What’s better than a pot of smoked queso, tortilla chips, and a cold beer? Not much better to choose from when referring to refreshing and mouth-watering appetizer for sure! Smoked queso is a cheese often associated with Mexican Cuisine, despite this is partially true due to the style of preparing and eating it, this cheese is widely consumed and known in the southern part of the US.
If you want to know more about this Cheese, the curiosities, and a very easy recipe keep reading and you won’t be disappointed.
Smoked Queso Origin
Originally the dish was created in Mexico, precisely in the state of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico, the very first dishes created in 1890 were Queso Flameado and Queso Chihuahua.
There are many versions of this delicacy provenience in the US and is impossible to trace back exactly just to one. The most reliable sources confirm this dish was first seen in early 1900 in San Antonio TX, where a chef and restaurant owner with the name of Otis Farnsworth created what is known as of today as Tex-Mex Cuisine.
The idea of creating a Mexican Cuisine more oriented towards the Anglo Population was never seen before, and first-time guests were requested to wear formal clothes.
This restaurant was the most successful restaurant in Texas at that time, and Smoked Queso was back then one of the staples of his revolutionary cooking style, the most popular dish on the menu.
The very first and original recipe of smoked queso was surprisingly lost, so as today we are not particularly sure of what cheese was used.
Accordingly to different sources dating back around 1920 the cheese most similar to Otis recipe was very similar to American Cheese.
Smoked Queso in Texas
In Texas there are many variations of this unique dish, let’s see more precisely some of them.
In El Paso and Western Texas smoked queso is not always served for dipping, usually made with white types of cheddar, and it is very similar to what in Mexico is called “queso fundido”.
It is always made with chiles that are chopped roughly, without adding any canned tomatoes.
The same style of queso is found in New Mexico as well.
How is Smoked Queso Served
Usually, as a warm dish heated In the oven briefly to a medium temperature. Served with tortilla chips, tortillas or pita chips that are a bigger variant of normal tortilla chips.
It is often served as a side dish for tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, and enchiladas.
Smoked Queso Dip
It is very common to find smoked queso in many different variants but for sure the serving style is always as a dip, it is often mixed with many ingredients such as minced sausages, beef, chilli, peppers, jalapenos, bacon, and of course corn.
To make a dip-style sauce the cooking is done with a pellet grill, smoker, or oven.
In this article, you will find a recipe for an oven that is easy to make at home.
Smoked Queso Recipe
- 1 cup red bell peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup
- 6 slices diced bacon
- 1 cup ground beef minced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella shredded
- 1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese finely diced or shredded
- 1 1/2 cups smoked gouda cheese finely diced or shredded
- Sliced Jalapeno Peppers
- Tortilla chips
- Cut the bacon in small squares.
- Sautee the bacon and beef mince on medium-low heat for about 8/12 minutes, stirring few times. When the bacon is cooked and crispy, remove it from the pan and drain it over a paper towel.
- Keep aside 1 tablespoon of bacon and beef fat.
- Wash and wipe the pan you cooked the bacon in, then add the meat fat saved from before and heat the pan to medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, smoked paprika and chili powder, and stir to combine all together. Sautee for 4-8 minutes, until cooked but not dark brown. Remove the pan and set it aside to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In an oven-proof dish (around 9x9inch baking tray will do), add half amount of the cheese, half amount peppers, and half beef/bacon.
- Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil, then bake it for 8-10 minutes, just until the cheese is melted. Make sure you don’t overcook it.
What I suggest now is something that I personally love to do, a couple of tricks that for me really makes a difference.
- Take the aluminum foil off and bake it for another 2min near to the heat source in the oven(most likely the top grill), by doing this you allow the cheese to get a more similar to smoking taste.
- Take the tray out of the oven, I usually like to add a pinch of extra smoked paprika on the top without stirring, then chop finely the cilantro and slice the jalapenos, garnishing at the end of cooking.
- Warm the tortilla or tortilla chips for a couple of minutes or until desired and serve.
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