Anything that combines the words jalapeno popper + mac and cheese has to be good, right? I found this recipe on a great BBQ site at We threw this on the smoker and paired it with our Smoked Sloppy Joe’s for an easy and delicious meal. I knew this one was going to be great when it started with a cast iron skillet…


1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 link uncooked bratwurst, casing removed
2 fresh jalapenos, seeds removed and finely diced
1, 8 ounce package cream cheese
8 ounces of uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (note: I substituted the 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream for 2 cups half & half)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of your favorite sweet BBQ rub


Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees and use a mild wood like pecan or maple.

On your stove top, preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Brown the bacon and sausage, stirring and breaking it up as it cooks. Stir in the diced jalapenos and cook 2-3 minutes or until they start to soften.

Stir in the cream cheese and mix until melted and well combined. Add in the uncooked macaroni, water, milk and cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until the noodles have absorbed a majority of the liquid (about 8-10 minutes).

Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the garlic powder, salt, pepper and shredded cheese, mixing until the cheese is melted.

Sprinkle the top with the sweet BBQ rub, the crushed crackers and the thin jalapeno slices.

Place the skillet in the smoker, uncovered, and smoke for 30 minutes. At this point you can bump the temperature up to 400 and cook for an additional 8-10 to brown the topping, or you can transfer the pan to your kitchen oven for that task.

This is a dish that I will definitely use as a base for experimentation. I’d like to try using a variety of different meats, cheeses and spice combinations to vary the dish. It’s sure to become a favorite side dish!


2 Comments on “Smoky Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese”

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