Groark Boys BBQ makes a smoked mac and cheese that’s so good, it went viral. It’s so creamy and cheesy and impossible to mess up.

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. 

Smoked Mac and Cheese closeup

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The smoked creamy mac and cheese that went viral

If you’re on TikTok, you have to follow @groarkboysbbq. At the time of this post, the dude has more than 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!


cheese sauce dripping off spoon

It’s all about the cheese sauce

What makes this the best smoked mac and cheese, is the ultimate cheesy 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.

Don’t just take my word for it

“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.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Timothy

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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, for a creamy cheese sauce, 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.

Velveeta Cheese

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. 

Shredded Cheese

Here’s where you can mix things up. Matt’s recipe calls for shredded cheddar, Monterey jack and gouda cheeses. You can use mild cheddar or sharp cheddar cheese 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. 

PRO TIP: For the creamiest mac and cheese, shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains starches to keep the cheese separated. 

Parmesan Cheese 

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.  


Ingredients

  • Cheddar Cheese: Sharp, medium or mild, depending on your taste preference.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese: This is a mild, white cheese that melt beautifully.
  • Gouda Cheese: Gouda gives this recipe a real flavor punch, especially if you use smoked mac and cheese.
  • Water: This is what you’ll use to boil the noodles. Be sure to salt your water.
  • Elbow Macaroni: These are the classic noodles used for mac and cheese. See some other options below.
  • Velveeta Cheese: Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s the key to maximum creaminess.
  • Butter: Use real stick butter, not the stuff in a tub. Salted or unsalted butter is fine. Just adjust the salt, depending on which kind you use.
  • Milk: For the richest flavor, use whole milk.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Look for grated parmesan cheese, not shredded or shaved.
  • Spices: Granulated garlic, salt, pepper and your favorite BBQ rub.
Substitutions: You can swap out the noodles, different types of cheese and seasonings to really make this your own. 

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.


The best noodles for macaroni and cheese

The most common type of noodle for macaroni and cheese is elbow macaroni. This shape is great because the cheese sauce oozes into the noodle. This way you don’t just get cheese on the outside, you get pockets of cheese in the noodles, too.

Other noodles beyond elbows

If you want to mix things up, here are some other types of noodles that also collect the creamy sauce really well.

  • Shells
  • Campanelle
  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Mini wheels
  • Orecchiette
  • pipette
  • Ditalini

Should you rinse the pasta

cooked macaroni in colander

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.

You want them to still be a little al dente.

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. 


How to smoke 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 for great smoke flavor. If you’re cooking on charcoal, add a couple chunks of wood. For a gas grill, use a Wood Chip Foil Pouch. For a pellet grill, use oak wood pellets.

If you have a Ninja Grill, check out my recipe for Smoked Mac and Cheese on a Ninja Grill.
  1. STEP ONE: Shred all of the cheeses and mix them together in a large bowl. You should end up with about 6 cups.
  1. STEP TWO: Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes. Pour the cooked macaroni noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  1. STEP THREE: In a large pot over medium heat, melt together the butter, Velveeta, 3 cups of the shredded cheese mixture and 2 cups milk. Stir or whisk until smooth.
cheese and butter in pot
  1. STEP FOUR: Place the cooked pasta in a disposable aluminum pan or large cast iron skillet. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, granulated garlic, black pepper, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese mix and 1 cup milk.
  1. STEP FIVE: 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.
  1. STEP SIX: Place the pan on the smoker over indirect heat. Smoke for 30 minutes, until brown and bubbly like the picture below. Allow it to cool a bit, and then dig in.  
brown and bubbly Smoked Mac and Cheese
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.

How to serve homemade mac and cheese

Remove the mac and cheese from the smoker and serve immediately with a large serving spoon.

If you’re not going to serve it right away, cover it with aluminum foil to keep warm.


How to make macaroni and cheese 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. 

Smoked Mac and Cheese in pan

Storage

If you have any leftovers from this mac and cheese recipe, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll last for up to 5 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave.

The leftover smoked macaroni and cheese won’t be as creamy the next day because the noodles will absorb the sauce.

If you want to completely revitalize leftovers, place them in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add in some milk and a little more shredded cheese. Stir until warm and melted.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best wood to smoke mac and cheese?

Oak, hickory and pecan woods are all great choices for making smoked macaroni and cheese.

Should I cover smoked mac and cheese?

There is no need to cover mac and cheese as it smokes. Doing so would actually block out the smoke flavor. Leave the pan uncovered during the whole process.

Is smoked gouda good for mac and cheese?

Yes! Smoked gouda is a great option for smoked mac and cheese. It amplifies the smoke flavor beautifully.

If you don’t have a smoker, you can also bake this recipe in the oven at 350F degrees for about 30 minutes. Using smoked cheese will give you the smoky flavor without the grill.

More side dishes

BBQ that goes great with mac and cheese

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4.91 from 105 votes

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Groark Boys BBQ makes a smoked mac and cheese that's so good, it went viral. It's so creamy and cheesy and impossible to mess up.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

Shredded Cheeses

  • 6 oz cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz Monterey jack cheese
  • 6 oz gouda cheese

Macaroni Noodles

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb box macaroni noodles

Cheese Sauce

  • 1/2 stick butter, (4 tbsp)
  • 16 ozs Velveeta
  • 2 cups milk

Seasonings

  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Finishing Touches

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp BBQ rub

Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

If you don’t have a smoker, you can bake this in a 350F-degree oven.
For tips on other cheeses and seasonings and how to make this recipe in advance, read the post above. 

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 32gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 1601mgPotassium: 394mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1105IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 819mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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35 Comments

  1. Hi can you make this smoaked Mac and cheese dish in the ninja woodfire grill on the smoaked setting?

  2. This was incredibly delicious! I used a smoked Gouda which really gave it an extra boost in flavor. Some Mac n cheese aren’t that great reheated, but this one reheated well and was still creamy. 10/10!

    1. I haven’t tried it. I think the noodles could get soggy and turn to mush. If you give it a shot, please let us all know.

    1. For the cheeses, start with 6-ounce blocks of cheese. Once you shred all 3, you’ll end up with 6 cups of shredded cheese. If you want to buy pre-shredded cheese, use 2 cups of each variety.

  3. Do you use a tbls of Ooomami AND a tbls of your pork/chicken rub? Or is it one or the other? I don’t have a smoker just in case that factors into your answer. Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Just use 1 tablespoon of rub total. You’re welcome to combine different rubs to create one you like.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  7. 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?
    Thanks!!

    1. You can use some cream cheese instead. The cream cheese will help it stay creamy, and not get coagulated with the other cheese.

      1. You mentioned using the Oomami seasoning. Do you use that in the mix and then add the pork seasoning on the top before smoking? Or is it just one or the other or both?

      2. Hi Dave, I add Ooomami instead of garlic and pepper when I mix in the parmesan cheese. Then, I use my pork rub on top at the end.

      3. Ok! Thank you for the quick reply just in time for me to make 2 batches of this for the super bowl. It was specifically requested after making it last year! This is an absolute winner recipe.

      4. I used the Oomami seasoning and doubled the recipe for a super bowl party. This recipe is perfect just as written. So delicious. What a winner of a recipe. That cup of milk right before throwing on the smoker, keeps it extra creamy and doesn’t let it dry out. Everyone was commenting on how delicious it was. Thank goodness I doubled it, We only had a tiny bit left and people were literally arguing about who got to take it home.

  8. 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 😊

  9. This smoked Mac and Cheese was absolutely amazing!!!
    Wasn’t difficult to make, and I have NEVER tasted better!!

  10. 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.