It has been made official! A bacon-weave improves everything. True story. Bacon-weave is the new knitting, for carnivores. Perhaps not quite as artsy, but oh-so satisfying. It certainly doesn't hurt that cheese, noodles, and bacon are old friends who love spending time together.
BACON-WEAVE MACARONI 'N CHEESE
PREP TIME: 20 minutes, plus let mac 'n cheese set up for 4 hours
COOK TIME: 1 to 1 1/2 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any
SERVES:8 to 10
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 large egg
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper, to taste
15 slices of uncooked bacon, or more
Traeger Regular BBQ Sauce, or your favorite sauce
Start making the macaroni and cheese several hours in advance to give it time to set up before Traegering.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente, according to box directions.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes, whisking out any lumps.
Stir in the milk, bay leaf, chipotle chile powder and paprika.
Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg by adding in a little bit of the hot milk mixture into the eggs while whisking and then add the eggs in with the rest of the milk mixture.
Stir in the cheese and season with the salt and pepper.
Fold the macaroni noodles into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish lined with foil.
Put it in the refrigerator to set up for 4 or more hours.
After it has set up, dump the macaroni and cheese upside down on a large baking sheet. Weave the bacon over the top, interlacing the slices and fitting in as much bacon as you can.
Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established, 4 to 5 minutes. Preheat to 350 degree F, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the macaroni and cheese on the grill grate and smoke for a 1/2 hour, then cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Brush with the Traeger Regular BBQ Sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Take off the Traeger and dig in while it's still warm.