Pellet Smoked Mac and Cheese

Pellet Smoked Mac and Cheese

Most people love mac and cheese, but have you ever tried smoked mac and cheese? If you have then you know how much better it is over traditional oven baked versions. With this recipe you get a unique flavor with this blend of cheeses and the optional jalapeño peppers. It’s super easy to cook on your pellet smoker, but if you must, you can bake it in the oven too. For a topping, this recipe uses buttery browned panko breadcrumbs. If you’re not a fan then simply apply more shredded cheese on top and follow the last broiler step. Now with that said, this recipe is NOT for the gooey runny melty style mac and cheese. If that’s what you are after, use more soft cheeses such as mozzarella or maybe even ricotta or mascarpone.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz package elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons for bread crumbs
  • 3 cups milk or half and half
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 8 oz cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz cup shredded gouda cheese
  • 8 oz cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 jalapenos (optional)


Bring the 8oz of cream cheese to room temperature and slice it into smaller blocks.


Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni to the al dente firmness which is usually 6-8 minutes (follow the packaging instructions). When ready, pour the macaroni into a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Mix the macaroni around to cool down all bits. Now you have partially cooked macaroni and it will finish cooking when you put it on the smoker.


Next, hand shred the cheeses and set it aside in a large bowl. Following this, remove the seeds from 2 jalapeno peppers and dice them up.


Next start the cheese sauce by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan on medium heat. When the butter is melted, whisk the flour into the butter until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Whisk in the milk (or half and half) and raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes then whisk in the salt, pepper, and mustard ingredients. Turn the heat down to medium low and start adding the cheese. First start with two chunks of cream cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until fully melted. Continue to add cream cheese until it is fully incorporated into the sauce. Next add the shredded cheese about 1 cup at a time and stir into the sauce. When all the cheese is added, stir in the chopped jalapenos. Next add the macaroni into the sauce and stir until it is fully coated with cheese sauce.


Next pour the mac and cheese into a large cast iron skillet or a lasanga foil pan. Have your pellet smoker running at 250 F with pecan or apple pellets. Place the skillet or pan on the smoker and cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Use a toothpick and test for doneness. When it slides in with no resistance, the mac and cheese is ready.


Next melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and stir in the panko breadcrumbs. Cook for about 3 minutes until all the butter is absorbed but try not to brown the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the mac and cheese. Set your oven broiler on low, then cook the mac and cheese for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the breadcrumbs, you just want them brown. Let it cool for a few, then serve and enjoy!





Ultimate Best Potato Salad

Ultimate Best Potato Salad

What happens when you combine the ultimate potato salad with the best potato salad? Wanna have some fun? Take a moment to use your favorite search engine and lookup ultimate potato salad followed by the best potato salad. Yeah you get page after page of grandma’s best recipes and quote unquote award winning potato salads. With so many to choose from, why not just rely on the only solid combination of the ultimate best potato salad? We combine the ultimate best ingredients and added some extra kick to make sure your potato salad experience is extraordinary. Give this recipe a try at your next gathering and your guests will not be disapointed.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • ½ pound bacon
  • ½ cup chopped green onions (2-3 stalks)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion (¼ med onion)
  • ½ cup celery stalks (2-3 stalks)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • ⅓ cup dill (or sweet) pickle relish
  • 1 ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dry dill
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder


First, place the potatoes in a large pot and submerge them in cold water. Add 1/4 cup of kosher salt then cook the potatoes on high heat until the water reaches a rolling boil. Next, reduce the heat to medium high, and cook the potatoes for 30 minutes. Check the potatoes for tenderness by using a steak knife and inserting it into each potato. The knife should pass through the potato with little effort. Once tender, remove the potatoes and let them cool for 1 hour until they reach room temperature.


While cooking the potatoes, slice the bacon into bits, then fry the bits on a medium heat. When the bacon bits start foaming and turning brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to absorb the grease.


While the bacon is cooking, chop the onions and celery and add them to a small mixing bowl. When chopping, try to mince with different size chunks. Make sure to set aside some of the green onion tips for a garnish on top. Next, add the relish, mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar to the mixing bowl. Finally, add the seasonings and whisk everything together.


When the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, peel the potatoes using a paring knife. Lightly push the knife blade under the skin and drag the blade down the length of the potato pulling off the skin. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then cut the halves in half lengthwise producing 4 lengthwise potato slices. Next cut the potato slices into chunks. Add potatoes to a large mixing bowl then pour in half of the dressing mixture. Add half of the bacon into the mixing bowl. Using an egg slicer tool, double slice 2 eggs and add them to the mixing bowl. Stir potatoes and dressing together then work in the remaining dressing into the mixture. Top the potato salad with the remaining bacon, eggs, and chopped green onion ends. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.





Jalapeno Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Jalapeno Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Need to spice up your mashed potato side dish? Yes you do! Mashed potatoes are great as is but variety is the spice of life. By adding jalapeños and fresh grated Parmesan cheese, you can take your mashed potatoes to the next level. You can always reduce the jalapeños from 3 to 1 if you are sensitive to heat. But by removing the seeds, the heat is already greatly reduced.

Ingredients

  • 6 large russet potatoes
  • 3 jalapeño pepers
  • 2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon salt


First, remove the potato skins then cut them into 2 inch blocks. Place the potatoes in a large pot, then add 1 tablespoon of salt, and submerge them with cold water. Next, bring everything to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium maintaining a rolling boil. Cook the potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes fall apart when sliced with a knife.


Remove the seeds from the jalapenos and dice them. Add the jalapenos to a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sautee the jalapenos on a medium heat until they start to turn slightly brown. Add remaining butter and half and half then reduce the burner heat to low. Continue to cook this mixture until all the butter melts, then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.


When the potatoes are tender, remove them from the heat and drain off the water. Mash the potatoes, then and shredded parmesan cheese and stir for 1 minute. Next add the jalapeno butter and cream mixture, and stir for 1 minute. Salt and pepper to taste.





Pellet Smoked Scalloped Potatoes

Pellet Smoked Scalloped Potatoes

Cheese, bacon and potatoes. So what part of that is not delicious? This recipe brings a ton of flavor from your pellet smoker or stick burner and compliments every meat that you smoke. No lie there is a bit of effort involved for this recipe, but it can be split into multiple days if needed.

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 12 oz bacon
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ½ pint heavy whipping cream
  • ½ pint regular whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz (block not shredded) cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour


First, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. While this is in progress, slice the bacon into bits and fry it a skillet on medium heat. While the bacon is cooking, dice the onion and jalapeno pepper. After the bacon has cooked for about 8 minutes, drain most of the grease and leave about 2 – 3 tablespoons in the skillet. Add onion and jalapeno, then continue to cook until the onion becomes translucent. Next add the flour and stir for several minutes. Next, slowly add the heavy whipping cream followed by the regular cream. Continue to stir on a medium heat, and add a few slices of cream cheese. Stir until it melts into the sauce, then continue to add more until all is incorporated into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally as you work on the potatoes.


Wash the potatoes then use a mandolin with a thin blade and slice the potatoes. Add the slices to a large bowl filled with water to prevent them from turning brown. When the potatoes are all sliced up, use a stick of butter or vegetable shortening to grease up a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Next, remove the sauce from the burner and lightly cover the bottom of the 12 inch skillet with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of potatoes to the skillet until the skillet is fully covered. Next cover the potatoes with some of the sauce mixture followed by shredded cheese. Repeat these steps until all the ingredients are used. Smoke at 275 for 3 hours (do not stir) then cover the skillet with heavy foil and cook for another 30 minutes. Check the potatoes for tenderness using a toothpick and continue to cook if needed. The toothpick should pierce through the potatoes with little resistance. If the potatoes are still too firm, cover and cook another 30 minutes.