The Best Type Of Wood To Use For Smoked Mac And Cheese

The first recorded recipe of macaroni and cheese dates back to the 1200s, according to The Food We Know. Over the last 800 years, humans have taken this comfort food staple to new and interesting heights, even smoking the side dish and including it as part of barbecue fare. Some mac and cheese recipes throw the side dish mentality out the window in order to create a hearty dish that elevates the creamy, gooey goodness to entrée status.

Smoking mac and cheese uses a similar process chefs employ for meats. The Wicked Noodle recommends using low temperatures in the smoker, around 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and leaving the pan in the smoker for up to 120 minutes, depending on how much smoky flavor you want infused into the final product. Deciding what to mix into your recipe can lead to endless creativity as popular additions include chopped bacon, brisket, shredded chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, and even hot sauce; all of which will turn your simple mac and cheese into a main meal as a casserole. But there is one other key to creating the best-tasting smoked mac and cheese: choosing the correct wood. Why do you need the right kind of wood? Because you don't want its smoke to overwhelm the flavor of the mac or the cheese.

Use pecan, cherry, or maple wood for smoked mac and cheese

The best types of wood for smoked mac and cheese should have subtle aromas like those found in fruity or nutty woods. These include cherry, pecan, or maple, notes MasterClass. Apple and peach are also very good mild woods for smoking, adds Specialty Gas House. Hickory works for a stronger flavor, but you have to consider that mac and cheese is a more delicate dish compared to smoked meats, and smoke from wood has to fight through meat fibers layer after layer. Remember, the smokiness will inhabit every aspect of the mac and cheese, and there can be many other flavors infiltrating the dish as it cooks and simmers. The best way to figure out which wood works best is to experiment to find the flavor you prefer.

If you want layers of different flavors, feel free to add various smoked ingredients. One way to do this is with barbecued meats and barbecue sauce, suggests My Forking Life. For example, stir hickory-smoked brisket and smoked gouda into your mac and cheese before smoking the entire dish as one. After the process is complete and you're ready to serve the meal, your family or guests can add their favorite barbecue sauce as a topping for a delectable dish. And don't forget to have salt and pepper on hand as well. Happy smoking with these tips for great-tasting mac and cheese at your next barbecue!