Learn how to make smoked mac and cheese on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill!
We take you step-by-step through the ingredients and cookware you’ll need, preparation, setting up your Pit Boss pellet grill, and smoking the macaroni and cheese to perfection!
Smoked Macaroni and Cheese is a beloved side dish by many in the BBQ world, and believe it or not, is pretty easy to make, especially on a Pit Boss pellet grill.
Don’t worry, even if you’ve only ever made mac and cheese from a little blue box, we’ve got you covered with step by step instructions and a list of what you’ll need to impress even the most discerning mac and cheese fans,
What you Need to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill
A Cast Iron Skillet
In order to make really great smoked mac and cheese on your Pit Boss pellet grill, you will preferably need a 12 inch cast iron skillet to smoke it in.
It’s already pre-seasoned and has the nice high sides to keep all that bubbly smoked mac and cheese contained.
The best part is you can bring it right from the Pit Boss to the table and serve directly from the cast iron skillet.
A Large Stock Pot
You will also need a standard large pasta pot to pre-boil the macaroni “al dente” in water before you add it to the cheese mixture in the cast iron pan and put it on the Pit Boss.
A Cheese Grater
Our #1 tip for making smoked mac and cheese on your Pit Boss would be to grate your own blocks of cheese rather than buying “pre-shredded” cheese.
Pre-shredded cheese, while convenient, is coated in cellulose to keep it from clumping up in the package.
Unfortunately, this also keeps the cheese from melting as easily and from absorbing moisture and smokey flavor in the Pit Boss.
This is exactly the opposite of what we want to happen so make sure to grate your own cheese. If you need a good cheese grater we are fans of this rotary style one from Zulay.
Its makes quick and easy work of grating large amounts of cheese and you don’t risk scrapping for finger tips off!
Lastly, you’ll need your ingredients to make the Pit Boss smoked mac and cheese.
You don’t need the fanciest cheese on the shelf by any means but don’t buy the cheapest stuff either or it may not melt as easily.
Again, make sure to buy whole blocks you can shred yourself. And don’t skip the mustard powder, it really does make a difference!
If you are in the camp that likes breadcrumbs on your smoked mac and cheese, we use a simple mix of breadcrumbs and butter but also like to mix in a little bit of our favorite BBQ rub, Three Little Pigs to give it some extra BBQ’y flavor.
Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb Elbow Macaroni Noodles
- 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
- 4 Tbsp Flour
- 1 Tbsp Mustard Powder
- 1 Cup Half and Half
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 4 oz Cream Cheese
- 3 Cups grated Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Cup grated Gouda
- 1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan
- 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 Cup melted Salted Butter
- 1 Tbsp Three Little Pigs Kansas City Championship BBQ Rub
The Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Mac and Cheese on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill
Smoked Mac and Cheese, being a relatively wet side dish like a chili or soup, will absorb a lot of smoke very quickly.
So make sure to choose a either a mild fruitwood wood pellet like apple, cherry, and peach, or another milder smoking wood like pecan, oak or alder.
Stay away from mesquite or hickory on Pit Boss Smoked Mac and Cheese.
Hopefully if you are already using a milder wood for your main protein you can just continue using the same pellets for your smoked mac and cheese.
For the best results, store your unused pellets in a sealed room temperature container like this 20 lb pellet container rather than in the Pit Boss hopper outside.
Pellets do not last forever, but will definitely last a LOT longer if stored indoors in a quality airtight container.
How a Pit Boss Pellet Grill Works
We have previously covered how to season a Pit Boss, how to start a Pit Boss, as well as how to troubleshoot the smoke level of your pellet grill.
So if you need a more in-depth review on how to use your Pit Boss for the first time, check those articles out first!
If you already know your Pit Boss inside and out, feel free to skip this stuff.
But if not, below is a brief overview of how a Pit Boss pellet grill works and how to start it up properly to prepare to smoke your food.
In order to cook ANYTHING well on a Pit Boss pellet grill, you need to first have a basic understanding of how a pellet grill works.
***Completely New to Using a Pellet Grill? No Worries!****
Hop over and check out this Complete Guide to Understanding How a Pellet Grill Works if you are interested in learning more in depth. We’ll be here when you get back!***
Add your Hardwood Pellets
First, you add hardwood pellets into the side hopper.
The Pit Boss pellet grill automatically feeds these small wood pellets via an auger mechanism to a fire pot where they are burned up, providing both heat and smokey flavor.
The pellet grill automatically controls the flow of pellets depending on your temperature setting so that you maintain an even temperature throughout the entire cook.
How to Start up the Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Fill your hopper with pellets as described above.
- Make sure the fire pot is cleaned out from the last cook and not full of ashes. You can remove it from the bottom and dump or vacuum it out and then put back and clip into place.
- Plug in and start up the pellet grill, keeping the lid open. Set the temperature dial to “Smoke” and press the “Power” button.
- If there are no pellets in the auger or firepot yet, only in the hopper, you need to now hold the “Prime” button until you hear pellets begin to drop into the firepot.
- The “Prime” feature on a Pit Boss pellet grill speeds up the auger so that pellets fill it quickly and get to your fire pot before the pellet grill “times out” from a lack of pellets coming into the fire pot.
- Once pellets are in the firepot, stop holding the “Prime” button and wait about 5-7 minutes with the lid open for a torchy burner lighting sound. This means the fire rod has come up to temperature and has ignited the pellets. At this point, a more significant amount of smoke will begin coming out of the pellet grill. This means the pellets are ignited and the pellet grill is working. Now you can close the lid.
- Close the lid and change the temperature setting to 350°F. Pit Boss recommends always preheating to this temperature FIRST, even if you are eventually going to cook at different temperature.
- This will take about 10-15 minutes to preheat the grill.
- Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates.
- Now adjust the temperature to where you need it to cook your food.
Why Bristle Free Grill Brushes?
Check out our Ultimate Guide to How to Keep your Family Safe by using ONLY Bristle Free Grill Brushes, along with a selection of some of our favorites!
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill
Set the Pit Boss Temperature
The best temperature to smoke your mac and cheese on the Pit Boss is going to be 225°F.
Thankfully this is the same temperature for a lot of “low and slow” BBQ such as pork, brisket, and ribs if you are already making one of those things.
The smoked mac and cheese will take about an hour to an hour and a half so plan accordingly to time it to finish at the same time your meat is finished resting.
Thankfully, in the cast iron pan the smoked mac and cheese will stay nice and hot for a long while even once you’ve taken it off the Pit Boss so you don’t have to be perfect!
Shred your Cheese and Prepare your Ingredients
Take the time first to shred and measure out all your cheese now and measure out your other ingredients.
Once you start making the cheese sauce you won’t have time to stop and shred each kind of cheese.
Cook the Macaroni “Al Dente”
You’ll need to bring your large pot of water to a boil and cook your elbow macaroni “al dente”, meaning still somewhat firm, before you add it to the cheese sauce in the cast iron skillet.
About 5-6 minutes cooking at a rolling boil should be enough. Then drain the water very well and remove the macaroni from any heat.
The the macaroni will finish cooking in the cheese sauce in the smoker after that.
Make the Cheese Sauce
While the water is coming up to a boil, you can heat your cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.
Then you will whisk in the flour until smooth (about 3-4 minutes) and then whisk in the mustard powder.
Whisk in the half and half and mil and bring to slight boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese until smooth.
Then add your shredded cheeses, a little a time in small handfuls, whisking until smooth.
Add Macaroni and Topping
Once your cheese sauce is smooth and creamy (add more milk if its is too thick), add your drained “al dente” macaroni noodles and stir around until all the pasta is completely coated.
Mix together your melted butter, panko breadcrumbs and BBQ rub in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese if you wish.
Put it in the Pit Boss
Now it’s time to smoke your mac and cheese in the Pit Boss!
Carefully carry your cast iron skillet out to the Pit Boss pellet grill set to 225°F and put it in the smoker uncovered.
Let it cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours until the top is nice and brown and sides are bubbling up.
Best Ways to Serve Pit Boss Smoked Mac and Cheese
The best part about smoking your Pit Boss mac and cheese in a cast iron pan is that you can bring the pan right to the table to serve out of when its finished!
If you want even more great side dishes, make sure to also check out our smoked broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower if you are eating healthy, or you can indulge in our famous sweet and smokey sweet potatoes to accompany your meal as well!
What Else Can I Smoke on my Pit Boss?
So glad you asked!
Check out some of our other favorite recipes below that can all be easily modified for a Pit Boss if not done so already.
You’ve come to right place!
- Pit Boss Pulled Pork
- Pit Boss Smoked Baby Back Ribs
- Pit Boss Smoked Pork Loin
- Pit Boss 3-2-1 Ribs
- Pellet Grill Smoked Pork Chops
- Pellet Grilled Bratwurst
- Gas Grilled Bratwurst
- Smoked Fresh Holiday Ham
- Spiral Sliced Smoked Hot Dogs
- Smoked Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions
- Roasted Pig in Your Backyard
- Pit Boss Beef Brisket
- Pit Boss Smoked Beef Tenderloin
- Pit Boss Smoked Prime Rib
- Pit Boss Smoked Chuck Roast
- Pit Boss Smoked Beef Ribs
- Perfect Smoked London Broil
- Smoked Ribeye Roast
- Smoked Corned Beef
- Smoked Ribeye Steaks
- Smoked Filet Mignon
- Hot and Fast Pellet Grill Beef Brisket
- Pellet Grilled Steak
- Perfect Grilled Hamburgers
- Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Easy Smoked Flank Steak
- Smoked Tomahawk Steaks
- Smoked Bottom Round Roast
- Smoked Sirloin Tip Roast
- Smoked Rump Roast
- Pit Boss Smoked Salmon
- Honey Smoked Salmon
- Smoked Oysters in a Garlic White Wine Sauce
- Smoked Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Smoked Lobster Tails
- Easy Smoked Tilapia
- Perfect Smoked Halibut
- Smoked Mahi Mahi Fillets
- Smoked Swordfish Steaks
- Smoked Crab Legs with Cajun Clarified Butter
- Smoked Mackerel with Maple Balsamic Glaze
- Smoked Catfish with Cajun BBQ Rub
- Smoked Red Snapper with Blackening Rub
- Smoked Trout
- Smoked Tuna Steaks
- Pit Boss Smoked Whole Chicken
- Pit Boss Smoked Chicken Thighs
- Pit Boss Smoked Chicken Breasts
- Pit Boss Smoked Chicken Legs
- Pit Boss Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters
- Beer Can Chicken on a Pellet Grill
- Spatchcocked Chicken on a Pellet Grill
- Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey Breast
- Pellet Grill Turkey
- Easy Smoked Turkey Legs
- Spatchcock Smoked Turkey on a Pellet Grill
- Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a grill or smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!
- Smoked Leg of Lamb with Guinness Marinade
- Smoked Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Butter Sauce
- Smoked Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary or Smoker
- Smoked and Pulled Lamb Shoulder with a Turkish Spice Rub
- Smoked Lamb Shanks
Sides and Desserts
- Masterbuilt Smoked Cheese
- Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Smoked Asparagus
- Easy Smoked Broccoli
- Smoked Cauliflower
- Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes
- How to Steam Tamales
- Smoked Pineapple in a Maple Bourbon Sauce
- Smoked Carrots with a Honey Balsamic Glaze
Pit Boss Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Wood Pellets preferably a fruitwood like apple or cherry
- Large Pot with Pasta Strainer
- 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Cheese Grater
Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb Elbow Macaroni Noodles
- ½ cup Salted Butter
- 4 tbsp Flour
- 1 tbsp Mustard Powder
- 1 cup Half and Half
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 4 oz Cream Cheese
- 3 Cups Cheddar Cheese grated
- 1 Cup Gouda grated
- ½ Cup Parmesan shredded
- 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Melted Butter
- 1 tbsp Three Little Pigs Kansas City Championship BBQ Rub or your favorite BBQ rub
- Take the time first to shred and measure out all your cheeses now and measure out your other ingredients.
Start the Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Remove the fire pot from the bottom of the Pit Boss and clean out any ashes left over from the last cook. Replace it and make sure it is secured in place with the clips on either side. Also, wrap the drip tray in aluminum foil to limit cleanup needed later.
- Add your pellets to the hopper, start the Pit Boss pellet grill and put it on the "Smoke" setting.
- If there are no pellets in the auger, hold the "Prime" button until you hear pellets begin falling in the fire pot. This will speed up the auger to prime it full of pellets before you start preheating.
- Once the Pit boss begins to produce thick white smoke, let it run for about 5-7 minutes until the smoke turns more of a clearish blue color. This means the fire rod has fully heated up to burn the pellets more cleanly.
- Next, set the temperature to preheat the Pit Boss pellet grill to 350°F. We will drop this temperature before we start cooking.
- Once the Pit Boss has come up to 350°F, drop the temperature on the control panel to 225°, and clean the grill grates with a good grill brush and close the lid.
Cook the Macaroni “Al Dente”
- Bring at least 5 qts of water to a boil in a large pot and cook your elbow macaroni for 5-6 minutes at a rolling boil until it is “al dente”, meaning still somewhat firm.1 lb Elbow Macaroni Noodles
- Drain the pasta water and set the macaroni aside off the heat.
Make the Cheese Sauce
- While the water is coming up to a boil or macaroni is cooking, you can start to heat your cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.½ cup Salted Butter
- Whisk in the flour until smooth (about 3-4 minutes) and then whisk in the mustard powder.4 tbsp Flour, 1 tbsp Mustard Powder
- Whisk in the half and half and milk and bring to gentle boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese until smooth.1 cup Half and Half, 1 cup Whole Milk, 4 oz Cream Cheese
- Then add your shredded cheeses, a little a time in small handfuls, whisking until smooth.3 Cups Cheddar Cheese, 1 Cup Gouda, ½ Cup Parmesan
Add Macaroni and Breadcrumb Topping
- Once your cheese sauce is smooth and creamy (add more milk if its is too thick), add your drained “al dente” macaroni noodles and stir around until all the pasta is completely coated.
- Mix together your melted butter, panko breadcrumbs and BBQ rub in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese if you wish.1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs, ¼ cup Melted Butter, 1 tbsp Three Little Pigs Kansas City Championship BBQ Rub
Smoke on the Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Carefully carry your (hot) cast iron skillet out to the Pit Boss pellet grill set to 225°F and put it right in the smoker uncovered.
- Let it cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered until the top is nice and brown and sides are bubbling up.
- When finished you can serve to guests directly out of the cast iron pan!