It’s tough to beat homemade mac and cheese, but I think I just figured out how. It starts with a homemade cheese sauce, a little bit of smoke, bacon, and some fresh roasted hatch chiles. Get ready to learn how to make the best smoked mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons on Broadway and Albertsons Market Street. The opinions and text are all mine.
Hatch Chile Season
Now is the time to get fresh Hatch Chiles, and if you live in Boise our friends at Albertsons Market Street and Albertsons on Broadway have got you covered. Getting out to either of these stores when they have events like this is such a fun experience.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you park is the smell of fresh Hatch Chiles roasting in front of the store. The smell is so unique and totally mouthwatering. I showed up to buy a box of Hatch Chiles, but there are so many cool Hatch Chile inspired foods inside the store that I had to try too.
Smoked Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Making smoked mac and cheese is easy to do, and I liked shopping for all of the ingredients at the Albertsons on Broadway store because it gave me a chance to experience a good portion of the store.
As per usual, all of the staff I interacted with was super helpful. My first stop was the cheese section, and I immediately noticed the blocks of Hatch Chile Cheddar Cheese. I didn’t grab any for this recipe, but I might head back over there this week to pick up some before it’s gone! The guy working the area shared a sample with me – oh my was it delicious!
For this recipe, you need 6 cups of shredded cheese total, and it’s really important that you shred the cheese yourself. Cheese that you buy pre-shredded doesn’t melt the same, and we want this smoked mac and cheese to be perfect.
I picked up about 8 ounces each of Sharp Cheddar, Gruyere, and Gouda.
Smoked Mac and Cheese Sauce
In addition to the three kinds of cheese, you’ll also need milk, heavy cream, flour, and beer (IPA). Albertsons on Broadway and Albertsons Market Street both have incredible selections of beer, and it’s common to see a brand or two on-site with sampling opportunities. I opted for an IPA I’ve never tried before and then moved on to the meat and seafood section.
One of the first things I noticed was the crab-stuffed hatch chilis – I bought a few for an easy afternoon snack. They had some hatch chile pub burgers in the case that looked delicious too.
Other Ingredients You’ll Need
I love that I can always get great beef and pork at Albertsons on Broadway or Albertsons Market Street. Both stores have Snake River Farms brand meat on hand, and if you’re familiar, you know it’s some of the best meat available. You only need a half-pound of bacon for this smoked mac and cheese recipe, but I grabbed a pound just to be safe.
The last big decision you have to make before you make the Hatch Chile Bacon Mac and Cheese is what kind of noodles you’re going to use. We opted for shells.
Love Hatch Chiles? Check out my Smoked Hatch Chile Cheeseburgers.
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
Hatch Chiles and Bacon
The star of this recipe is the Hatch Chile, and the first thing we need to do is roast them. You can get your hatch chiles roasted for free at Albertsons on Broadway or Albertsons Market Street now through August 6th, or you can roast them at home.
To roast them at home set up your smoker to cook at 450 degrees, and then place them directly on the grill grate. Flip the chiles every 5 minutes. They’re done when the skin of the chiles has charred up. It should take about 20 minutes total. Let the chiles cool for a bit and then remove the charred skin, stem, and seeds to reveal a beautiful and tasty green flesh.
Dice up the green chiles and set aside. I cooked 8 strips of bacon alongside the chiles and diced that up as well.
Boil 16 ounces of Shells in water until they are almost done. The noodles I used had directions that said boil for seven minutes, and we pulled them off the stove and strained after five. Rinse the noodles under cold water to stop them from cooking while you prep the cheese sauce.
The Cheese Sauce
Shred your three kinds of cheese, remember you’ll need 2 cups of each. Hopefully, you bought enough for you to snack on the extra. Once the cheese is shredded it’s time to make the cheese sauce.
In a large saucepan melt a half stick of butter with a ¼ cup of flour. Use a whisk to stir briskly for about a minute, and then pour in 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of beer, and a ½ cup of cream. Continue whisking while you pour everything in to make sure you get all the clumps broken up.
Now add each of the cheeses and continue stirring. The cheese will melt fast and should have a smooth texture.
Smoking the Mac and Cheese
Set up your smoker to smoke at 180 degrees using indirect heat.
Pour half of your noodles into a 13×9 baking dish. Pour half of your cheese sauce over the noodles, followed by half of the bacon, and half of the hatch chiles. Pour the rest of the noodles in, followed by the rest of the bacon, hatch chiles, and cheese sauce.
Top the mac and cheese with a ¼ cup of panko mixed with a ¼ cup of grated parmesan to give it a crispy crust.
Place the mac and cheese in your smoker for 15 minutes – that’s all it takes for the noodles to take on some of the smoky flavor. Then adjust the temperature up to 375 degrees. Let the mac and cheese cook for an additional 20 minutes. The topping should start to get golden brown, and bubbly.
Hatch Chile and Bacon Smoked Mac and Cheese
The next time you want to make mac and cheese at home, consider this recipe. Make sure you get over to Albertsons on Broadway or Albertsons Market Street as soon as you can to get a box or two of roasted Hatch Chiles! You can freeze roasted chiles no problem, that way they’re available to you later in the year when you’re really craving them!
One of the reasons I love this smoked mac and cheese is because it’s great as a side, or as the main entrée! I hope you get a chance to try it, it’s delicious!
- 16 ounces macaroni noodles or shells
- 8 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 8 hatch chiles (roasted and diced)
- 2 cups Gruyere (shredded)
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups Gouda (shredded)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup of beer (drink the rest)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Mac and Cheese Topping
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Prepare noodles as directed, but remove from the boiling water a few minutes before they are done. Drain and run under cool water to stop them from cooking.
- Melt the butter with the flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk for a minute and then add milk, beer, and cream.
- Add in the shredded cheeses and continue to stir.
- Set up your smoker to smoke at 180 degrees.
- Pour half of the noodles in a 13x9 baking dish.
- Pour half of the cheese over the noodles, followed by half the bacon, and half the chiles. Pour the rest of the noodles in, followed by the rest of the bacon, chiles, and cheese sauce.
- Top with the panko and parmesan mixture and place in your smoker.
- Let the mac and cheese smoke for 15 minutes and then adjust the temperature up to 375 degrees.
- Continue cooking the smoked mac and cheese for an additional 20 minutes. It's done when the topping has started to turn golden brown, and the edges are bubbly.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 551 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 115mg Sodium: 771mg Carbohydrates: 25g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 28g