Chips and Dip
Who doesn’t love a good queso dip? If you’re anything like us, you’re the one standing near the queso dip at the game day party just to be sure you have easy access to seconds—or dare we say, thirds? Here’s a recipe that’s a total crowd-pleaser. Plus, you can prep everything ahead of time, put everything in one pan, place it on the grill, and about 1.5 hours later, ta-da! You have a delicious smoked queso ready to serve. And, it stays warm with the help of a handy dandy fondue pot. You’re winning before the game even gets started.
Another bonus? There are many ways to make this recipe your own! Choose peppers based on your tastebuds and preferred level of heat. Jalapeño, habanero, poblano, and Anaheim peppers are all good options. The main point is to have fun with the flavors. Try a shredded Jamaican jerk chicken queso, brisket queso, pulled pork queso, a spicy Mexican queso with chorizo, or even a shrimp queso! The queso is your oyster, so to speak.
1 (6-quart) enameled Dutch oven
1 (6-cup) fondue pot
2 aluminum foil baking pans (standard size/9" x 13")
24 ounces Velveeta cheese (1 block)
1 (8-ounce) block pepper jack cheese, grated
1 block cream cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, finely diced
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 (6-ounce) can green chiles, drained
1 (6-ounce) mushroom soup
1 can diced green chiles (plus the can liquid for even more fiery flavor)
Green onion for garnish
Corn chips (blue and yellow corn)
2–3 hickory chunks (for the grill)
Slice the Velveeta and cream cheeses into 1-inch cubes. Place cubed cheese in a doubled-up aluminum baking pan (we recommend using two for sturdiness). Add in the pepper jack cheese, jalapeño peppers, onions, garlic, green chiles, and tomatoes.
Using a Dutch oven, brown the sausage and ground beef. Drain and remove the excess fat and liquids, and add the meat to the pan. (If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can easily do this in a pan, preferably a cast iron skillet, on the grill or a stovetop.)
Add the foil baking pan filled with queso ingredients onto a 250-degree grill with indirect heat. Smoke with hickory chunks for 45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
Leaving the aluminum pan in place, add in the mushroom soup and stir well. Let cook for another 45 minutes, continuing to stir every 20 minutes. The queso should achieve a smooth, melted texture. Once it does, remove from grill.
Pour the queso into the fondue pot and set it to warm. You can pretty much “set it and forget it,” but you might want to stir occasionally so the sides don’t get crusty. Add some chopped green onions on top for garnish, if desired, and enjoy!
1. When using hickory for smoke flavor, make sure you let it burn for a while until the white smoke dissipates. The flavorful smoke will have a light gray, almost blue hue to it. Although the billowing smoke looks cool flowing out of the smoker, it has a very acrid flavor and can cause indigestion. No one wants that! A perfect flavorful smoke is almost transparent and smells delicious. If you can’t stand next to the smoker and breathe in some of the smoke without coughing and burning your eyes, it’s not ready!
2. Grate the cheese yourself. Pre-grated cheeses have anti-caking agents in them that prevent them from melting the way you want for a smooth queso.
3. It much easier to slice cheese if you let it chill and harden in the freezer for an hour beforehand.