Some side dishes are quintessential to barbecue. Macaroni and cheese is one of those sides. If you are ever stuck for an idea for a great side dish to compliment the smokey flavor of your barbecue, this baked jalapeno macaroni and cheese will fit the bill perfectly. And, if you don’t like jalapenos, just cut them and make some plain old mac and cheese.
You really don’t want to attempt this on your bbq pit. I suppose it would be possible, but it would be a big pain in the butt. Save yourself some effort and use your oven.
Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni
- 3 tbs butter
- 3 tbs flour
- 1 tsp powdered mustard
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 16 oz sharp cheddar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste
- 4 jalapenos, fully deseeded and finely diced
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Before you get started with everything, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Start a large pot of salted water boiling and add your elbow macaroni. Boil it until it is firm, but not hard (al dente). Since you’ll be baking the macaroni later, you don’t want to boil it until it’s too soft, or it’ll end up slimy due to it being cooked twice.
In a small pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion and jalapenos for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the flour until it’s smooth. Stir in the milk, paprika, cayenne and mustard and let it simmer for five minutes, stirring often. Whisk in the egg and 3/4ths of your cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in the macaroni and put it into a large casserole dish. Add the leftover cheese in a layer over the top.
Sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs lightly over the top of the mac and cheese, then put it into your preheated oven for thirty minutes.
Let it cool for five minutes prior to serving.
Sometimes in our quest for perfect barbecue, we tend to focus only on the meat. Spending twelve hours on a brisket, then making boxed macaroni and cheese is almost heresy. Make a great side and it’ll add to the win of the great brisket. Add a good beer and I’ll be over for dinner. This baked jalapeno macaroni and cheese recipe will add an extra kick to this tried and true staple barbecue side dish.