First, I fried up some bacon. Once cooked, I drained on paper towel and crumbled.
After eating a strip for quality control purposes, I ended up using crumbled bacon from three strips.
Then, I cut the top off of two, garden fresh bell peppers and removed the seeds and pulp.
My smoker was already at 350 F, so I diced 1/4 of a sweet onion and sliced one jalepeno pepper. I added a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then placed in the smoker to caramelize. After about 15 minutes, this is what they looked like:
With the pre-work done, time to move to the mac and cheese. First, I boiled two cups of dry macaroni for about eight minutes. I cook short of the recommended time as the macaroni will finish cooking when you bake the mac and cheese mixture. When done, drain in a colander and set aside.
Next up, the roux. First, I melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Once melted, I add two heaping soup spoons of AP flour. Then, I cook on medium heat until the flour is crumbly and brown. The more you brown your flour, your roux will have a deeper color and flavor. Here is what I try and strive for at this step:
At this step, I slowly whisk in three cups of milk. I use 2%. You could use any kind you wanted. I have been known to use half and half when I am feeling evil. The choice is up to you. Do not add all of the milk at once or you will end up with a big flour ball. Once all of the milk has been added, I simmer on low heat while stirring constantly until the roux starts to thicken. I shoot for the consistency of cream gravy. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Once the roux is done, I stir in six ounces of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. When the cheese is melted, stir in your macaroni and mix to incorporate. At this point, I pour into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Today, since I had peppers, the method was a bit different.
To the whole mix, I added my crumbled bacon. At this point, I removed one cup of the mixture for me and added the caramelized onions and peppers. I added my mix into one pepper and a cup of the other mixture into another pepper. The balance of the mac and cheese mixture when into a foil pan to cook. Do not fill the peppers to the top. I left about 1/4 of space at the top to allow for expansion. Both of the peppers and the foil pan were topped with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Then, everything went into a 350 F smoker, along with some kielbasa and hickory wood in the ash pan for smoke.
Bake until your mac and cheese is brown and bubbly on top. This takes about 30 minutes. Here was our final product.