Fried Bacon Mac & Cheese

How to make Fried Bacon Mac & Cheese

Recipe Items

Chef Tom fires up the Napoleon Prestige P500 Gas Grill for Fried Bacon Mac & Cheese! Roasted bacon & pimento mac and cheese formed into balls, breaded and deep fried on the side burner. This is party food magic!


Fried Bacon Mac & Cheese


Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • 8 oz macaroni elbow pasta
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp Yoder Smokers Beef Rub
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 8 oz (1 scant cup) pimento cheese spread
  • 4 oz (12 slices) American cheese
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 - 3 qt vegetable oil for frying

 

For the breading:

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp Yoder Smokers Beef Rub, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half and half

 

For the BBQ Ranch:

  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk Ranch (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup Big Rick’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce

 

For the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3-4 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Noble Saltworks Hickory Smoked Salt
  • Black pepper, to taste

 

Instructions

To make the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk well to combine. To make the BBQ Ranch, combine equal parts Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and American Stockyard Kansas City Barbecue Sauce and whisk well to combine.

 

Place bacon on wire rack over foil lined sheet pan. Cook inside the Napoleon Prestige P500RSIB-3 Propane Grill over indirect heat (low heat under pan, medium-high heat on opposite side - about 500ºF) for about 45 minutes, until rendered and crispy around the edges. Remove and dice.

 

Fill a Staub Dutch Oven on the side burner filled 2/3 full with water. Bring to a simmer. Add the elbow macaroni and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes. Strain. Place pasta in a medium bowl and toss in a little oil to prevent clumping/sticking.

 

To make the pimento cheese sauce, return the dutch oven to the side burner and preheat over medium-low heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the flour and Yoder Smokers Beef Rub. Stir/whisk for about 60 seconds. Slowly pour in the half and half, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When all of the half and half is incorporated, bring to a simmer. Then, add the American and cheddar cheeses, a handful at a time, whisking constantly. When one handful of cheese is melted, add the next until all shredded cheese is incorporated, then whisk in the pimento cheese. Remove from the heat.

 

Combine the pasta, pimento cheese sauce and diced bacon and stir well. Spread in a quarter sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic directly on the surface of the mac and cheese. Chill in fridge until solid, about 2-3 hours or overnight.

 

Uncover the mac and cheese. Scoop out 1/4 cup at a time and form into balls. Cover and chill for another 30-60 minutes.

 

Prepare for three stage breading. In a wide bowl, combine 1 cup flour with 1 tbsp Yoder Smokers Beef Rub and stir. In a second bowl combine 3 beaten eggs with 1/2 cup half and half and whisk. In a third bowl, combine 2 cups panko bread crumbs and 2 tbsp Yoder Smokers Beef Rub and stir.

 

Take a ball of bacon Mac and cheese and roll it in the flour. Shake off excess flour, then roll in the egg wash, coating the entire surface. Return to the flour and repeat the process. Then back into the egg wash again, and finally into the panko. Press the panko into the mac and cheese ball, then transfer back to the pan/tray. Repeat this process with all of the mac and cheese balls.

 

Place the Finex 5 Quart Dutch Oven on the side burner of the grill. Fill with 2-3 quarts vegetable oil. Stabilize the temperature of the oil around 350ºF.

You might also enjoy: Chili Mac

Place a wire rack over a sheet pan inside the main cooking chamber of the grill. Set the heat under the pan to low. Set the heat on the opposite side of the grill to medium-high, stabilizing the grill around 450ºF.

 

Carefully place 5 Mac and cheese balls in the hot oil (one at a time). Fry for about 3 minutes, until golden brown in color. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to the wire rack over the sheet pan inside grill. Let the internal temperature come up to 165ºF inside the grill. Repeat the frying process with the remaining mac and cheese balls.

 

Serve the Fried Bacon Mac & Cheese with the BBQ Ranch Sauce for dipping.

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