Mac and Cheese, Meet Potato Chips and Hot Dogs (Just Trust Us)

Sarah McColl
Editor in Chief
December 11, 2013

Trailer Mac | Photo: Sara Remington

"The ironic country cousin of our classic mac and cheese, trailer mac is made with creamy Cheddar sauce and chopped hot dog, then topped with crushed potato chips. Trailer Mac is the first mac and cheese we ever served, and it has a permanent place both on our menu and in our hearts. After asking dozens of people what their favorite ways to eat mac and cheese were, we invented Trailer Mac by combining the two most popular responses: with hot dogs and potato chips. At first we thought that these suggestions sounded kind of gross. But when we tried it, we understood how these two elements combine to create the perfect dish. The hot dog flavor permeates the cheese and fills the dish with a rich, meaty flavor, while the chips add great texture to every bite. Try it and you’ll understand why it has its own cult following.” ––Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, The Mac + Cheese Cookbook

Trailer Mac
Serves 4

1/2 pound dried elbow pasta 
2 cups Mac Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 cup chopped hot dogs 
2 cups crushed potato chips, for topping 

Beer Pairing: Pilsner (or PBR, for irony)

Wine Pairing: Sangiovese

Lesson Plan
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse the pasta with cold water, and drain it again. 

Add the sauce, the Cheddar, and the hot dogs to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes.

Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with potato chips, and serve immediately.

Mac Sauce

(Béchamel 101) 
Makes 3 cups

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons kosher salt or

1 teaspoon table salt 

Lesson Plan
Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This is normal. 

Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test to make sure it’s ready (see picture, opposite). To do this, dip a metal spoon into the sauce—if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn’t slide off like milk, you’ll know it’s ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon and have the impression remain. Add the salt.

The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need to cool. Store it in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead of time—it will get a lot thicker when put in the fridge, so it may need a little milk to thin it out a bit when it comes time to melt in the cheese. Try melting the cheese into the sauce first, and if it is too thick then add milk as needed.

Reprinted with permission from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant, by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.