Elizabeth Karmel's Pit-Smoked Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Give Your Mac & Cheese a Kick

PHOTO: Elizabeth Karmels Pit-Smoked Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Servings:Over 8
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: min

Looking for a good side dish to go with your barbeque. Give this dish a try.


  • 1 pound DeCecco brand Penne Rigate
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for garnishing
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces best-quality gruyere cheese, grated
  • 16 ounces best-quality extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 ounces best-quality Fontina cheese
  • 2 ounces grated real Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • Cooking Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Set up a stovetop smoker or an outdoor smoker

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again and set aside in a large bowl.

    Bring the half and half just to a boil in a heavy saucepan and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another heavy saucepan. Add the flour, and whisk over low heat for 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from the heat. Add the hot liquid to the flour mixture, and whisk well. Add the paprika, season with the salt and pepper, and return the pan to a low heat. Add half of all of the cheeses and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Add sauce to the pasta. Toss well to coat completely.

    Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch flameproof baking dish/casserole (half hotel-pan liner) with olive oil, and fill it with half of the sauced-pasta. Distribute half of the remaining cheese evenly over the pasta. Repeat layering. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and either smoke at a low temperature for 60 minutes or bake in a pre-heated oven until hot, lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    To smoke the mac and cheese, place the casserole in a smoker, or a grill prepared with wood chips until it becomes hot and bubbly and the macaroni and cheese is lightly infused with a smoke flavor, this will take about 60 minutes, but check halfway through the cooking time because smokers and grills will vary.

    If a darker crust is desired, place casserole under the broiler, 4 inches from the heat, until the top is golden and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes, serve immediately.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for "Good Morning America."

    © 2011 Elizabeth A. Karmel, executive chef of Hill Country, recipe adapted from Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: penne rigate, half and half, cheddar, paprika, cheddar, fontina

    Course: Dinner

    More Info: Kid Friendly

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