Cut the bacon up (use kitchen shears to do this quickly) and add it to a soup pot/Dutch oven. Fry it over medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 min). Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate but leave the bacon fat in the pot.
Add the ground beef and onion to the pot. Cook it, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until browned (about 8 minutes). Spoon out most of the excess fat.
Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
Once it's boiling, add in the macaroni. Reduce the heat so it's not boiling like crazy (a rapid simmer is good). I cooked mine over medium heat. Let it cook uncovered until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 13-15 minutes). Stir it every couple of minutes so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheddar and cooked bacon (I reserve some for topping the bowls). Season with salt & pepper as needed, and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb more of the liquid (if needed) and for the flavors to meld more. If you want to have a layer of cheese on top, stir in about 3/4 of the cheese and then sprinkle the rest on top and cover the pot so it melts faster.
Serve with the chopped pickles if using.
Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat/what else you serve it with.
Troubleshooting tip: As with any one pot pasta, ingredients, pots, and stoves vary. If you're running out of liquid (like it's close to sticking and burning) when you still have a while to go before the macaroni is cooked, add in more broth or water, 1/2 cup at a time. The pasta will soak up the sauce quite quickly, so if it seems too liquidy, just wait a little bit longer.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.