Introduction: Smoked Veggie Queso Dip
This is an easy vegetable queso dip with smoked peppers, onions, tomatoes and anything else you can think to add. Smoking veggies only takes an hour or two, so toss them in the smoker with your brisket or sausages to make the perfect appetizer for your BBQ feast.
And if you don't have a regular smoker, I'll show you how to do it on a small portable Weber.
Step 1: Ingredients
1 32 oz Package Velveeta Cheese
1 12 oz package Queso Asadero (Mexican-style Provolone Cheese)
1/2 cup of milk
1 Poblano Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Red Onion
Portable Weber Kettle Grill
Charcoal & Chimney
Wood Chips (soaked)
Small Crock Pot
Step 2: Start Your Charcoal.
I use a chimney to start the charcoal so there's no chemical residue or odor adding unwanted flavoring to the food. I used about 20 briquettes here, since the grill is pretty small and I won't need to smoke for long.
Toss your wood chips in a container of water for a few hours so they'll really smoke when its time to put them on the fire. I like to use a mix of big chunks and small chips. I'm using Pecan chips, because I live in Texas and my yard is full of branches, but this works with any smoking wood.
Step 3: Prepare the Veggies.
While you're waiting for the charcoal, head back inside and start cutting up your veggies. I like Poblano peppers, because they're big and they have a great flavor that's not too spicy. And you can't go wrong with a red pepper.
Cut them into big pieces--usually in half will work. For the onion and tomatoes, I like to score them across the tops with a quick checkerboard pattern to help the smoke get down inside.
Step 4: Prepare the Grill.
Once the charcoal is ready (covered in gray ash), pile them up to one side of your grill. If you want, you can toss a few unlit coals on the bottom, and they'll help keep a consistent heat as the other ones light them (only do this with normal charcoal and NOT the instant light kind).
Toss a few big chunks of the soaked woodchips on top of the coals and replace the grill. Wait for smoke.
Once you have a little smoke started, arrange the veggies on the opposite side of the grill from the coals. This is a SMALL grill, so I piled them up in here, but it doesn't matter too much with veggies, as long as the smoke can get in there--just make sure they're away from the heat. This is a lot easier with a big smoker or full-sized kettle grill.
Step 5: Start the Queso.
While the veggies smoke, you can start on the queso. Cut the Velveeta into chunks, roughly 1-inch cubes. Toss them into the Crock Pot set to Low.
Shred the Queso Asadero so it melts easier. I have two packages here, but I only used one. You can also make this with just the Velveeta cheese, but I like the flavor and consistency of the Asadero. When the Velveeta starts to melt around the edges, add the shredded Asadero.
If you're in a hurry, you can do this on High, but be careful that the cheese doesn't burn on the bottom.
Step 6: Maintain the Grill.
Check on your smoking veggies. Add some more woodchips to keep up the smoke. This is why I like a mix of sizes for my woodchips, because the small slivers can slide between the slats of the grill, making it easier to keep up the smoke.
If the veggies are starting to get black on the bottom, turn down the heat by closing the vents a little. If your coals are going out, open them up a little.
Step 7: Veggies Are Ready.
The veggies are ready whenever they're soft and you think they've gotten enough smoke. Unlike a brisket or turkey, there's no set temperature for veggies, so use your discretion. I like it when they are soft and you can see a good brown tint of smoke to the onions--usually about an hour and a half. Bring them inside to cool.
Check on the queso. Once the cheese starts to melt, add about 1/4 cup of milk. The rules for adding milk are not to add it right away and not to add as much as you think. You want just enough to give it a smooth consistency, but you don't want cheese soup! Start with a quarter cup, and then add a little more later if you need.
Step 8: Chop and Add the Veggies.
Once the veggies are cool, dice them into small pieces. The tomatoes will be super juicy, but try not to let it all run out. It's great flavoring for the queso!
When the cheese melts enough that you can stir it (about an hour), mix in the veggies. I like to add a few shakes of Garlic Powder, Black Pepper and some White Pepper for extra flavoring.
Step 9: Start Serving!
When your queso is chip-worthy, you can ladle it into a smaller dish for a better presentation--but don't be surprised when people go straight to the source.
Keep an eye on the consistency as your queso continues to cook, if it starts to get too thick, add some more milk. Beer works great too.