Smoked Beer Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup beer
8oz cream cheese (1 block)
1 cup gouda, shredded
1/2 cup sharp cheddar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or mustard powder)
Salt to taste
16 oz Pasta

Instructions

Preheat your smoker to a low temp of 180-200°F.
Pour out 1 cup of beer, allowing the carbonation to come out. Make sure beer is room temp.
In boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than package directions. It will cook through on the smoker. Rinse in cold water (to halt the cooking) and set aside.
Warm your milk in a small saucepan or microwave, do not boil.
Melt the butter in a medium pot over med-low heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, cooking until it is smooth and starts to smell nutty. Keep whisking, gradually adding in the warm milk. Continue to cook and whisk for about 5 minutes until it begins to thicken.
Slowly add in the beer and continue to cook, whisking for another 2-3 minutes.
Add in the cream cheese first, whisking to mix it completely. Add in the gouda and the cheddar slowly, keeping the sauce temperature lower, below 180°F. If the sauce is bubbling it’s probably too hot.
Add in the spices and salt to taste. I typically use 1 tsp of salt, but this might adjust based on the salt from the cheeses. Use your judgment. Whisk in the spices and turn off the heat.
Stir in the cooked pasta gently, completely coating. Transfer to a pan or vessel for the smoker. Smoke for 30-45 minutes, stirring gently after the first 15 minutes.
Optional – add a layer of cheese on the top after you stir, giving you a melty topping.
Notes
TIP: Set the cheeses out for at least 30 minutes before you start, allowing them to melt better. Taste the sauce and adjust before finishing. This guide is not an exact measurement for your preferences, it gives you the option to season your food appropriately. The amount of flexibility with this dish allows for many seasoning and flavor combinations.

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