When we were kids on our birthdays we got to pick what we ate for dinner that night. My little brother always ordered Chinese take out from the local dive Hong Kong Garden, my sister ordered pizza from Tom's Brother's .... I always asked for my mom's homemade baked mac n' cheese with BBQ chicken and boiled beets from the garden. All three of my favorite foods. As long as I can remember I have loved the combo of BBQ and cheese. Though not mixed together.
Fast forward to this past December. We have a family get together, pot luck at my Nana's with all of my cousins, aunts and uncles. My Nana made baked mac n' cheese and my Aunt Terry made some of the best pulled pork I have ever had.... my mom and I sat in the kitchen like complete gluttons piling loads of pulled pork on top of our macaroni. SO GOOD. I thought back to all the years I loved having BBQ and cheesy macaroni on my birthday and thought WHY have I never done this before?!
Well now I did. But this is not your average BBQ chicken and macaroni. This chicken was slathered in a homemade sriracha and beer BBQ sauce. Piled high on top of the cheesiest smoky mac n' cheese I have ever made. Not only did I cover the pasta in a rich sauce I threw in some cubes of sharp cheddar cheese for good measure. I wanted to find surprise pockets of melted cheese. I then topped the entire casserole with MORE cheese and crispy bacon. It was the best thing I have ever eaten. Really. It was the best. The sweet spicy BBQ, smokey cheese and salty bacon was everything this girl could want in a meal.
BBQ Chicken and Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon
16 oz box dried pasta
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesann cheese
FOR THE CHICKEN LAYER:
2 cooked chicken breasts; shredded
1 cup BBQ sauce
FOR THE TOPPING:
6 slices crispy cooked bacon
4 oz cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
4 oz cheddar cheese shredded
Prepare dried pasta according to package directions.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour until a paste forms. Whisk in half and half and bring up to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low and whisk in Gouda, 1 cup of cheddar and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheeses. Once everything has melted and is smooth remove from heat and toss with pasta. Mix in cheddar cubes. Pour into a large casserole dish.
In a mix bowl toss chicken with BBQ sauce. Spread over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Top with remaining shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
Bake at 350 for 20 minute or until the sides are bubbly.