Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Carne Diem
Method: Stovetop and Smoker or OvenJump to Recipe
Inspired by the Cheesy Corn bake at Jack Stack BBQ this cheesy corn and ham recipe is loaded with creamy melted cheese and then finished on a smoker, making it the perfect side dish for your BBQ meats and a great addition to your next cookout. This is the ideal side dish for pairing with smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, or Texas brisket and this easy corn recipe can be ready in under an hour.
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In addition to their delicious hickory-fired barbecue, Jack Stack has also become famous in the Kansas City area for their fantastic BBQ side dishes. Fiorella's Jack Stack cheesy corn bake has become one of the most iconic menu items at the legendary Kansas City BBQ joint. Over the years, Jack Stack Barbecue has posted several different versions of their cheesy corn recipe for making at home, though none seem to be the exact recipe used at the restaurant.
Most of these home versions of the cheesy corn and ham casserole involve making a roux-based cheese sauce. Careful inspection of the Jack Stack menu or ingredient list, however, shows that the restaurant version is a gluten free recipe, and thus not made with a roux. For our version of the cheesy corn bake we swap out the roux-based cheese sauce for a gluten free cheese sauce, attempting to stay true to the original recipe.
Making the Cheesy Corn and Smoked Ham Bake at Home
To make the Jack Stack BBQ cheesy corn at home you will need just a handful of common ingredients. The entire side dish can be made in under an hour.
Ingredients for Jack Stack inspired Cheesy Corn Bake
Frozen corn-For this recipe you will need a 14-ounce bag of frozen corn. We prefer using sweet corn in this easy cheesy corn bake recipe. The corn can be used from frozen, so no need to even thaw the corn kernels. If desired you can also substitute fresh corn in the recipe, but fresh corn should be grilled, roasted, or otherwise cooked before using it in the cheesy corn bake casserole.
Smoked Ham- The other key ingredient in the ham and cheese corn bake is smoked ham. We typically use leftover smoked ham from one of our smoked ham recipes, but also have good results using a smoked ham steak.
Cream cheese- You will need about 8 ounces of cream cheese for the recipe. This is by no means a healthy recipe, so stick with the full fat cream cheese.
Cheese Sauce- We have achieved the closest results to the original Jack Stack cheesy corn bake recipe by using a premade cheese sauce. Velvetta cheese sauce has given us the best results as far as taste and cheesy texture. We have also attempted to use a cheddar cheese spread in the corn bake recipe with decent results. This does tend to result in a stronger flavored cheesy corn, and we typically increase the milk used in the recipe when we use this.
Spices and Seasonings-The cheesy corn and ham bake is seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder or garlic salt, and paprika. We prefer to use smoked paprika but sweet paprika works well too. You can also adjust with a little salt and black pepper to taste.
Milk-A little milk helps smooth out and slightly thin the cheese sauce by mixing in with the creamy cheeses. Whole milk works best, but you can use what you have on hand. If you are using Velvetta cheese sauce or another cheese sauce you will only need about ¼ cup of milk in the recipe. If you use a cheddar cheese spread, you may need to use up to ½ cup of milk in the cheesy corn recipe in order to achieve the proper texture.
Cheddar Cheese-Finally, the smoked cheesy corn is topped with shredded cheddar cheese, for that perfectly golden-brown cheese topping.
Combine and heat the cheesy corn
To make the cheese and corn bake first heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons of butter and, when melted, stir in the frozen sweetcorn, milk, and the cream cheese. Stir frequently, until the cream cheese is melted then add in the cheese sauce and seasonings.
Stir to combine well, then add the cubed smoked ham to the pot of creamed corn.
Making Smoked BBQ Cheesy Corn Bake
The creamy cheese and corn casserole can be finished in either an oven or on a smoker. We prefer the smoky flavor that comes from making the cheesy corn bake on a smoker. Cooking the BBQ cheesy corn on a pellet smoker will typically result in a milder smoke flavor, while finishing the corn and ham cheese bake on an offset or wood fired smoker will result in a more profound smoke flavor.
Pour the corn with creamy cheese sauce into a baking dish, or into individual small baking dishes. Top with the shredded cheddar cheese.
Preheat your oven or smoker to 300 degrees. Cook the cheesy corn with smoked ham until the cheddar cheese is melted and lightly browned. This typically takes about 45 minutes.
If you are smoking the barbecue cheesy corn bake, you can also cook it at a lower temperature for a longer time in order to add even more smoky flavor to the dish. Smoked cheesy corn should be cooked over indirect heat.
Serving the smoked corn and ham casserole
The smoked cheesy corn pairs perfectly with your favorite smoked meats. In addition to pairing with classics like brisket, pulled pork, and ribs, the cheddar cheese corn would also be a perfect side for Smoked Pork Burnt Ends, Renaissance Festival Style Smoked Turkey Legs, or Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin.
Leftover Jack Stack BBQ cheesy corn should be stored in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. Leftovers should be eaten within 3 days and are best reheated in a 350-degree oven until hot.
For more great barbecue side dishes be sure to check out our ever-growing list:
- Lexington Style Red Coleslaw
- Smoked Au Gratin Potatoes
- Spanish Inspired Pasta Salad
- Smoked Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
- Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese Salad
- Smoked Arugula Salad With Bourbon Vinaigrette
- Grilled Endive Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Green Chile Cornbread
Frequently Asked Questions
Barbecue cheesy corn bake is a popular side item at Kansas City area BBQ restaurants like Jack Stack BBQ.
Yes, as written this barbecue cheesy corn is gluten free. Just double check that the cheese sauce you are using is gluten free.
Yes, you can make the recipe through adding the corn mixture to the casserole pan and then cover refrigerate for up to 3 days. Simply bake the corn and ham bake when you are ready for it.
The cheesy corn can be frozen for up to 6 months. Freezing the corn and ham bake can cause the cheese sauce to separate, so it is best reheated on a stovetop to recombine the cheese sauce.
Leftover cheesy corn should be stored in an airtight container and eaten or frozen within 3 days.
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Kansas City Style Cheesy Corn Bake with Smoked Ham
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 14 Ounces Frozen Corn
- ½ Cup Smoked Ham diced
- 4 Ounces Cream Cheese Cubed
- 8 Ounces Cheese Sauce
- ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- ¼ Cup Milk
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon Onion Powder
- Over medium heat, warm a medium sized pot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and, when melted, stir in the frozen sweetcorn, milk, and the cream cheese.
- Once the cream cheese is melted add in the cheese sauce and seasonings.
- Stir to combine then stir in the diced smoked ham. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Place the corn mixture into a 8X10 casserole dish and then top with the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake the cheesy corn and ham bake at 300 degrees about 45 minutes, or until the cheddar cheese is lightly browned. This recipe can be made in an oven, or on a smoker or BBQ grill over indirect heat.