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Baked Mac and Cheese with Jerky Dust

Take one taste of this twist on a classic and you won’t look back. Thick and creamy mac n’ cheese is topped with a crunchy, flavorful jerky topping.

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 35m

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow noodles
  • 1/2 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 4 tbsp. Butter, melted
  • 1/4 c Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 c Panko
  • 1 lb Gruyere, Shredded
  • 1 tbsp. Whole Black peppercorn
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Sprig Rosemary
  • 3 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 1/2 c Whole Milk
  • 2 1/2 c Heavy Cream
  • 5 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 4 oz Beef Jerky, shredded

Instructions

  1. When ready to cook, start your Traeger according to grill instructions. Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed (10-15 minutes).
  2. Heat butter in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Add flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Cook roux for 1 minute until it smells slightly nutty. While whisking, stream in milk and cream and continue to whisk until flour clumps are worked out.
  3. Wrap herbs and black peppercorn in cheese cloth and tie with twine. Drop into cream mixture and simmer 15-20 minutes until liquid thickens. Remove cheese cloth with herbs and discard.
  4. Remove from heat, whisk in gruyere until melted through and season with salt. Set aside.
  5. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook 6-8 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse pasta. Add to cheese sauce and stir to coat. Pour mixture into a large cast iron pan.
  6. In a small bowl combine panko, parmesan cheese, melted butter, paprika and stir well.
  7. Sprinkle mixture over mac and cheese then top with shredded jerky “dust”.
  8. Place cast iron pan directly on the grill grate and bake 15-20 minutes until cheese sauce is bubbling and top is lightly browned. Remove from the grill and serve.