If you are using something like cheddar, Colby Jack, etc. then you will need to grate the cheese for faster and more uniform melting. If you are using a softer cheese then you can simply slice it up into small cubes.
Note: I don't like to use pre-shredded cheese in this as they add cellulose to keep it from sticking together. This will keep the end product from being as creamy and smooth as it can be.
Place the cheese into a half-size foil pan.
Brown the meat in a large skillet then drain the grease through a strainer.
Set the meat aside to cool.
Cut the stem from the jalapeños, cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise then clean and deseed them. Once they are cleaned, simply slice them and they are ready to cook.
You can also use Serrano or other types of peppers if you want a different heat level.
Dice the onion and mince the peeled garlic cloves.
Once the meat is removed from the skillet, add the onions, garlic and peppers to the skillet. There may be enough grease from the cooked chorizo already in the pan, if not, add a little from the grease that was just strained from the meat.
Stir fry the vegetables until they are wimpy and browned.
Set the vegetable aside to cool.
Add the meat and the stir fried vegetables to the pan. Then add the (2) cans of Rotel and about 3 TBS of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the pan.
You can stir everything together now or wait until it starts melting and do it then. Your choice.
If you are using a pellet smoker, set up your smoker for cooking at about 180-200°F or just use the “Smoke” setting. For the first 2 hours you'll leave it at this low temperature to slowly melt and get a lot of good smoke flavor.
If you are using any other type of smoker, set it to anywhere between 200-225°F and the time it takes to melt and get smooth will be much less.
Once the cheese starts to melt real good, begin stirring the smoked queso about every 20-30 minutes until the cheese is completely melted.
This is 1 hour in in a pellet smoker at 180°F:
After about 2 hours at 180°F, I turned the heat up to 225°F to finish melting the cheese and get it to smooth out a lot more.
Once the cheese is completely melted, stir in about 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and see how that looks. If you want it to be more creamy, add a little more. I ended up using about 2 cups but every batch will be different and that just depends on the type of cheese, the type of meat, how much grease you leave in the meat, etc.
Please note that if you maintain 225°F for the entire time, the smoked queso will get done in much less time.
There's a lot of things you can do to smoked queso to make it your own.. here's a list off the top of my head but the options are endless and only limited by your imagination:
- Use Velveeta like the traditional smoked queso.
- Use a mix of chorizo and hot breakfast sausage
- Use Serrano peppers to amp up the heat.
- Don't clean or deseed the jalapeños.
- Add crushed pepper flakes
- Use half Velveeta and half (your favorite cheese).
If you come up with something really amazing, let me know about it!