Seattle locals have known about Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for a while now, and thanks to Oprah naming Beecher’s Mac & Cheese her “Favorite Thing”, Beechers has been taking comfort food to a new level. For Thanksgiving, we did Beecher’s Mac & Cheese with a special, Hop Hogs & Harvest twist – chimayo chile pepper and smoked bacon, all cooked in our Traeger grill which operates like an oven.
Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese
Hop Hogs & Harvest Style
- 6 ounces penne pasta
- 2 cups Beecher’s Flagship Sauce (recipe below)
- 1 ounce cheddar, grated ( 1/4 cup)
- 1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated ( 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- Preheat your Big Green Egg, Traeger, or oven to 350 degrees. Pecan pellets are recommended
- Oil or butter an 8-inch baking dish.
Cook the penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.
Combine cooked pasta and Flagship Sauce in a medium bowl and mix carefully but thoroughly. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses and then the chile powder.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: If you double the recipe to make a main dish, bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan for 30 minutes.
Makes about 4 cups, enough for a double batch.
- 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 14 ounces semihard cheese, such as Beecher’s Flagship, grated (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 2 ounces grated semisoft cheese, such as Beecher’s Just Jack
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Chimayo chile powder. The original calls for chipotle, but we prefer the chimayo
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Optional: 1 pkg naturally smoked hickory bacon, thick cut
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chile powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to three days.
Smoke or cook the bacon until nearly well done and drain on paper towels. Then dice and place 1/4 in the Cheese Sauce or to taste.
Hop Hogs Tip: Freeze in cupcake cups for portion-friendly snacks you can easily reheat in the microwave or oven for up to 3 mos after making.
Original Recipe courtesy Seattle PI