Mac and cheese with lobster and bacon, skillet corn bread and chocolate tiramisu. These were some of the items we shared with another amazing family over the weekend for dinner. I smoked my first brisket which is a pretty tricky hunk o’ meat to get just right but without tooting my own horn, I think I nailed it.
The meat went on the smoker at 6am and eventually came off at 1pm and then rested until 5pm. I used mesquite wood chunks and a Texan rub, and right up until it’s sliced you really don’t know for sure just how tender it’s going to be. When I unwrapped it from the foil it was still warm and as I drew the knife against the grain it was like slicing a piece of angel food cake. Bingo, I knew my guests would have food and I wouldn’t be calling for pizza. I made a couple of barbecue sauces, a spicy vinegar based sauce which would be familiar to North or South Carolina and a thin au jus type more akin to Texas. The meat was tender and smoky with a deep smoke ring, which you can see in the picture.
The mac and cheese casserole really made me happy because I like this dish but have never really found a good cheesy tasting version. I’ve had too many blah mac’s but when I saw this recipe from Amazingribs.com I wiped the drool from my chin and threw my son in the car, (well, placed him) and hot footed it to the store for some ingredients. I chose to use smoked Gouda to be mixed with the bechamel and then added the bacon and lobster chunks. I topped the dish with smoked cheddar and panko and baked it until it was golden.
Mac and cheese with lobster and bacon,
Boil 8oz pasta, I used small penne
8 ounces cheese, smoked Gouda
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk or 2% milk, but not 1% or skim
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Topping4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup panko mixed with 3tbsp melted butter
The Cheese Sauce. In a 2 quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the flour, and, with a whisk, mix them together, and cook for 5 minutes, or until it turns the color of straw. This is called a blonde roux. Be patient if it takes longer. Add the milk slowly and whisk thoroughly while adding the milk, so there are no lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn, until it bubbles and thickens a bit, like latex paint. This is called a béchamel sauce. Add the cheese mix and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and there are no lumps. Mix in the salt, black pepper, paprika.Turn off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce along with 2 cups cooked lobster meat and 4 slices of cooked chopped bacon. Put this into a 13×9 inch baking dish and top with the cheddar and panko. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and crunchy.
This served 6 people as a side dish.