Comforting and cheesy, with a great smokey flavor, this Smoked Queso Dip is the perfect way to start a meal or kick off a party!
Smoked Queso Dip
With it’s exact origins unknown, the earliest known recipe for queso dip dates back to 1896. Since then, queso dip and it’s many varietions has become widely considered the most popular of appetizers.
A blend of melted cheeses mixed with meats and veggies is a comforting food that can kick off any dinner or event. Typically, queso dip is cooked on your stove top. Carefully cooking slowly, not to allow the cheese to seperate and adding in your desired ingredients. While there is nothing wrong with the subtlety of this process, why not elevate it!
Smoking your queso dip infuses additional richness to the dish. The unmistakable taste of flavorful wood smoke take this dish to the next level. But we’re not just smoking the dip after the fact, we’re smoking all of the meats and veggies before we even incorporate them into the cheesy goodness.
The thing that seperates this smoked queso from others you may find, is that this recipe can be done on any smoker. Queso dip is a finicky thing too cook, but well worth it. Because we don’t use Velveeta, constant stirring while cooking the cheese is necessary to make sure that separation of the cheeses does not occur. This makes it difficult to manage on a smoker that isn’t self regulated for temperature. For our recipe, you’ll be smoking your internal components for the dish before hand, this will allow you to cook the dip on the stove-top. Once you have integrated all of the ingredients, you’ll then smoke the entire dish for additional smokey goodness.
This smoked queso dip is the perfect way to start off any outside event or even a sporting event, but you’ll need a finisher! Try out our smoked pork chops and pulled smoked chuck roast to send those guest home talking about what they just witnessed on the table!
How to make Smoked Queso Dip
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese – be sure to shred your own cheese. Store bought shredded cheeses will use a separator to keep the cheese from sticking together. This separator can give your dip an inconsistent texture and also lead to oil separation.
American Cheese – American cheese will help to provide that rich creamy consistency while providing more cheesy flavor.
Whole Milk – whole milk is best for rich and creamy consistency.
Heavy Cream – heavy cream mixes well with the other ingredients providing a stable base for the queso.
Flour – All-purpose flour is preferred to thicken the consistency of the queso, but you can use gluten free all purpose flour if needed.
Cumin – while adding a mildly sweet, nutty element to your queso, cumin also comes with several health benefits.
Canola Oil – canola oil is considered to be one of the “healthier” oils, we will be using it to cook our veggies.
Preparing the Queso
Meats and veggies:
We’ll be smoking our meat and veggies before tackling the cheese itself, so let’s dive right into it!
Prepare your smoker as needed and preheat it to the temperature of 225°. For this dish we’ll be using Maple wood to add a mild but sweet smokey flavor.
The first thing you’ll want to do is break that Chorizo out of it’s casing. Separating the Chorizo once it is out of the casing will allow it to smoke evenly, not to mention reducing the time needed.
Next we’ll take on the veggies. Remember to keep your guests in mind when adding in your choice of veggies. For our dish we’ll be adding red onion and jalapenos.
Jalapenos can very greatly in heat, so it’s important to look for the jalapenos that suit your needs. Old jalapenos, with clearly distinct veins showing on the skin of the jalapenos will bring the heat a bit more seriously then their smooth skinned counterparts. After you’ve selected the pepper for your, cut them in half length-ways and remove the seeds (or don’t, it’s up to you!).
Slice the red onion in half from top to bottom, this will allow the smoke to penetrate all the layers of the onion.
At this point you can add in any veggies you like. There is a great variety of peppers out there to try. How hot you want to take it, is the only thing holding you back. You may want to consult Scovill when exploring hot peppers, than afterwards maybe gastroenterologist. I;ll stick with my mild jalapenos….
Once you’ve prepared all of your meats and veggies, place them on smoker safe trays for smoking.
With your smoker now maintaining 225°, place your meats and veggies into the smoker for about 1 hour.
Putting it all together:
Dice up your smoked veggies and add them to a large sauce pan with some oil. Begin sauteing them to get a nice brown color and add some flour, mixing until the meats and veggies are entirely coated.
Add in your milk and heavy cream while continuing to stir. You’ll notice a theme through-out this recipe as stirring is of high importance.
When your milk and cream have been completely stirred in and combined it’s time to add the cheeses.
Stir in the cheeses a handful at a time, while continuing to stir.
Time to add the meat! Continue to stir and add in the Chorizo. Stir it in completely so that it is evenly distributed through-out the dip.
Cooking the queso dip:
With your chorizo completely incorporated pour the mixture into a cast iron skillet or some other smoker safe dish.
With your smoker still maintaining it’s temperature at 225°, place your queso dip into the smoker for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.
Now that you have this delicious appetizer ready, it’s time to bring it to the table. If you’re doing it family style, you can include some more appealing appetizers like our Smoked Jalapeno Poppers. But if you’re mouth needs a break from the heat, you can always include some Smoked Twiced Baked Potatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don’t have cast iron skillet?
No bid deal! Use a round, oval, or square glass or ceramic baking dish. An 8×8 or a 2-2.5 quart ones will work just fine. (Don’t use 9×13 because the dip will spread way too thin in it.)
Is this queso gluten free?
You can easily make this queso dip recipe gluten free by substituting gluten free all purpose flour instead of the regular all purpose flour. Double check the label of refried beans but that is usually a gluten free item.
How can I add more heat?
You can make this dip more or less spicy, just the way you like it. For spicier dip, use older jalapeños, use Pepper Jack instead of Monterrey Jack cheese, and/or add a pinch more cayenne pepper. For less spicy queso dip, use Monterrey Jack cheese instead of Pepper Jack, use younger jalapenos, and/or omit the cayenne pepper entirely.
Can I use store bought shredded cheese?
Block cheese is always best for cheesy sauces, cheese dips, and queso. Pre-shredded cheese is usually coated in cornstarch and separators, which won’t give you as smooth of a result as freshly grated cheese.
CLICK TO PIN THIS SMOKED QUESO DIP FOR LATER
Smoked Queso Dip
- 3 Jalapenos
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 3/4 lbs Chorizo
- 1.5 cup whole milk
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 lbs American Cheese diced
- 8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1.5 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
Smoking the meats and veggies
- Using your desired wood, prepare your smoker as needed and preheat it to the temperature of 225°.
- Break the Chorizo out of it's casing and separate.
- Slice the jalapenos from stem to tip and remove the seeds.
- Slice a red onion from top to bottom.
- Place prepared meats and veggies onto smoker safe trays for smoking.
- With your smoker now maintaining 225°, place your meats and veggies into the smoker for about 1 hour.
Preparing the queso dip
- Dice up your smoked veggies and add them to a large sauce pan with some oil. Begin sauteing them to get a nice brown color and add some flour, mixing until the meats and veggies are entirely coated.
- Add in your milk and heavy cream while continuing to stir. (Remember to stir often)
- Once your milk and cream have been completely stirred in and combined slowly begin adding in your shredded and diced cheese one handful at a time while continuing to stir.
- Continue to stir and add in the Chorizo. Stir it in completely so that it is evenly distributed through-out the dip.
- With your chorizo completely incorporated, pour the mixture into a cast iron skillet or some other smoker safe dish.
- With your smoker still maintaining it's temperature at 225°, place your queso dip into the smoker for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.