Steven Raichlen cooked his amazing mac'n'cheese recipe on the Spark and it couldn't be better! The pure charcoal smokiness from the Spark is a great complement to the earthy, hot chiles. The onions and corn give a nice subtle crunch to the otherwise creamy deliciousness of this dish. For more on grilled mac'n'cheese visit: https://barbecuebible.com/2014/10/31/mac-cheese-hits-grill/
Bring 8 quarts lightly salted water in a large pot to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a large colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and drain again. Toss the macaroni with oil to prevent sticking.
Load an Everyday Briq in your Spark and set the temperature to 650°F.
Lightly brush the onion quarters and corn with melted butter (you’ll need about 2 tablespoons) and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onions and corn until nicely browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes in all, turning with tongs. Grill the chiles and peppers until the skins are charred on all sides, 6 to 10 minutes in all for New Mexican chiles, 16 to 20 minutes in all. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board and let cool.
Thinly slice the onion quarters crosswise. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs. Scrape any burned skin off the chiles and peppers and cut into 1/4-inch dice, discarding the seeds. The recipe can be prepared a day ahead to this stage.
Brown the bacon in 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and ham (if using) and sauté until lightly browned. Stir in the onion, corn, chiles, and peppers. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and stir in the half and half. Boil the mixture for 3 minutes, stirring well: it will thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard and macaroni, followed by the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste: the mixture should be highly seasoned. Spoon the mac and cheese into the greased skillet. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Here, too, the recipe can be prepared ahead.
Lower the grill temp to 500°F. If you want that smoky flavor in your mac'n'cheese, place a foil packet or two of soaked wood chips on either side of the grill.
Place the macaroni and cheese on the grill. Grill until the sauce is bubbly and the top is crusty and brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve at once.
Equipment needed: a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9- by 13-inch aluminum foil pan, sprayed or brushed with oil; 2 cups wood chips (such as hickory or oak), soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained