Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meat Balls

Submitted by Danny Hawke, this is the winner of our summer 2015 recipe competition. These meat balls are bound to wow everyone at your next BBQ!

Method: Hot Smoking

Suggested Woods: Cherry/Hickory

Approx. Cook Time: 2 hours + overnight setting time

Note: This recipe calls for Sodium Citrate. The reason for using Sodium Citrate is because it turns the cheese into the same consistency as a traditional American cheese. We have also included Danny’s recipe for a traditional roux for Mac & Cheese, both recipes are great for this dish.

Ingredients

Mac & Cheese (using sodium citrate)

  • 240g dry macaroni
  • 265ml milk or beer
  • 200g extra mature cheddar cheese (finely grated)
  • 85g gruyère (finely grated)
  • Sodium Citrate 11ml (available online)
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste

Traditional Mac & Cheese

  • 240g dry macaroni
  • 45g butter
  • 3 Tbsps. plain flour
  • 1 litre full fat or semi skimmed milk
  • 200g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 85g stilton (crumbled)
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Meat Balls

  • 8 Butchers Cumberland pork sausages or 450g of your favourite sausage meat
  • 9 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon
  • 4 Tbsps.  maple syrup
  • 1 cup of your favourite dry rub (Danny’s recipe included below)

Danny’s Rub

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt (I use Kosher)
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground mixed peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsps. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsps. onion powder
  • 1 Tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 Tsp. celery seeds

(Mix all the rub ingredients together in a bowl and store)

Method

Step 1

Follow the packet instructions to cook your pasta and set aside while you make your cheese sauce.

Step 2

To make the Mac & Cheese (using sodium citrate). Whisk the milk and sodium citrate until fully dissolved before bring up to simmer. Add the cheeses to the simmering mixture slowly, around a large spoonful at a time while whisking continuously until dissolved. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

To make the Traditional Mac & Cheese Sauce. Warm you milk in a medium sized sauce pan with the bay leaf and set aside. Melt butter in large sauce pan over a low heat, add the flour and stir continually until you have a paste (roux). When you have your roux ready, crank up the heat a little and start adding your warm milk, around a ladle full at a time, stirring continually until you have a nice smooth sauce. Bring to the boil briefly and then leave it on a low heat to simmer. Start adding your cheese until melted and you have a nice consistency. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper taste.

Step 3

Combine your Macaroni with your cheese, you want to keep the mix loose so plenty of cheese oozes out when you bite into the meat ball, but this is down to personal preference. Now pour your Mac & Cheese mix into a plastic container so it is around 1 inch deep. Leave mix in the fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours, but ideally overnight.

Step 4

When you are ready to stuff your balls, remove Mac & Cheese from the fridge and cut out enough of the mix to be able to form a ball, a little smaller than a golf ball (around 2 Tbsp.). Using the heat from your hands the balls should form easily, wet your hands if the mixture starts to stick.

Step 5

When you have formed your Mac & Cheese balls, break off enough of your sausage meat to be able to wrap around the Cheese ball. Think Scotch Egg without the Egg! Once you have formed your balls you can then season liberally with your rub and set aside.

Step 6

Use your hands to thin out the bacon slices by pressing down, forming nice uniform thickness. You can also cover in cling film and use a rolling pin. You don't want thick slices of bacon for this, you want the bacon to be a thin layer. Wrap the thinned rashers of bacon around the balls, then put them back in the fridge while you get your smoker ready.

Step 7

Set up your smoker to the configuration you prefer. Danny used a water pan and lump wood charcoal in his set up, and he used the minion method. Add 2 chunks of hickory or a mix of hickory and cherry to your fuel. Be sure not to add to much wood, as it will taste over smoked!

Step 8

Bring your smoker up to 275f and allow to stabilise before adding your Mac & Cheese Sausage Balls (you want a nice thin blue smoke). Smoke for around 1 and 1/2 hours or until the sausage meat reaches 165f.

Step 9

After around 1 and 1/2 hours, you can the baste the balls with maple syrup to give them a nice glaze, the bacon should already be a really nice colour and firm at this point.

Step 10

Let the balls sit on smoker for another 10 - 15 minutes to set the glaze, remove and rest for around 10 minutes before serving.

Note: These are also amazing cold, with some coleslaw and BBQ sauce.