One of the most popular BBQ side dishes is Mac And Cheese because it is versatile and goes with just about any barbecued meat. This recipe is easy to make and can be made on the BBQ or in the oven.
Side Dish or Main Dish?
For the most part, Mac and Cheese is a main dish. Because it is rich and creamy, it makes a filling main dish.
But when it comes to BBQ, mac and cheese makes a perfect side dish. It can be paired with just about any meat. It can even be used as a topping for burgers.
Can This Recipe Be Halved?
This recipe does make a large amount. It is great for a party, get-together or to have leftovers.
But if you are looking for a smaller amount, this recipe can be cut in half easily.
How to Serve Mac And Cheese
This dish is best served hot as a side for just about any meat. But it is also great on its own. Mac and Cheese makes a great lunch as well.
This recipe makes a large batch so it is great for a get-together or if you want leftovers for lunches.
Cornbread Bites (mini muffins) are perfect for serving alongside this recipe.
Ingredients For Homemade Mac And Cheese
To make this mac and cheese, you will need a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
There are four kinds of cheese in this recipe.
The first is old cheddar. This cheese is shredded and used in the sauce as well as the topping.
Medium cheddar is shredded and also added to the sauce.
Shredded Parmesan is added to the sauce for flavour.
Cream Cheese is one of the ingredients that is added to the sauce to make it creamy.
The cream in this recipe is half and half (10%). It adds richness to the sauce. Full-fat milk or 5% cream can be substituted. I have never used lower-fat milk to make this dish. Mac and cheese is the one dish I believe should be rich and made with full-fat ingredients.
This is the base of the mac and cheese dish. It is made simply with flour, butter, salt, and pepper. I also add garlic powder to the roux for extra flavour.
Elbow macaroni works best for this dish. Any type of macaroni can be used. I use 100% durum wheat semolina macaroni. An alternative to macaroni, shells, fusilli, or rotini can be used.
This is optional but it adds a lot of flavour to the sauce.
Making This Dish On The BBQ
This recipe is easily made on the BBQ. The sauce is made separately in a pot on the side burner or on the grill itself.
Then the pasta is cooked and added with the sauce into a large pan on the grill. Topped with cheese, it will finish baking on the BBQ on medium heat.
When making mac and cheese on the BBQ, a disposable aluminum pan is easiest for clean up.
Smoking is also an option for this Mac and Cheese.
Making This Dish in The Oven
Just as with making this on the BBQ, you can make this dish easily in the oven. The only difference is making it inside versus outside. I still use a disposable aluminum pan to bake the dish in since it is an easier clean-up.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Mac and Cheese
Leftovers can be stored in air-tight containers in the fridge. To reheat, heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. You may need to cook longer depending on your microwave.
This dish also freezes well for up to three months in an air-tight container. Allow to thaw before reheating. Thawing can be done at room temperature or in the fridge.
Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 4 cups half and half cream
- 145 grams cream cheese
- 400 grams medium cheddar, shredded
- 400 grams old cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan, shredded
- 4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
- 400 grams old cheddar, for topping
- 10 cups cooked macaroni
- Preheat BBQ to 350°F
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter.
- Add flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, stirring until thickened.
- Slowly add cream, 1 cup at a time alternating with the cream cheese, (¼ of the cream cheese at a time), Whisking between additions and allowing the cream cheese to melt before the next addition
- Add medium cheddar and old cheddar, about ½ cup at a time, stirring. Allow cheese to melt before adding the next addition.
- Fold in Parmesan and jalapenos
- Place cooked macaroni in a deep 13" by 9" pan
- Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and carefully stir
- Top with shredded old cheddar
- Place on preheated BBQ over indirect heat
- Allow to heat through until cheese on top is fully melted about 30 minutes
- Serve hot.