You can’t talk about smoking without a Mac and Cheese recipe! This recipe, however, offers up all the delicious creaminess of Mac and Cheese without the guilt. How? It is made with cauliflower, keeping it low carb yet totally delicious. Top it off with a sprinkling of crunchy bacon for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a delectable comfort food that you can feel good about.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is Keto and Low carb so you can enjoy this guilt free! You can also push the easy button and if you are stressed for time, you can use riced cauliflower either sold in the produce section or even use the frozen riced cauliflower. The beauty of cauliflower is that it has gotten so popular that it is easy to find it in all shapes and forms these days, making it so much easier to eat lower carb and gluten free than it used to be! And thank the Lord for that!
How to Make Paleo and Whole 30 Compliant Smoked Mac and Cheese
Paleo and Whole 30 diets don’t allow dairy so you will have to use plant based dairy alternatives. The heavy cream can swapped with cashew or oat milk, and the cheese can be swapped with dairy free cheese. Dairy free cheese will never melt the same way as regular cheese but if you want to do a healthier version of Mac and Cheese it will still be good and you will get your fix! Add a touch of nutritional yeast for color and flavor.
This recipe was originally written for my cookbook, Healthy Electric Smoker Cookbook, but it can be made on the grill or in the oven with a few changes. The main difference for the electric smoker is that most Electric Smokers can’t get hot enough to bake the cauliflower so you have to start in the Electric Smoker to get the Smoke and then finish in the oven.
But, for the average Grill, Smoker or Pellet Smoker this recipe can be made entirely on the grill. Here are the play by instructions on how to make these, adapted to the type of grill you might have:
Smoked Mac and Cheese on Electric Smoker:
Smoke at 250 for 30 minutes, then finish in the oven (see full recipe instructions below in recipe card.
Smoked Mac and Cheese on the Weber Kettle:
To do this on a Weber Kettle, you will need to create direct and indirect zones on the grill. Start by adding wood chips and smoking on indirect for 30 minutes and then open the vents up to add more oxygen and crank up to 350 and 400 and continue cooking on indirect. See full directions below.
Smoked Mac and Cheese on a Pellet Smoker:
Making this recipe on the Pellet smoker is easy peasy because all you need to do is smoke at 250 for 30 minutes and then crank your heat up to 350 after 30 minutes.Print
This smoked cauliflower mac and cheese gives you all the feels of mac and cheese with added smoke flavor without any guilt, making this a stand out side dish that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped (equivalent to 3 cups)
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- ½ heavy cream
- 3 tbsp grated pork rinds (MSG free) OR nitrate free bacon bits
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Chopped green onions (optional)
Steam cauliflower until barely fork tender.
While steaming, make the cheese sauce by simmering the cream on low and adding the cheese stirring to melt, about 10 minutes. Add in the salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Evenly spread the cauliflower in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and cover with the sauce.
Place the skillet in the smoker with oak or pecan and smoke for 30 minutes at 250 degrees on indirect heat to obtain smoke flavor. (If using a standard Kettle grill, create a direct and indirect zone and smoke on indirect.). If using a pellet smoker, no need to worry about zones, just start at 250 and crank up to 250 after 30 minutes. If using a gas grill, you will need to create direct and indirect zones and use a smoker tube to add smoke flavor.
After smoking for 30 minutes, crank the the heat up on the Grill/Smoker to 350 degrees, with the cast iron still on indirect heat. If using a pellet smoker, just crank the heat up now to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the cauliflower mac and cheese with the bacon bits and ground up pork rinds.
Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese mixture has begun to bubble.
Remove from oven, garnish with chopped green onion, let cool for 10 minutes and serve immediately.
Tip: Look for “pork panko” online — this is a low-carb, junk-free pork rind alternative to bread crumbs and a great way to add low carb crunch to casseroles and various dishes.