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Backyard Blogging.

Baked Mac & Cheese with Jerky Dust

Take one taste of this twist on a classic, and you won’t look back. This Baked Mac & Cheese with Jerky Dust is crunchy with a flavorful jerky topping.


4 Tablespoon butter
1 Medium yellow onion, diced small
2 Clove garlic, minced
5 Tablespoon flour
1 1/2 Cup whole milk
2 1/2 Cup heavy cream
3 Sprig fresh thyme
1 Sprig rosemary
2 Whole Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon Whole black peppercorns
1 Pound shredded Gruyere cheese
1 Pound elbow noodles
1 Cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
4 Ounce beef jerky, shredded in the blender


When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 350 °F and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.

Heat butter in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for five minutes, or until translucent and tender. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Add flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Cook roux for one minute until it smells slightly nutty. While whisking, stream in milk and cream. Continue to whisk until flour clumps are worked out.

Wrap herbs and black peppercorn in cheese cloth and tie up with twine. Drop into cream mixture and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until liquid thickens. Remove cheese cloth with herbs and discard.

Remove from heat, whisk in Gruyère until melted through, and season with salt. Set aside until noodles are ready.

Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse pasta.

Add to cheese sauce and stir to coat.

Pour mixture into a large cast iron pan. In a small bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Stir well. Sprinkle mixture over mac and cheese then top with shredded jerky “dust.”

Place the cast iron pan directly on the grill grate and bake 15 to 20 minutes until cheese sauce is bubbling and top is lightly browned.

Remove from the grill and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe and photo from Traeger.