The Easiest & Cheesiest Valentine’s Day Lobster Mac and Cheese!
Love is in the air, and as Valentine’s Day approaches, it's the perfect time to plan a special meal for you and your loved one. This year, why not elevate your dinner plans with a decadent twist on a classic comfort food favorite: lobster mac and cheese? And what better way to infuse that smoky, grilled flavor than by preparing it on a Big Green Egg? In this blog post, we’ll guide you through creating a memorable Valentine’s Day dinner featuring lobster mac and cheese cooked to perfection on your Big Green Egg. The big question remains though….is it a meal or is it a side dish? You decide.
Why Lobster Mac and Cheese?
Lobster mac and cheese combines the rich, creamy goodness of traditional mac and cheese with the luxurious flavor of lobster. It's a dish that screams elegance and indulgence, it keeps things simple but says I Love You, making it the ideal choice for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Plus, the combination of tender lobster meat, gooey cheese, and perfectly cooked pasta is sure to impress your significant other and leave them craving more.
The Big Green Egg Advantage:
Cooking on a Big Green Egg adds an extra layer of flavor and versatility to any dish, and lobster mac and cheese is no exception. The Egg’s unique design allows for precise temperature control, ensuring that your mac and cheese cooks evenly and retains its smoky flavor. Whether you prefer to grill your lobster for added depth of flavor or simply use the Egg to bake your mac and cheese to perfection, the possibilities are endless with this versatile cooking tool. As you can see from the video, I choose to cook the lobster indirect as opposed to grilling. I just find that grilling can make the meat a bit tougher and can easily dry it out.
When it comes to the right cheese to use for macaroni and cheese, the possibilities are endless. The good news is that there is no right and wrong. It is really up to what you like and even more importantly for this holiday, what your loved one enjoys! This combo that I used is what I have developed over the years. It has a bit of sharpness from the Extra Sharp Cheddar, the Parmesan as well as from the Swiss Cheese. If you don’t care for as much “bite,” switch out one or more of the above for a milder flavored cheese. If you enjoy even more “bite,” try something like asiago in place of one of the others. Experiment a bit to find out just what you like.
When it comes to traditional Mac-n-Cheese, the normal pasta that seems to be used more times than not is elbow macaroni. I can totally understand why. The elbows have lots of surface area on the shell of the pasta for the cheese mixture to cling to and it is also hollow so that the cheesiness can get inside as well. To me, it is just boring. I’ve been eating elbow macaroni and cheese since I was a kid and my Mom made it by the boxful. We are adults! (well, most of us) We want, np, DEMAND something more exciting than elbows. I love to use corkscrew style pasta. Maybe even multicolored if I am feeling really crazy that day. It has plenty of surface are due to the swirls so that the sauce will really stick to it well. I have also used ziti noodles, bowties and many other non-traditional mac and cheese pastas. Don’t let tradition sway you from mixing it up a bit. Go crazy, try something different.
Oh the decisions we need to make as adults. Gas car or electric? Live in the city or the suburbs? Charcoal grill or…well, there is nothing better than a charcoal grill so that’s a bad example, but you get the idea.
When it comes to lobster, we generally have 2 choices, and it very well may come down to where you live and what is available to you locally. I live in South Florida so spiny lobsters are local to the area and are abundantly available. Luckily, traditional northern lobster is pretty available as well. Which is better? Well, we did a video about that and you can watch it here to help you decide. For todays recipe, we went with warm water, Florida spiny lobster tails. If you use northern cold-water lobster, make sure to include that tasty claw meat. Either way, you cannot go wrong with whichever lobster you choose.
Side dish or entrée?
Lobster mac and cheese can be served as either a side dish or an entrée, depending on the portion size and the overall menu.
As a side dish:
- Lobster mac and cheese can accompany a main course, such as grilled steak, roasted chicken, or seared salmon. In this context, it adds a touch of indulgence and richness to the meal without overshadowing the main protein.
As an entrée:
- When served in larger portions, lobster mac and cheese can stand alone as the main course. This is particularly common in upscale restaurants or for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, where the dish becomes the centerpiece of the meal. In this case, you might consider adding a side salad or vegetable to round out the meal.
Ultimately, whether lobster mac and cheese is served as a side dish, or an entrée depends on personal preference, the occasion, and the overall menu plan.
This Valentine’s Day, treat your loved one to a romantic dinner they won’t soon forget with lobster mac and cheese cooked to perfection over FOGO Charcoal on your Big Green Egg or other grill of choice. With its irresistible combination of flavors and the added touch of smoky goodness from the Egg, this dish is sure to make hearts melt. So fire up your Egg, grab your ingredients, and get ready to impress with this indulgent Valentine’s Day meal.
Have a very Happy Valentines Day. Remember to always tell your loved ones that you love them. Even as importantly or maybe even more so, show them that you love them. Valentines Day is a great day to celebrate that love. Whatever you decide to dine on, we hope you’ll consider this delicious recipe. You won’t be disappointed. When you recreate our recipes, we would love to see them. Be sure to tag us in your social media posts. FOGO Charcoal and CptnRon302. Just be sure to get out and grill and we look forward to seeing you the next time on The FOGO Life. Captain Ron, out….
- Prepare your grill for indirect cooking at 350°. You’ll want to fill your grill with FOGO Premium Charcoal. Place 2 FOGO Fire Starters into a Blazaball, place it on the coals and light it with your Grill Torch.
- Prep your lobster tails by using kitchen shears to cut straight down the back of the shell until you reach the “fan” part of the tail. Snip a cross cut 90° to the cut you just made down the shell on either side of the tail. This will help the meat sit on the shell better. Pull the meat out of the shell, leaving it connected at the base. Lay the meat on top of the shell and set aside while prepping the other tails.
- Once all 3 tails are prepped and the grill is burning at a steady 350°, place the tails on the grate, close the lid and cook to 135° internal temperature. You would normally want to cook them to 145°, but in this use, they will cook further when baking the mac and cheese.
- While the tails are cooking, place the Dutch Oven on a stovetop and fill with enough water to fully cover the pasta. Add plenty of salt. The water should taste like sea water. This will help develop a better flavor on the pasta. Bring the water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. ***Cook for one minute less than recommended. Remove and drain the pasta in a colander. DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA
- You can also grate your cheese at this time. Simply run the 8 oz. block of cheese through a cheese grater using the larger grate holes. Keep the cheeses separated.
- When the pasta is done and the tails have finished cooking, remove the lobster meat from the tails and chop them onto bite size pieces using your santoku knife.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, heavy cream, 1 lightly packed cup of the Swiss, Cheddar and Jack cheeses, ½ Cup of shredded parmesan and the chopped lobster meat. Mix to combine. Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining Swiss, Cheddar and Jack cheeses. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the remining parmesan. Combine the ingredients for the Panko topping and sprinkle over the Mac and Cheese. This can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead, covered and kept in the refrigerator.
- Place the pan on the grill and cook for 30 minutes. When the mixture is bubbling around the edges and the top has begun browning nicely, it is done cooking. Remove to a hot plate or trivet and allow it to rest and set up for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you can rest it a bit longer, that is even better.
Be Sure to watch the video, THERE IS A GIVEAWAY!
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