Mac n' Cheese With Beer
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
- 1 lb of uncooked pasta (1 box)
- 1 lb cheese shredded (4 cups, sharp cheddar is a good default)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 1 cup of beer (IPA is best)
- 1 lb popcorn chicken
- 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce (use more if needed)
Cook the Pasta
- Boil pasta, aldente is best, pasta will cook further in the oven.
Prepare the meat
- If using frozen popcorn chicken, thaw in microwave or oven, then toss in buffalo sauce.
- If starting chicken from scratch, bread chicken cubes (coat in flour, beaten eggs, breadcrumbs) and then fry in vegetable oil. Cook the chicken 80 to 90% through, the chicken will cook completely in the oven. Mix the cooked chicken in with the buffalo sauce.
Make the Sauce
- Melt the butter in a pot on low heat (to prevent burning)
- Add spices while the butter is melting
- after the butter has fully melted add the flour slowly into the butter so it doesn't clump up. The butter-flour mixture should be smooth.
- Slowly pour the milk in and stir constantly.
- Slowly add the beer in and stir constantly.
- In the above steps make sure you are stirring constantly. You don't want the sauce to burn and you don't want it to boil and froth.
- Lastly, once the mixture has reached an adequate temperature (some visible steam) add cheese handful by handful. STIRRING CONSTANTLY.
Put it all together
- Mix the cooked pasta, cooked chicken (or any other meat), and the sauce above together and pour into a 9x13 pan. You can never have too much cheese sauce.
- Top with crushed ritz crackers.
- Top with more cheese and more buffalo sauce if desired.
- Bake at 325F for 20 minutes or more until sauce has thickened and the mac and cheese.
- Serve with some buffalo sauce drizzled on top (to taste!).
This mac and cheese is great for making variations and derivations of it. Just swap out the chicken for other meats like steak, shrimp, bacon, brisket; and swap out the buffalo sauce for other sauces like BBQ. Go crazy!