For a fun party snack, whip up this fool-proof Smoked Brisket Queso on the grill. It is a dump-and-go recipe that will be the hit of your next BBQ.
When you are prepping for a nail-biting Sunday game day or having the neighbors over for the summer block party, this smoked brisket queso recipe will be winning with rave reviews time and time again. Whether you make it with the beer or not, is all up to you. The most important thing is to decide if you are going to double the batch or not.
Grab that leftover brisket and let’s make this!
🍽️ Why This Works
⭐Fun | I am a huge fan of using leftovers to make a delicious treat. This recipe was a great one to empty the fridge and make some amazing dip.
⭐Easy | There is a little bit of chopping, but this is seriously just a simple dump-and-go recipe. The low temp smoke slowly melts the cheese and a light stirring incorporates the beer.
⭐You Won’t Have Leftovers | This recipe received the family seal-of-approval as my wife and son stood at the counter with chips to eat the queso before I even had a chance to put it in serving dishes.
⭐Great Way to Use Leftover Brisket | Grabbing a 10 lb brisket sounds like such a great idea until you have pounds of leftovers on your hands. This is a creative way to use some of the leftovers without it ever feeling or tasting like it’s the bottom of the batch.
🛒Cheese: Softer types of cheese melts easier and I used some classic Velveeta and a Creamy Jack. To make it melt easier, chop it into small, 1-inch cubes.
I find that using a queso fresco, white American cheese, or Pepper Jack cheese elevates this dip to a whole new level.
Queso fresco can be found at your local grocery store in the specialty cheese section or at the very top or the very bottom of the regular cheese section.
🛒Brisket: I had some leftover beef brisket in the freezer and needed to use it, I’m sure you can relate to this. It doesn’t matter if you made some smoked brisket, or cooked it in the oven. This recipe is an excellent way to use up those brisket leftovers.
We chopped ours in this version but if you have some shredded brisket, by all means, use that. If you have just under what the recipe calls for, that’s ok. Make it anyways. No one will know!
Alternatively, smoke a brisket point just so you can make this incredible appetizer that everyone is going to devour.
🛒Seasoning: This is where the fun begins! Rotel, Sazón, and a black lager beer added the flavors. Definitely use a dark beer. The combination of that and the light smoke added a wonderful complexity that brought out deep, earthy flavors.
That Sazón packet is found in the international aisle right by all of the other Hispanic options. You won’t need to visit an international grocery store for it but it will take your dip to the next level.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
✔️Smoker | No matter which brand smoker you use (Big Green Egg, Masterbuilt, Traeger, Pit Boss, or Weber) this recipe will work great. There are instructions below for uses on the different brands as they are just slightly different.
✔️Smoking Wood Chips Or Chunks | The brisket we used for this recipe was already smoked, so we opted for apple wood. Other fruit wood like peach and cherry are also good for a mild smoke flavor. Not to say you can’t choose a more potent aroma from wood like oak, hickory, or pecan. Visit our free smoking wood chart for more wood pairing options.
✔️Aluminum Pan | The only precaution with this is to make sure it is sturdy as that is a lot of weight going into the pan. If your pan is a little bit on the lighter side, just double it up or put it on a sheet pan while you smoke it. We have designated pans just for our grilling and smoking so it won’t matter if it gets a bit of char on it.
🔷Step One: Chop up the cheeses into 1-inch cubes. This just helps it melt more evenly. Add the cheese and chopped brisket to a disposable aluminum pan.
🔷Step Two: Add the Rotel, Cilantro and Sazón to the pan. Pour in the rest of the ingredients.
🔷Step Three: Set up your grill or smoker for indirect heat. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners and just heat with the ones on the end. For the Big Green Egg or Kamado style, add the ceramic plate setter. Dial in the temperature to about 275°F degrees. This will be a low-and-slow cook.
🔷Step Four: Add your favorite wood chips to the grill. I used a light applewood as I am a huge fan of “a little goes a long way”. A more intense flavoring, like mesquite, would have overpowered the flavors in this recipe.
🔷Step Five: Stir the mix every 15 minutes. You’ll see the cheese slowly start to melt. Don’t worry if the beer doesn’t incorporate into the cheese right away. Once the cheese is fully up to temperature, it will mix in nicely.
🔷Step Six: Continue smoking until the cheese is fully melted and the beer is mixed in fully. It should take about one hour. The time isn’t as important.
🔷Step Seven: Remove from the grill (fight off your family for trying to eat this before you add the toppings! 😀) and top with chopped onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños or your favorite pico de gallo.
♨️Other Types of Grills
🔶For the Traeger, heat it up to 275°F degrees and cook for 45-60 minutes.
🔶For the Pit Boss, set to SMOKE setting and allow it to smoke for 60-120 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Then turn it to 225°F and continue cooking for another 60-90 minutes. You will tell when it’s done as it’s all melted and gooey, which is why I suggest ranges of times.
🔶For Masterbuilt, heat up to 250°F degrees and add in wood chips. Once it is heated up and ready to go, add in the dip for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
🍅 How to Make Homemade Rotel
If you can’t find Rotel and want to make your own, you have some options. Here are three to consider:
- Combine two cans of chopped tomatoes with one can of chopped chilis (the green ones in the little can on the top shelf of the grocery store).
- Combine two cans of chopped tomatoes with chopped jalapeños of your liking. This version allows you to control the heat as well.
- Add in a garlic clove or two to either version to make it your own.
🍱 Storage & Reheating
It’s true, this brisket queso is best when it’s fresh, but leftovers store and reheat well. They can be tomorrow’s lunch!
❄️Fridge. If you have leftover brisket queso dip (which I don’t think you will), you can store it in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Optionally, place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the queso before sealing the container. This will
🧊Freezer. You can freeze leftover brisket queso for up to 2 months. It will stay safe to eat longer than that, but it might not have the best taste and texture.
Place the leftovers in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags (portion, if necessary). If using a bag, try to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Thaw in the fridge.
📟Microwave. Reheat the leftover queso in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring down the sides well each time until it’s hot.
👨🏻🍳Oven. You can also reheat this dip in the oven.
- Preheat it at a low temperature (275°F to 300°F), and place the queso in an oven-safe dish. Ideally, you should use a shallow one which allows for faster and more uniform reheating.
- If the queso has thickened too much in the fridge, add a splash of milk or cream and give it a gentle stir. You can also break it or cut it into smaller chunks to help it melt faster.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes,
- Check halfway through. Scrape down the sides and give it a stir.
- Once the desired consistency is reached, remove it from the oven and serve.
🥣 Meal Prep
This is such a great recipe for meal prep so you don’t have to do it all on the same day. A day or two ahead of time you can:
- Chop up the cheeses and store them in a Ziploc bag.
- Chop up all of the toppings you want to add. We chopped up our pico ingredients so they were ready to place on the top when the dip is pipping hot.
- Shred or chop the leftover brisket.
🌶️Additions & Substitutions
There are so many ways to change up this recipe so it’s not the same every time.
🔪Change the Cheese | Smoked Gouda is an amazing choice for this dip. The Velveeta cheese makes this the perfect consistency.
If you use less of the Velveeta, you will have to add something to help thin it out or the dip will be a big huge glop of semi-soft cheese and won’t really be a dip at all.
🔪Change the Mix-Ins | Add in chopped-up green or red peppers, onion, garlic – you name it, you can mix it in and change up the recipe. A friend also used cream of jalapeño soup and it was incredible.
🔪Sauté the Onions | You already know how much flavor this simple step adds, so if you want to go the extra mile, this is the place to do it.
🔪Add in Blistered Jalapeños | If you haven’t done this before, it changes the flavor and intensity of the heat. When you blister them, it breaks down the capsaicin and makes them sweeter.
Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Heat up a cast iron skillet over high heat and char them with a little bit of olive oil for a couple of minutes or until the skins start blackening. This is a great way to tone down a hotter pepper as well.
🔪Change the Seasonings | Cumin and chili powder are always great seasonings to reach for tex mex queso dips.
❗ Expert Tips
📌The biggest mistake I see people make when smoking is to try to get a big, billowy smoke in the grill. Time and again, this results in the recipe tasting like an ashtray. Blech! Instead, aim for a very light trickle of smoke. It will provide just a hint of the smoky flavor.
📌Stir, stir, and stir. Don’t skip stirring every 15 minutes. Even though the grill is set up with a heat deflector, the bottom of the pan may still burn if you are not careful.
📌Be creative. The best part about this recipe is that it is customizable. Use what you have in the fridge and mix up the seasonings.
📌If you change up the cheeses, make sure to stick to at least 50% Velveeta to keep it creamy. If you go less than that, add in a little bit of milk or half and half.
🌮 Serving Suggestions
Keep these options in mind to add some variety to the way you serve smoked brisket queso. It can be a new culinary experience every time you make it!
👉Tortilla Chips. We love to serve this up with tortilla chips or the Scoops version so we can get a big portion on a chip.
👉Fresh Veggies. This is a hearty dip so fresh veggie sticks will lighten it up and their crunchy texture will complement the creaminess of smoked queso. Sliced bell peppers, celery, carrots, or cucumbers are all good options.
👉Pretzels. Hard pretzel sticks are wonderful dippers for queso, and so are homemade soft pretzel bites.
👉Mini Tacos or Taquitos. Use the smoked brisket queso as a filling to create a fun and easy finger food.
👉Crusty Bread. Ciabatta, baguettes, focaccia, and other crusty breads are great for scooping up this hearty dip.
👉Pita and Naan Bread. You can toast or warm these flat brads as alternatives to chips that are just as good.
👉Baked Potato Skins. Use this cheesy dip to load grilled potato skins. This can be a complete meal or a delicious appetizer – your choice!
👉Rice or Grain Bowls. Upgrade your rice or quinoa bowl with brisket queso as a satisfying topping.
🍲More Leftover Brisket Recipes
Leftover brisket is a gift that keeps on giving. It stores well, and there are so many leftover brisket recipes that are just fantastic!
🌶️A warm and hearty chili is my definition of comfort food. You know you can’t go wrong with a homemade brisket chili. Even better if you used smoked brisket. The flavors will be out of this world!
🥔Use leftover brisket, cheese, and your favorite toppings to make brisket twice-baked potatoes. They can be a rich side dish or a satisfying meal on their own.
🥪Brisket grilled cheese is one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches. I always use smoked brisket for that extra flavor punch. It’s just as great to take at work or school as is enjoying it as a quick dinner.
🧀When feeding a crowd, it’s a good idea to stretch that leftover brisket a little, and brisket nachos are perfect for that. Add your favorite melty cheese and toppings for a fun snack or appetizer.
You bet! Chop it into 1-inch cubes, place it in a disposable aluminum pan over indirect heat, and stir periodically. The cheese will melt in 45 minutes to one hour depending on the temperature of your smoker.
Add some milk, half and half, beer, salsa, chicken stock or other liquid and mix. When the queso is warmed up, the liquids will incorporate better.
While this is best served warm and fresh off the smoker, if you let it cool, it will harden back up. Add some canned evaporated milk to the queso and it will stay creamy as it cools.
If it gets hardened as your game day progresses, zap it back in the microwave for 30-second intervals, scraping down the sides as that is the hottest part.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Smoked Queso with Brisket and Beer
- Aluminum Pan (9×13)
- 1 lb Velveeta Cheese
- 8 oz Jack Cheese
- 1 cup Brisket cooked, chopped or shredded
- 2 cans Rotel
- ½ cup Beer black lager or another dark beer
- 1 cup Cilantro chopped
- 1 tsp Sazon Con Culantro Y Achiote
- ½ cup Tomatoes chopped
- ½ Jalapeño chopped
- 3 tbsp Onion chopped
- 1 tsp Cilantro chopped
- Chop up the cheeses into one inch cubes. This just helps it melt more evenly. Add the cheese and chopped brisket to a disposable aluminum pan.
- Add the Rotel, Cilantro and Sazón to the pan. Pour in rest of the ingredients.
- Set up your grill or smoker for indirect heat. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners and just heat with the ones on the end. For the Big Green Egg, add the ceramic plate setter. Dial in the temperature to about 275 degrees. This will be a low-and-slow cook.
- Add your favorite wood chips to the grill. I used a light applewood as I am a huge fan of "a little goes a long way." A more intense flavoring, like mesquite, would have overpowered the flavors in this recipe.
- Stir the mix every fifteen minutes. You'll see the cheese slowly start to melt. Don't worry if the beer doesn't incorporate into the cheese right away. Once the cheese is fully up to temperature, it will mix in nicely.
- Continue smoking until the cheese is fully melted and the beer is mixed in fully. It should take about one hour. The time isn't as important.
- Remove from the grill (fight off your family for trying to eat this before you add the toppings! 😀) and top with chopped onions, tomatoes and jalapeños.
- Chop up the onions, tomatoes and jalapenos to place on top of the hot cheese dip. This section is very flexible so make the amount you would like while sticking to this combination.
- Chop up the cheeses and store in a ziploc bag.
- Chop up all of the toppings you want to add. We chopped up our pico ingredients so they were ready to place on the top when it’s pipping hot.
- Shred or chop the leftover brisket.
Ginny Collins is a passionate foodie and recipe creator of Savor and Savvy and Kitchenlaughter. Indoors she focuses on easy, quick recipes for busy families and kitchen basics. Outdoors, she focuses on backyard grilling and smoking to bring family and friends together. She is a lifelong learner who is always taking cooking classes on her travels overseas and stateside. Her work has been featured on MSN, Parade, Fox News, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many local news outlets. She lives in Florida where you will find her outside on the water in her kayak, riding her bike on trails, and planning her next overseas adventure.