
I promise you, this is the complete opposite of that. This is worth every single calorie, and you’re going to want seconds and thirds, so really don’t even count the calories. It’s not health food.
If you’re on TikTok, you have to be following @groarkboysbbq. At the time of this post, the dude has 3 million followers. If you’re not on TikTok, don’t worry. You can also find him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
As the “Meat Teacher,” he usually shows off awesome barbecued meat, but one day, he shared his smoked mac and cheese recipe, and it went viral. Over 1 million views, to date.
To my knowledge, he’s never shared the exact measurements of all of the ingredients he uses, but he’s come pretty close. Close enough, that I was able to copy what he did, and I threw together a lil’ duet / remix making it with him side-by-side.
Below is the recipe I knocked out, which I’ve posted with Matt’s permission. Thanks Matt!
It’s all about the cheese sauce
What makes this smoked mac and cheese so worthy of this praise, is the ultimate cheese sauce. It includes butter, milk, shredded cheese and Velveeta. Yes. I said Velveeta. Don’t knock it, till you try it. It’s the magic ingredient that makes the sauce so creamy.
Should you rinse your pasta
Apparently, those of you out there on social have really strong opinions about this. Rinsing pasta does remove some of the starch. When making most pasta dishes, like spaghetti or shrimp scampi, I like having that starch, because it helps the sauce stick to the noodles.
For this smoked mac and cheese, however, Matt recommends rinsing the pasta to cool it down and stop the cooking process. Because the pasta is going into the smoker, this prevents the noodles from overcooking and turning to mush.
If you’re totally against rinsing your noodles. That’s cool. Make this dish how you want, but you may want to cook your noodles just a little bit less than normal, if that’s the case.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Salt your water when boiling the noodles. Use two teaspoons kosher salt for 8 cups of water.
- Shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-caking ingredients, which interfere with melting. Fresh shredded cheese melts much better.
- Parmesan cheese is already salty, so you shouldn’t need to add extra salt to this recipe
The types of cheeses in smoked mac and cheese
The beautiful thing about mac and cheese, is that it’s so versatile. You can mix and match cheeses to your liking; however, I always recommend using cheeses that melt well. Feta, for instance, isn’t gonna turn out so well.
In addition to using different types of cheeses, this mac and cheese uses the cheeses three ways.
As I already mentioned above, grab the yellow box. Velveeta is going to give you the creaminess you need. And although it is a processed cheese, it’s still a dairy product made with milk, whey and salt. This recipe calls for 16 ounces, which is half of the big box.
Here’s where you can mix things up. Matt’s recipe calls for shredded cheddar, Monterey jack and gouda cheeses. You can use mild or sharp cheddar or even sub the Monterey jack for pepper jack. Gouda can be a little harder to find. Check for it at your deli counter. Bonus is that you’ll likely find smoked gouda, which makes this dish even better.
Other cheeses that would work nicely include colby jack, fontina and mozzarella.
As if that wasn’t enough cheese, Matt adds 2 cups of Parm. While Parmesan isn’t known for its meltability, it punches up the flavor big time with a nice nutty saltiness.
PRO TIP: If your mac and cheese is dry, you didn’t add enough milk. This recipe uses 4 cups of milk in three stages of the assembly.
Assembling your mac and cheese for the smoker
Once you cook your noodles and make the cheese sauce, you’re going to combine all of the ingredients together.
Start by mixing the noodles with the parmesan cheese, some shredded cheese, seasonings and milk. Groark Boys uses granulated garlic and black pepper, which is great. But my go-to mac and cheese seasoning is Ooomami from Girl Carnivore. Trust me on this one. I mix in one tablespoon.
Then, pour on that cheese sauce and top with more shredded cheese. Once that is spread evenly, pour on a cup of milk.
For a final touch, sprinkle on about a tablespoon of your favorite BBQ Rub. I recommend my award-winning Pork Rub or Chicken Rub.
Smoking Mac and Cheese
This can be made on any type of smoker. The key is to set your temp to 350-375F degrees and to use indirect heat.
As for wood, oak, hickory and pecan are all good options.
After 30 minutes, your smoked mac and cheese should be brown and bubbly like the picture below. Allow it to cool a bit, and then dig in.
Wanna make the recipe in advance?
If you want to do some party prep and prepare as much in advance as possible. Assemble everything together, but leave off that last cup of milk. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 1-2 days. Then, just before smoking, pour on that cup of milk and throw it in the smoker. Because the dish will be colder, you may need to add 10-15 minutes to your cook time.
More Side Dishes
Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 6 oz cheddar cheese
- 6 oz Monterey jack cheese
- 6 oz gouda cheese
- 8 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb box macaroni noodles
- 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp)
- 16 ozs Velveeta
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp BBQ rub
- Preaheat. Heat your smoker to 350-375F degrees with oak wood.
- Shred Cheeses. Shred all of the cheeses and mix them together in a large bowl. You should end up with about 6 cups.
- Cook Pasta. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Cheese Sauce. In a large pot over medium heat, melt together the butter, Velveeta, 3 cups of shredded cheese mix and 2 cups milk. Stir until smooth.
- Mix Noodles. Place the noodles in an aluminum half pan. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, granulated garlic, black pepper, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and 1 cup milk.
- More Cheese Please. Pour the cheese sauce into the pan, and stir well. Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Pour 1 cup milk over the top. Sprinkle on your favorite BBQ rub.
- Smoke. Place the pan on the smoker over indirect heat. Smoke for 30 minutes, until brown and bubbly.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
I have tasted a lot of different BBQ smoked mac and cheese recipes in my life, but never have I tasted one that is THIS GOOD! The best BBQ smoked mac and cheese recipe is the BEST BBQ SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE IN THE WORLD. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot.
This smoked Mac and Cheese was absolutely amazing!!!
Wasn’t difficult to make, and I have NEVER tasted better!!
Thanks. I’m glad you loved it!
This recipe is absolutely delicious! We made it for a group of 20 (recipe doubles easily); everyone asked for seconds and over half asked to take leftovers home! Total home run! We rate it whatever is max amount of stars one can give! PS… use fresh parm 😊
What BBQ rub do you use?
I usually use my Pork Rub, but you can use any BBQ rub you like. https://spiceology.com/products/christie-vanover-pork-rub/
How big of a box of macaroni do you use?
A 1-pound box (16 ounces)
I.dont have Velveeta! What do I do? Please tell me there’s a substitute
It won’t be quite as creamy, but you can use more shredded cheddar cheese.
I’m making this on Friday (tomorrow) for a party on Saturday evening. I’m smoking pork butt and salmon on Saturday so totally different temps and wood. I really want to try smoking this to infuse the flavor opposed to just cooking in the oven, but, I’d like to reheat in the oven (doubling your recipe). Any special suggestions on reheating?
Alternative to cooking the day prior and reheating, Salmon is the last thing I’m smoking while my pork butt is resting. I tend to smoke salmon around 180-200. What’s your opinion on smoking the mac for 30-40 minutes with the salmon and then finishing it in the oven? Is that a better option than trying to reheat from the day prior?
Thanks so much!!
The challenge with reheating mac and cheese is that it can dry out. If you’re going to reheat it in the oven, I would stir in more milk before placing it in the oven.
Your idea of smoking it with the salmon for 30-40 minutes and then finishing it in the oven is the best option for getting smoky flavor and nice and hot mac and cheese. Sorry if I didn’t answer this in time for your party.
This turned out great. We doubled the recipe and it fit perfectly in a 20x12x3 pan from Walmart. It’s amazing that you put it in thinking way too much milk yet it absorbs in. That said, we had 30 people and had a LOT left over because multiple side options were available. It is also very rich so smaller portions seemed to work better. I smoked it at 220 for 40 minutes and then in the oven at 350 for another 40 minutes. So many people said the best ever. Individual portions now microwave well. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it.
Turned out fantastic, adopted it to my menu at both my restaurants in Bali, the BBQ PLACE and Mc C’s. Thank you for sharing.
Now that’s awesome!!
This is my go-to for a brisket bbq side. It’s so delicious. I first made it for a Super Bowl party of about 30 people. I doubled it and it wasn’t enough. They were devouring it. I recommend getting the velveeta and other cheese from sam’s club to save some money.