Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hot meat dip.

Hot meat dip - queso with smoked beef brisket. © Ryan Schierling
You've all certainly heard of the Great Velveeta Shortage of 2014 by now. "Increased seasonal demand" and a shifting of production lines from one plant to another led to a shortage of the famous pasteurized prepared cheese product, especially the more moderately-sized eight- and sixteen-ounce loaves. Moderately-sized... how cute. Your Super Bowl party is screwed. 

Thankfully, here in Texas, every grocer worth their inflated sodium content has a year-round endcap with nothing but #10 cans of Ro*Tel and five-pound chubs of Velveeta. No man, woman or child will ever go without queso here because, in The Great Republic of Texas, queso is a birthright

Back in the Ghetto Melrose days of Seattle, hot meat dip mysteriously became a party staple. I'm not sure how it all started, but browned ground beef, Velveeta, a tin of tomatoes with green chiles and a secret mix of spices would bubble away in an ancient, volcanic crock pot next to a gigantic bowl of tortilla chips. It was easy, and it was always a hit. 

I hadn't thought about it for a while, until Sunday, when we were watching the Seahawks finish off San Francisco for a trip to the Super Bowl in February. It was time to dust off a few party recipes, and we've got some history with dips in this household. Our three-ingredient, 24-hour onion dip may be the most-requested-by-friends-and-family recipe on our entire site, and cousin Larry's smoked salmon dip is a spot-on homage to a doomed Seattle grocery store's fish-counter flight of fancy. It only made sense that hot meat dip return to the fore, to battle it out with the other celebrated dips on the holiest of all holy days of scooping things into stuff – Super Bowl Sunday. 

This hot meat dip has one serious divergence from its predecessor – it does not include ground beef. We didn't take the meat out of the hot meat dip, we just added something a little meatier, a little beefier, a little smokier, a little more Texas. In this case, the hot meat was brisket – a leftover half-pound of moist from Micklethwait Craft Meats (only because I'm a failure of a man and can't eat a whole pound of brisket in one sitting). I'd sanguinely like to think this is a more-than-suitable use for the remainders. 

There's no shame in being called "fatty." © Ryan Schierling

Hot Meat Dip

1 16-ounce loaf Velveeta, cut into 1" cubes
1 10-ounce can Ro*Tel tomatoes and green chiles (do not drain)
1/2 pound smoked, chopped beef brisket from the finest, most reputable pit boss in your region (driving up to 2 hours each way is acceptable)
1/2 small white onion, chopped 
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced into thin rounds
*1/4 cup beer, whatever you're drinking

In a medium-sized skillet (cast-iron if you're partial) over medium heat, add onion, jalapeño and brisket. The fat from the brisket (assuming you got some nice brisket) will cook out a little and sauté the onion and jalapeño. If you didn't get some nice brisket, add a bit of bacon fat or olive oil. By the time the onion and jalapeño begin to get soft (about 10 minutes), the brisket will start to crisp up in spots and stick to the pan. Deglaze with a little of that beer you're holding and stir well, scraping up the brisket fond on the bottom of the pan. Add Velveeta and Ro*Tel, turn heat to low and stir often until you've got a bubbling, melty skillet of molten gold.

Serve with tortilla chips.

You can also make this in a crock pot, as long as the onion and jalapeño are sautéed before everything gets dumped into the pot. Set the crock pot to low and let it ride until bubbly. If it's too thick, add a little beer and stir well. 

*This recipe was tested originally using two shots of pickle juice to deglaze the pan. The idea was to continue with ingredients associated with eating Texas barbecue – onions, jalapeños, cheese, pickles – and the pickle juice worked really nicely without adding too much saltiness. Use whatever you've got... both pickle juice or beer work well. 


  1. We are making this for Superbowl Sunday.

    Because you've never lead us astray.

    1. After eating this a few times, I would now call our onion dip "diet" food.


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