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.


  1. The ribs & mac & cheese have me drooling... like usual.

    It looks like you guys had a fun time fishing together. Great memories you are making with your son!!!

  2. I was about to comment on the ribs and then I saw the oozing cheese shot. Sorry. Oozing cheese wins every time.

  3. Looks like a great time. Puddles' brother just got rid of his boat, so no more ocean fishing for us for a while. Dang.

    I love that idea for the mac&cheese. I'm going to try it soon.

  4. I checked the bible and the Velveeta is definitely in there, as are the loaves and fishes and Spam. The guys who wrote this stuff definitely had Good Humor.

  5. The ribs look drool worhty and so does that yummy mac and cheese made with velvetta! My mother always made her mac and cheese with Velvetta, and makes the creamiest sauce. ( you must be reading that New Living Bible ;) haha! )
    Love all the fishing pictures. Laughing hard at the roofing sign! We have sights like yhat here in Missouri too! :)

  6. This whole meal looks incredible. However, that mac n cheese bubbling over the side... wow. I'm with you on the work out option. I would MUCH rather eat the real thing than lite!

  7. For all of those out there that don't know about the stretch of land in NW Florida from Pensacola to Panama City, you are really missing out. Best beaches and fishing anywhere in Florida. Lived here in Destin for 46 years and still loving it. Chris, glad you can have those memories with Trevor. One day he will be passing them on to his kids. Supor pictures. Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. Looks like you had a good trip - that's a nice fish your FIL is holding. Your ribs look delicious and I really like the idea of peppers in the mac and cheese - no Velveeta haranging from me, especially since we use the same recipe.

  9. The bird on the "slow no wake" sign is a Forester's Tern. Don't you love those bright orange legs? Welcome back Chris.

  10. That macaroni and cheese looks positively scrumptious!

  11. Someone had fun on vacation! You'll have those memories forever. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us. I could look at vacation pictures like that over and over again. You can just feel the fun as you view them.

    Did someone mention pimento cheese? I grew up on pimento cheese with my mother's homemade mayonnaise. Yes, I was spoiled but I've never lost my love of the taste of pimento cheese. Great idea to use the flavors in mac and cheese.

  12. I laughed out loud when you said you didn't tell us you were going on vacation because you didn't want us to steal your BGE's! The ribs and the macaroni and cheese are both drool worthy , and the photos from your trip are gorgeous!

    Kim in MD

  13. Hey Chris,
    It was so good to see your comment pop in this morning. I'm glad to see you still have your sense of humor. I left a response saying I don't mind if you steal the flatware and pans as long as you don't steal my grill - good minds think alike! I was almost mad at you for coming to Florida without visiting me, but since you were way up in the panhandle I'll let it slide - this time! Everything looks wonderful here as always :)

  14. I don't have the extra space on my patio beside my XL BGE for an extra Big Green Egg so your grill is save, at least until I extend my patio.

    Your grand father,father, and son trip looks great. I need to line up the same type of trip. My dad loves to salt water fish and lives near the Carolina coast. My son only has one more year of high school and He is off to college. We have never had a grand dad, son, grand son fishing trip.

  15. gotta love that sense of humor - that last pic crack me up... very nice drum, we have a few drum closer to the mouth and inland, some fine black and grey snapper on occasion here in our bay, unfortunately, our water is not as pristine as Pensacola's... but then, the two bays are very different too...
    now, about that mac n cheese, gotta be one of the best ones I have seen in a while, I do love my cheesy mac....

  16. Looks like a wonderful and relaxing trip, Chris. Those drum are huge.

    I haven't tried a macaroni and cheese made with cream yet. It does seem like a great idea though. Why not go all the way?

  17. Your panhand panhandle adventure always make me homesick. we should meet up there and go fishing someday. I am serious let me know sometime, I would love to have a beer with you at Sunset Grille. GREG

  18. That mac 'n' cheese is puttin' the ribs to shame ... wow! Absolute decadence ... :)

  19. Looks like you had a great time on the trip! Love the last picture, I'm going to share it with people at work.. I mean I do for for Off Madison Ave :)
    As for the mac and cheese... Yes, I'll have the whole pan please!!! Mac and cheese, no matter what kind, is my kryptonite.

  20. guys are basically fishing champions! That fish you pictured is INSANE.

    i would love to say mmm velveeta...but I've never actually had it. I'd be much more inclined to steal a serving (or two) of this mac and cheese than I would be to stead the big green eggs, though.

  21. Those ribs looks killer! I know that it was a post for the mac and cheese (which also look good) but I keep going back to the ribs!

  22. The bubbly mac 'n' cheese is calling my name! Velveeta has such a creamy melt - I can't resist using it once in a while. Your trip looks fun and relaxing!

  23. Do you run, like, 40 miles a week to get to eat all that cheezeliciousness? It would be worth it, I guess, but it's got to be hell on your knees.

  24. That mac & cheese is over the top. And just like the perfect Southerner, you use Velveeta as part of the cheese base. That's our trick too. Love the entire thing.

  25. Ribs and mac and cheese...I'd be in heaven!

  26. Chris this looks amazing!! I cannot wait to try making the pimiento mac & cheese. What a great idea to make it in stoneware on the grill! Thanks for an amazing post.

  27. Velveeta is what makes my favorite Mac and Cheese dish. Makes it creamy, so I hear yah and won't judge!

  28. Thank you for a stoneware recipe that can I can do on the grill ! I now have 3 stonewares and a small grill, and I've been racking my brain trying to use them all as much as I can,.. to justify the costs of buying them :)


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