Friday, March 23, 2012

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese

I guess that I forgot to mention that I was going away for a week on a fishing trip with Trevor and my father in law in Florida.

Gone fishin' ......

Actually, I didn't forget, I just didn't want any of you folks to steal our two Big Green Eggs while I was gone, (not that I don't trust you - wink).

When Trevor and I got back, I was craving some good barbecue so I uncovered the grill and smoked a rack of pork loin back ribs (aka "baby back" although these were 2 1/2 down instead of 2 1/4 down).

big green egg ribs, craycort grate ribs, kamado ribs, grill dome ribs
Gratuitous rib shot.

I won't go into the details because I used a version of the method I learned in George Ewart's Hands On Rib Class at Dead End BBQ last year.  George is repeating the class next month [details here] and I would highly recommend the class.  Whether you are a beginner wanting to learn to BBQ or a seasoned competitor, you will learn a lot.

Alexis made a batch of her pimento mac and cheese to go with the ribs.  Mac and cheese is a perennial BBQ side dish and let's be up front, it's not health food.  I'd rather do an extra 20 minutes on my work out than eat "lite" mac and cheese.

The recipe can be made in the oven but we also like to do it on the grill in a stoneware pan.  I like the way stoneware cooks on the grill, it acts as a heat sink and helps cook evenly.  The particular pan used here is a deep dish pie pan (11" x 2") from the Family Heritage line at Pampered Chef.  Many people often ask me about the durability of stoneware on the grill.  Almost all of the stoneware you see used on my blog are at least over 6 years old, some 10 years old.
Served with Bush's  new Sweet Mesquite Grillin' Beans.

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Kelli's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

  • 16 oz Velveeta, cut into 1" cubes*
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 18 oz large elbow macaroni, dry
  • 2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp McCormick's Smoked Paprika
  • 3 Tbsp roasted red pepper*, diced
  1.  Pour the cream and milk into a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the Velveeta and allow to melt, stirring occasionally.  Add the butter and melt.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the pasta according to directions.
  3. Place the pasta and half of the shredded cheese in a pan that will hold the pasta about 2-3 inches deep.  Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta.  Top with the other half of shredded cheese.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
  4. Bake at 350f on charcoal grill (indirect heat) until the top is golden and bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Yes, Velveeta.  Don't judge me.  The Bible says it's okay. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to use Velveeta."  I swear it's in there.  Trust me, don't go look it up.  I'm quoting the Bible, would I lie?
  • I find that roasted red pepper gives much more flavor than jarred pimentos, which are often lacking in the flavor department.
  • Served with Bush's New Sweet Mesquite Grillin' Beans (Black beans simmered with onions and red pepper in a sweet and smoky sauce).  Helps make up a little bit for the mac and cheese since a serving of the beans has only 1 gram total fat.  But I still have to do extra workouts today because of the mac and cheese!  It was worth it....
Ran out of hickory chunks so I used 2 small hickory splits from my offset smoker, then buried them in more coal.

Like I said, went easy route and used Dead End BBQ rub...

And Dead End BBQ sauce.
George's rib technique is meant for spare ribs but works on loin backs too, if you adjust the time.

Pimento Macaroni and Cheese on the big gree egg, kamado grill mac and cheese,
Don't worry if you have a little "over-bubble-itivity"

[Standard Disclaimer] Bush Beans - I have a paid business agreement with Bush Beans for this year but have used their products for long before.  McCormick/Lawry's - I had a recent paid post with McCormick's and received a box load of free samples.  Pampered Chef - I paid full price for the Pampered Chef stoneware mentioned.  Dead End BBQ - I pay full price for their food and classes.  I just like to promote them because George and his crew do a great job. 

If you were born before MTV, you probably remember family and friends get togethers where someone would break out the carousel slide projector and share vacation pictures.  Here is my modern version of that.

There were 4 dozen other boats fishing "the Pass" at Pensacola on day 1.
We cruised the coastline 10-20' deep, site fishing for cobia.  Dolphin in the foreground.

Me standing on the seat, searching for the elusive cobia. We didn't find them....
But we did find and track a large school of black drum for 45 minutes.

We hooked up a half dozen times while paralleling the school.

The drum were all big hogs! 

Trevor (12 y/o)  getting practice at the helm.  He is going to get an operators license this summer.

Yeah, I've had mornings where I'm slow and need this sign too.

Fishing at Pensacola Pass on Day 2.

Lunch at the Sunset Grille was always a favorite.
Trevor working a plug at Marker 28.

Me pulling up anchor on our last day of fishing.  Time to go home.
Just a funny pic - Forget Madison Ave....we "rednecks" know how to market and advertise!  Sign near a roofless abandoned building off of US 331 in Alabama.