Rich and creamy smoked mac and cheese with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni noodles until they are al dente, meaning they still have a bit of chew and texture (not too soft).
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using a mild hardwood. My favorite is cherry or apple.
Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and whisk in the flour until a smooth, thin paste forms. Then whisk in the mustard powder.
Carefully pour in the half and half and bring up to a boil while whisking. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until smooth.
Whisk in the cheddar cheese and gouda cheese and stir until melted. Turn off the heat and pour in the cooked macaroni noodles. Stir gently until the noodles are coated by the cheese sauce.
Combine the melted butter, sweet rub, and panko bread crumbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese.
Place the skillet in the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 1 hour. You can smoke for up to 2 hours if you want a stronger smoker flavor, but the noodles will take on quite a bit of smoke fairly quickly.
Serve your mac and cheese while it is still warm and the cheese is nice and melty!