Smoked queso is a super easy and delicious Tex-Mex dip perfect to make on a smoker or charcoal grill. Loaded with cheese, sausage, tomatoes and peppers, this recipe will become your favorite this summer season!
This dip has a delicious smoky, mild-spicy taste. The texture is perfect to dip in chips, veggies or bread sticks.
Every now and then I like to make something “less traditional” than the food I grew up with. I always considered (and still do) Tex-Mex cuisine a part of the Mexican gastronomy and even though many will consider this as a blasphemy, at the end, what matters is to enjoy food and leave the drama behind.
So, as soon as I saw this recipe all around internet, I knew I should give it a try because, well…who doesn’t like a good, melty, bubbly, flavorful queso anyways? This reminds me so much of queso fundido and it also features a couple of Italian things that I love: sausages and provolone cheese.
So, the first time I tried this smoked queso was the last winter, when we just moved to our new house in the mountains and we had the fire place working all day long, every single day (it stopped snowing in May, go figure!).
Cooking on the fire place is something very common here where we live, people makes everything in there, from grilled meats to stews and even bread and pizza. So, when I saw the recipe I knew I couldn’t wait until summer to make it on the smoker grill.
During the grilling season we try to stay away from the stove as much as possible. This queso dip even if started to be so popular after the tik-tok trend, truth is that has been around even before, when everyone used to make it on the crockpot.
So, no matter where you want to make it. The only thing is that you want to have the smoky taste and that can be done either by cooking it on the smoker, grill or fire place. Or you can add a few ingredients to achieve that particular flavor. Keep reading because I will tell you below how.
Ingredients you need
Smoked queso is not a traditional recipe, so no worry if you don’t have all those ingredients in your pantry as you can customize your own recipe with whatever you have on hand. Here’s what we used:
QUESO – Velveeta is the first option, but I do not live in USA so I just used a few packages of cheddar. Other types of cheese are also fine, for example cream cheese, mozzarella, queso blanco (Oaxaca, asadero, etc.). I also used a bit of provolone affumicato because it adds a nice smoky flavor.
SAUSAGE – Italian sausages are always my first option, but actually you can use any ground meat sausage you can. Or even ground beef. For the protein lovers, add also a few hotdog sausages on the mix, or chopped ham. Or even better: Mexican chorizo!
TOMATOES – The texan recipe calls for a the popular brand of canned tomatoes Ro-Tel. Since I cannot find them here, I just used a can of Italian diced tomatoes.
PEPPERS – Our smoked queso recipe calls for bell peppers (red or any color you’d like), fresh jalapeños and pickled jalapeños. The last are my favorites as they not only adds spicy but also a very Mexican touch. Again, use whatever you have available.
EXTRAS – Flavor up this queso dip what whatever you feel like. From sautéing onions and garlic with the sausage, to any spice you like. We used a pinch of cumin, fresh cracked pepper and chipotle powder, this last added a superb smoky flavor, you can also use one or two teaspoons of smoky paprika instead.
How To Make Smoked Queso
Heat the oil in a sauté pan or a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and break them in small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook stirring constantly until sausages starts to brown.
Add onions, bell peppers, fresh jalapeño and garlic. Stir everything for about 5 minutes or until onions and peppers starts to soften.
Add the mixture to an aluminium foil pan (I used a 9-inch/23cm rounded pan). If you making this smoked queso on the fire place, you might want to use a cast iron skillet instead.
Now, add canned tomatoes, cheeses and pickled jalapeños to the pan. Sprinkle with cumin, fresh cracked pepper and chipotle (or paprika) powder.
Place the pan on your preheated smoker at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes.
Stir the ingredients to combine and keep cooking for another 20-30 minutes stirring once or two more times in between.
You will see the smoked queso is ready when everything is combined and the queso is melted and bubbling on the edges of the pan.
How to serve
This smoked queso is perfect to serve as an appetizer with anything like totopos (corn chips), salty crackers, crusty bread or even crunchy vegetables. But the Mexican on me cannot avoid and spread it on a warm, homemade tortilla!
Smoked Queso Recipe
- Aluminium foil pan – 9"/23cm
- 6 oz Italian sausages (about 2 links)
- 10 oz cheddar or velveeta cheese slices (2 packages )
- 4 oz provolone cheese (cubed)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup red bell peppers (chopped)
- 3 jalapeño peppers (veins and seeds removed, chopped)
- ½ cup onions (chopped)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup pickled jalapeños (chopped)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 tsp chipotle powder (or smoky paprika)
- ½ tsp cumin
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan or a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and break them in small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook stirring constantly until sausages starts to brown.
- Add onions, bell peppers, fresh jalapeño and garlic. Stir everything for about 5 minutes or until onions and peppers starts to soften.
- Add the sausage mixture to the pan.
- Add canned tomatoes, cheeses and pickled jalapeños. Sprinkle with cumin, fresh cracked pepper and chipotle powder.
- Place the pan on your preheated smoker at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes.
- Stir the ingredients to combine and keep cooking for another 20-30 minutes stirring once or two more times in between.
- You will see the smoked queso is ready when everything is combined and the queso is melted and bubbling on the edges of the pan.