Smoked Queso brings all the things you love about a great appetizer into a zesty, delicious, smoky, and cheesy dip. If the words spicy, queso, Tex-Mex, bacon, corn chips, sausage, and melted cheese send you into sensory overload, this Smoked Queso Dip is calling your name.
10ouncesdiced tomatoes and green chilieswith juice, I use Rotel, "original"
4ounceschopped green chilieswith juice, I use "mild"
1jalapenoseeds removed and finely chopped.
Prepare your grill for smoking following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat it to 250 degrees. If you are using a Big Green Egg, add a layer of charcoal, then add a handful of wood chips or a chunk or two of wood. Add another layer of charcoal and light the fire. Preheat the Egg to 250 degrees F. Add the plate-setter legs up, then the cooking grid.
While your grill is heating up, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chopped bacon. Spread it out evenly and let it brown and render some of its fat. This should take about seven minutes. The bacon will not be fully cooked at this point.
Add the sausage and partially break it up. Let it cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Use a spatula and flip it over and continue breaking it up into small pieces. Let it cook an additional five minutes undisturbed and repeat. Continue cooking until it is browned and thoroughly cooked.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour out the sausage and bacon onto a paper towel to drain as much grease as possible. Use additional paper towels to blot the top of any excess grease.
Add the sausage and bacon back to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Add the Velveeta and pepper jack cheese, the diced tomatoes and green chilies along with the juice, and the canned chilies with juice and stir to combine. Continue stirring until the cheese melts.
Place the skillet on the grill and close the smoker. Plan to smoke it for about one hour and stir it halfway through.
Remove the skillet from the grill, garnish with the chopped jalapeno, and serve it immediately while still hot with sturdy corn chips or tortilla chips.
I used chunks of oak to smoke this dip. I prefer to use chunks because they last longer than chips. Oak is in the milder category of smoking woods and is similar to apple, pear, or pecan. Hickory and mesquite are much stronger, and I think they might overpower the flavors in the dip.If there is any downfall to this delicious dip, it congeals and forms a solid mass when it cools, which means it has to be kept warm for easy dipping. Because it starts and smokes in a cast-iron skillet, one easy fix is to serve it on a hot plate or portable electric burner. Alternatively, you can put it in a chafing dish, a fondue pot, or a small crockpot.Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for four to five days. To reheat it, place it in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir it constantly while it is reheating to keep the cheese from burning.This recipe, as written, is spicy and has a kick. If you would like to reduce the heat, substitute regular breakfast sausage for hot. You can also substitute Monterey Jack cheese for the Pepper Jack cheese. In addition, be sure to use "mild or regular" diced tomatoes and green chilies instead of "original" or "hot."If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, you can always use a sturdy disposable aluminum pan to smoke your dip.While this queso is smoked for added flavor, if you prefer or are in a time crunch, you can prepare it and serve it as is without smoking it.I use a Big Green Egg for smoking, but any smoker or a grill with a lid works too.