Smokin'/Grillin'

The Ultimate Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger Recipe

Welcome back, foodies! Today, we’re diving deep into comfort food territory with a twist that’s bound to blow your taste buds away. We’re talking about the Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger – a delectable combination of smoky, cheesy, creamy goodness, all nestled in a juicy burger. This isn’t just any burger; it’s a culinary experience that brings together the best of barbecue and comfort food. Ready to elevate your burger game? Let’s get started!

Picture this: a juicy, perfectly grilled beef patty topped with rich, creamy, smoky mac and cheese, all sandwiched between two golden, toasted buns. It’s the ultimate indulgence, the kind of meal that makes you close your eyes and savor every bite. This Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger is perfect for any occasion – from family gatherings to casual cookouts. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser that combines the heartiness of a classic burger with the irresistible flavor of smoked mac and cheese. Trust me, once you try this, you’ll never look at burgers the same way again.

Ingredients

For the Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound macaroni pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon (optional)
  • Salt to taste

For the Burgers

  • 2 pounds ground beef (80/20 blend recommended)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 burger buns
  • Lettuce, tomato, and onion slices (optional)
  • BBQ sauce (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing the Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger

Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

Start by boiling a large pot of water. Add a generous amount of salt and cook the macaroni until just al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Step 2: Warm the Milk and Cream

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Heat on low until warmed through. It’s crucial that the dairy is not cold when you mix it into the sauce.

Step 3: Prepare the Roux

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue whisking for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is golden and smooth, cooking out the raw flour taste.

Step 4: Add the Warmed Dairy and Seasonings

Gradually add the warmed milk and cream to the roux, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking continuously to thicken the sauce. Once all the dairy has been incorporated, add the mustard powder and Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub. Keep whisking until the sauce is thickened, but do not let it simmer rapidly.

Step 5: Whisk in the Cheeses

Once the sauce begins to thicken, turn off the heat. Combine the shredded cheeses, reserving 1 cup. Gradually add the remaining cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until melted and smooth. If needed, return the pan to low heat to melt the cheese completely. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Step 6: Smoke the Mac and Cheese

Preheat the smoker to 250°F. Place the pan, uncovered, in the smoker. Smoke for 45-60 minutes without stirring.

Step 7: Grill the Burgers

Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, and form into six equal patties. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.

Step 8: Assemble the Burgers

Toast the burger buns on the grill until golden brown. Place a grilled burger patty on the bottom bun, top with a generous scoop of smoked mac and cheese, and add lettuce, tomato, onion slices, and BBQ sauce if desired. Cap with the top bun and serve immediately.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  1. Use Freshly Grated Cheese: Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that can affect the texture of your mac and cheese. Grate your own for the best results.
  2. Low and Slow for Smoking: Don’t rush the smoking process. Smoking at a low temperature ensures that the mac and cheese absorbs maximum smoky flavor.
  3. Rest the Mac and Cheese: Let the smoked mac and cheese rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and the cheese to set slightly.
  4. Season the Beef Well: Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper for the burger patties. Good seasoning is key to a flavorful burger.
  5. Keep an Eye on the Cheese Sauce: Stir constantly while making the cheese sauce to prevent it from burning or becoming lumpy.

Variations

  1. Spicy Mac and Cheese Burger: Add diced jalapeños to the mac and cheese for a spicy kick.
  2. BBQ Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Burger: Top the burger patty with smoked mac and cheese and a generous helping of BBQ pulled pork.
  3. Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Burger: Swap the beef patty for a grilled chicken breast coated in buffalo sauce.
  4. Truffle Mac and Cheese Burger: Add a drizzle of truffle oil to the mac and cheese for an elevated flavor.
  5. Vegetarian Mac and Cheese Burger: Use a veggie burger patty instead of beef.
  6. Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese Burger: Mix some blue cheese crumbles into the mac and cheese.
  7. Bacon and Onion Jam Mac and Cheese Burger: Top the burger with bacon and sweet onion jam for an extra layer of flavor.
  8. Mexican Mac and Cheese Burger: Add a spoonful of salsa and some avocado slices.
  9. Pesto Mac and Cheese Burger: Mix a bit of pesto into the mac and cheese for a fresh, herbaceous twist.
  10. Smoky Chipotle Mac and Cheese Burger: Add a spoonful of chipotle sauce to the mac and cheese for a smoky, spicy flavor.

What to Serve With It

  1. Coleslaw: A tangy, crunchy coleslaw complements the rich mac and cheese.
  2. Grilled Vegetables: Lightly charred veggies add a nice contrast.
  3. Potato Salad: Classic and creamy, it’s a great side dish.
  4. Sweet Potato Fries: A sweet and savory pairing.
  5. Corn on the Cob: Grilled corn with a bit of butter is always a hit.
  6. Pickles: Their acidity helps balance the richness of the burger.
  7. Onion Rings: Crispy onion rings add great texture.
  8. Fruit Salad: A fresh, light fruit salad can be a refreshing side.
  9. Baked Beans: Smoky and sweet beans are a traditional BBQ side.
  10. Green Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can cut through the heaviness of the burger.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigeration: Store any leftover smoked mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the mac and cheese before adding it to the burger. Place it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheating: Reheat the mac and cheese in the oven at 350°F until warmed through, or microwave individual portions.

How Much to Make for Family Gatherings?

For a family gathering, I recommend planning for one Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger per person, with a few extra for seconds. If you’re expecting big eaters or want to ensure there’s plenty to go around, consider making 1.5 to 2 burgers per person.

How Far in Advance Can I Make the Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger?

You can prepare the mac and cheese component up to two days in advance. Store it in the refrigerator and then reheat before assembling the burgers. The burgers themselves are best grilled fresh, but you can form the patties and keep them refrigerated for up to a day before cooking.

The Ultimate Smoked Mac and Cheese Burger Recipe

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 30 minutesCook time: 40 minutesRest time: 40 minutesTotal time: minutesServings:4 servingsCalories:300 kcal Best Season:Summer

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling a large pot of water. Add a generous amount of salt and cook the macaroni until just al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Heat on low until warmed through. It’s crucial that the dairy is not cold when you mix it into the sauce.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue whisking for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is golden and smooth, cooking out the raw flour taste.
  4. Gradually add the warmed milk and cream to the roux, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking continuously to thicken the sauce. Keep whisking until the sauce is thickened, but do not let it simmer rapidly.
  5. Once the sauce begins to thicken, turn off the heat. Combine the shredded cheeses, reserving 1 cup. Gradually add the remaining cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until melted and smooth. If needed, return the pan to low heat to melt the cheese completely. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  6. Preheat the smoker to 250°F. Place the pan, uncovered, in the smoker. Smoke for 45-60 minutes without stirring.
  7. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, and form into six equal patties. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
  8. Toast the burger buns on the grill until golden brown. Place a grilled burger patty on the bottom bun, top with a generous scoop of smoked mac and cheese, and add lettuce, tomato, onion slices, and BBQ sauce if desired. Cap with the top bun and serve immediately.

Hey family,

My name is Aaron Brown. You can call me “A.B.”

My mission is to help you level up the process of making your favorite mealswith my video tutorials and recipe guides,plus my tried-and-true spices, cookware, and more that make every meal special.

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