I recently smoked a big block of Velveeta. When I first mentioned the idea you could actually hear the gasps. Half were in amazement, half were not impressed. Well, for those not on the smoked Velveeta train, time to admit you were wrong because it’s crazy, crazy good! My first recipe for it? Yep, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese!
You could make this recipe with ‘regular’ Velveeta instead. But I have to say, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese is something special. The flavor is just right. The creaminess is what you’d expect.
This recipe is also fantastic using smoked cheddar cheese, something I’ve made a few times also. You can also find smoked cheddar in most stores. Sadly, you cannot find smoked Velveeta in stores. Yet.
Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese
Servings 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
- 1 pound smoked Velveeta chopped (you can substitute smoked shredded cheddar)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 F
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 7 minutes. Rinse and drain well.
Drain water from pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.
Add the onion and cook until just soft.
Add the cubed Velveeta, milk and mustard. Stir and let cook until the cheese has melted and is smooth, stirring often. You want the sauce to thicken until it sticks to a spoon, 10-15 minutes.
Stir in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saute pan.
Add the Panko and stir until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the mac-and-cheese. Slice and serve.
Oh, yes, people laughed when I brought up the idea of smoking Velveeta. “Why?” “Are you insane?” You name it, I heard it. But I was not deterred because in my mind I had already tasted smoked Velveeta mac-and-cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches and they tasted fantastic.
I used the exact same process that I use for cold smoking cheese blocks except that I froze the Velveeta overnight first. Velveeta gets soft even at room temperature, so by freezing it I was helping to guarantee that it didn’t melt on a smoker. And it didn’t! It came out absolutely amazing! Next time, I’m loading up my smoker big time with Velveeta! This stuff is awesome!
I use an A-Maze-N smoke tube when cold smoking. It gives me perfect control over the temperature and produces consistent smoke. I buy wood pellets and stuff the tube completely, then light one end. The tube stays lit for a few hours, perfect for smoking cheese. I highly recommend it. It’s also great for adding smoke flavor to dishes being cooked on a gas grill.
The first thing I made with smoked Velvetta was, of course, macaroni and cheese!
Note: Make sure you unwrap the Velveeta completely before freezing!
Unwrap the Velveeta. Place on a plate and place in the freezer for at least 24 hours.
Fire up your smoker for cold smoking. If you don't have an A-Maze-N smoking tube you can still cold smoke with just a few briquettes and a chunk or two of wood
Make sure you keep the temperature below 90 F, and preferably at 70 F.
Place the Velveeta on a grate or in a disposable pan and transfer to the smoker.
Smoke for 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how strong you want the smoke flavor. If the cheese begins to sweet wipe it dry and make sure the temperature is staying low.
Remove from the smoker and let cool completely. Place in a vacuum sealer bag or resealable bag and close. Refrigerate for a least 2 weeks before using.