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Chicharron & Bacon Topped Mac 'n' Cheese

Chicharron & Bacon Topped Mac 'n' Cheese

By Mandy Tanner

This over-the-top crispy smoky topping featuring pork two ways works especially well atop this gooey, cheesy, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. However, you could also add it to your own favorite version.

Prep Time

10 Min

Cook Time

20 Min




Number of People Serving


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Units of Measurement:
Mac 'n' Cheese
1 Pound short shaped pasta, such as cavatappi, elbows, or shells
Kosher salt
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 Clove garlic, minced
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Cup whole milk
24 Ounce good melting cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, or a blend, coarsely grated (about 6 cups)
1/2 Cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 small bag chicharrones (fried pork rinds), preferably smoke flavor
1/2 Cup cooked, chopped bacon
3/4 Teaspoon Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub


  • 1

    For the mac ‘n’ cheese: Cook the pasta in well salted water according package directions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter, shallot, garlic, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is a light golden color and the shallots are golden brown. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low. While stirring constantly, slowly add the milk. The mixture will bubble up and thicken initially and then thin as more milk is added. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the coarsely grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce comes together. Add the Parmesan, stir to combine, then remove from the heat.

  • 3

    Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.

  • 4

    Butter a large cast iron pan or an oven-safe similar size baking dish, then add the prepared mac and cheese and spread into an even layer. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate the mac n’ cheese for up to a day. If baking from chilled, add another 10 or 15 minutes to the total cooking time.)

  • 5

    When ready to top and bake, heat the Traeger with the lid closed to 350°F; this will take about 15 minutes.

    350 ˚F / 177 ˚C

  • 6

    Make the topping: Place a large handful of chicarrones in a zip-top bag and seal. Using a rolling pin or other heavy object, crush them into small but still distinct pieces (you want some texture, not dust). Pour them into a 2-cup measure. Continue crushing until you have about 1½ cups. In a small bowl, toss the crushed chicharrones with the cooked bacon and the Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub. Sprinkle the topping over the mac n’ cheese.

  • 7

    Place the pan or baking dish directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and cook until the cheese sauce is bubbling, the topping is golden brown, and the internal temp is at least 165F°, 20 to 30 minutes. (Time may vary depending on grill model and weather.) Serve warm. Enjoy!

    350 ˚F / 177 ˚C


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