This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 3 pages for free.

[ Lost Username or Password | Pitmaster Club Information, | Join 30 Days Free | Contact Us ]

There are 2 page views remaining.

Meat-Up in Memphis

T-Shirts & More T-Shirts & More
Order men's and women's T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Aprons, Mugs, Caps, Tote Bags, Flasks, and more, all imprinted with the Pitmaster Club logo. There's even a spiral bound journal where you can make notes on your cooks.

Cool Embroidered Shirt Cool Embroidered Shirt
This beautifully embroidered shirt is the same one Meathead wears in public and on TV. It's wash and wear and doesn't need ironing (really!), but it is a soft cottonlike feel. Choice of four colors and both men's and women's.

Click here for more info.

Support ARC

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon.


BBQ Stars


Some Of Our Favorite
Tools And Toys

These are not ads. These are products we love and highly recommend. Click here to read more about our medals and what they mean.



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet's Dual Tube Burners

the good one grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King's proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

Griddle And Deep Fryer All In One

The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all. Plus it has a built in cutting board, garbage bag holder, and paper towel holder. An additional work table on the left side provides plenty of counter space.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only 9 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

The Swiss Army Knife Of Thermometers


The smart folks at ThermoWorks have finally done it: The Swiss Army Knife of thermometers, two in one. Start with the industry standard food thermometer, the Thermapen MK4, (Platinum Medal winner) truly instant (2 to 3 seconds) precise (+ or – 0.7°F). Then they built in an infrared thermometer ideal for measuring the temps of pizza stones, griddles, and frying pans (also great for finding leaks around doors and windows in your house).

Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Platinum Medal.

Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil's Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you're off to the party! Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

NK-22-Ck Grill

Their NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

Click here to read our detailed review

Professional Steakhouse Knife Set

masterbuilt gas smoker

Our founder, Meathead, wanted the same steak knives used by steakhouses such as Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Morton's, Kobe Club, Palm, and many others. So he located the manufacturer and had them stamp our name on some. They boast pointed, temper-ground, serrated, high-carbon stainless-steel, half-tang blades with excellent cutting edge ability. The beefy hardwood handle provides a comfortable grip secured by three hefty rivets. He has machine washed his more than 100 times. They have never rusted and they stay shiny without polishing. Please note that we do not make, sell, or distribute these knives, they just engrave them with our name.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only

Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

fireboard bbq thermometer

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

Click here to read our detailed review

Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order



Meat-Up in Memphis 2020

Join us in Memphis for our Meat-Up! Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis2020)
See more
See less

Advice on Mac n Cheese that holds.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Top | #1

    Advice on Mac n Cheese that holds.

    So I know this guy, he is a really really really close friend. I daresay no body loves him as much as I do. Ok..
    So my friend sells bbq on weekends. from his drive way. unlicensed, uninsured, with careful attention to food safety and sanitation. So his business is getting big, so big that he will have to go legit soon. so he is getting his business in order and planning on a soft opening some time next year.

    He primarily sells whole meats, butts, briskets, pulled chicken trays, and wings. His stuff is pretty good even. more and more of his customers, he says, are asking for sides. He produces good sides. solid traditional sides that don't reinvent the wheel, although they bend it slightly. anyway. my friend has been messing with a plain old kid friendly mac n cheese for several weeks now. one of the draws in his area is kid friendly menu items. Customers ask for mac and cheese, but he tells them he doesn't have it yet. most of them understand the dilemma, its good with you make it, but it doesn't hold well.

    so he doesn't need advice on a good mac n cheese recipe, he has several, ive tried them all. He needs to know how to make it so it doesn't either break or turn to mush or cement after an hour or so in a cambro or steam table. (forgive the format)
    Last edited by Woodson; July 24th, 2019, 08:53 PM.

  • Top | #2
    Best I can advice I can offer is make it wetter than normal, stir well before servin, hold as low as safely possible...

    Frankly, I find it hard to believe somebody's doin such things in my beloved Home State of Muhzurruh...

    Next thing, reckon ya'll be tellin me they's folks makin unlicensed likker...


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      Moonshine? Yahoooo!

    • Woodson
      Woodson commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, that guys a real scoundrel!

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, that guys a real scoundrel!
      If he come from there, fair chance we're at least distant kin...

  • Top | #3
    Probably the best strategy is come up with a cheese sauce that holds well, pre cook the pasta, and then combine and heat to order. The problem is béchamel-based sauces over hydrate the pasta when you hold, so they turn grainy and kinda nasty. Custard based just tend to break when they cool, and are horrible travesties despised by all right thinking people anyway.

    The problem is the pasta is going to steal water from the sauce causing it to either get grainy or break, depending on which type of mac & cheese. Its a problem for any sauced pasta that's held for any length of time on heat.

    So, pre cook the pasta. Make a cheese sauce that will hold, use an emulsifying agent, American cheese works well. Combine and cook as close to serve as possible. Basically, make the smallest amount you can at a time while still serving customers.


    • Top | #4
      Don’t fully cook pasta so it’ll finish cooking with cheese sauce. Make a thin Bechemel sauce and do not let it thicken before adding cheese (and use lots of cheese). Add mayonnaise to the cheese sauce to make it creamier. No eggs.


      • Top | #5
        Another tip besides or in addition to using American cheese is to look into adding sodium citrate (aka sour salt) to the cheese sauce to keep it smooth and creamy. I think Serious Eats did an article on sodium citrate awhile back so you might check their website for more info. You will find that a little sour salt is helfupl, but too much isn't good, so experiment with what works best.

        I agree with Mnvarre about the idea of combining the pasta and sauce right before service. I've been to BBQ joints where the mac 'n cheese is an unappetizing brick of pasta glued together with sticky cheese. Ugh. If you've ever gone to Panera, I'm pretty sure they combine pasta + cheese sauce for each order. The pasta is fully cooked yet firm and the pasta sauce is still nicely ooey-gooey.


        • Woodson
          Woodson commented
          Editing a comment
          That’s exactly what I’m talking about. One pathetic side is enough to make a customer never return. I appreciate all the information from all contributors.

      • Top | #6
        I’ve used cream cheese in my Mac n Cheese sauce. In my opinion it keeps it creamier over time.


        • Top | #7
          Sodium citrate is key if you arent using american cheese. Its used to make american cheese itself which is why its so smooth and pretty much never splits. IME, any cheese sauce built from a roux or bechamel will split over time. You can make a close to no split cheese sauce using american cheese or melting grated cheese of choice into water containing sodium citrate. Youll need to google the quantities, been a while aince i did it.


          • IowaGirl
            IowaGirl commented
            Editing a comment
            The other amazing thing about sodium citrate is you can use any cheese to make the sauce. Even cheeses that aren't good melting cheeses. It really opens up the options for creating an amazingly tasty cheese sauce.

        • Top | #8
          As said above by IowaGirl and others.

          Forget about the typical Bechamel/Mornay sauce. The flour is a death nail and your doomed before you start.

          Try using a reduction (cream/milk/half n half/evap milk or whatever you use) with your cheese.

          Try making your complete "cheese mix" only and adding it to your reduction.

          Don't be a Mac snob (not saying you are) A little shelf stable cheese sauce goes a long way too as its liquid at room temp.

          What pasta are you using?
          Try using a pasta like Gemeli and completely shock it. Yes in ice water. You don't want all the starch like you do in a hot pasta dish. The pasta absorbing some water is not an issue.

          Toss you pasta in butter and lit it coat and and harden as it holds cold.

          Dont use pasta like rigatoni, mustacelli etc...

          As stated above dish out for service. You can hold your sauce hot and keep your pasta cold.

          I hope this helps.


          • Top | #9
            Originally posted by HouseHomey View Post
            As said above by IowaGirl and others.

            Forget about the typical Bechamel/Mornay sauce. The flour is a death nail and your doomed before you start.
            Aside from the excellent advice about how to treat the pasta...this is the key thing.


            • HouseHomey
              HouseHomey commented
              Editing a comment
              That avatar though. G.O.A.T.

          • Top | #10
            Not sure if he does or not but most importantly don’t use pre shredded cheese.

            That stuff has a coating on each cheese shred that never makes good Mac n Cheese in my opinion.


            • grantgallagher
              grantgallagher commented
              Editing a comment
              Another great point. Most pre-shredded cheese has cellulose added to prevent it from sticking together. Plenty of wacky interweb rumors that it was wood pulp but its just cellulose. Nothing bad in itself, but not conducive to making a nice silky cheese sauce.

          • Top | #11
            Click image for larger version  Name:	20190725_223822.jpg Views:	1 Size:	2.76 MB ID:	720573 That's from Modernist Cuisine at home just to give you a round about on ratios. Sodium citrate is the way to go. Click image for larger version  Name:	15641088582727620455656516176299.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.03 MB ID:	720574 It's adaptable to basically any cheese, pasta, additions... just to give you a general starting point. 👍


            • Woodson
              Woodson commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you for the good foundation. I need to get on that, free weekend Mac n cheese buffet!