HOUSTON - In celebration of National Queso Day on September 20, we’ve reached out to some of our favorite local TexMex spots to get expert tips on how to create the perfect queso dip. We got the scoop from Levi Goode of Goode Co. Armadillo Palace and Chef Kevin Maxey of Superica that includes their favorite ingredients, interesting toppings and the best DIY methods to upgrade you from queso amateur to aficionado!
Q: What’s the best cheese or cheese blend for queso?
Goode: Who doesn’t like queso?! I like American cheese for the consistency and aged cheddar for the additional flavor and complexity to our chile con queso.
Maxey: American cheese, real American cheese, is the king of all cheeses for queso.
Q: What’s your favorite chip to serve with queso (corn, classic tortilla chips, plantain chips, etc.)
Goode: Classic corn tortilla chips house-made or day-old flour tortillas cut and lightly fried.
Maxey: Taking it back to my childhood, I would say my favorites in this order are classic Tostitos round corn chips, party dip size Fritos corn chips, followed by classic Ruffles with ridges potato chips.
Q: Do you use any interesting queso toppings?
Goode: My favorite for Chile con queso would be beef picadillo and pickled jalapeños - classic and perfect addition to a tailgate party.
Maxey: Chopped BBQ (brisket, pulled pork, chicken or sausage); crumbled bacon; roasted poblano pepper strips and sautéed mushroom.
Q: Any tips for making queso at home?
Goode: I like to use lots of finely diced onion, green bell pepper and a bit of minced garlic. I sweat those down slowly, careful not to brown the vegetables. Once the vegetables have softened and no longer have a crunch to them, I add the American cheese in 1” cubes. I also add milk to help melt cheese - all cooked on a stove top. Once fully melted and the consistency is nice, I add one handful at a time of grated cheddar and whisk in until incorporated. Finish by adjusting seasoning and spice to your liking.
Maxey: Melted cheese alone is too intense. It needs to be tempered with a basic white sauce which is traditionally milk thickened with corn starch or flour. I would ease away from tomatoes when using American Cheese as you end up with hot pink queso, unless that’s what you’re going for!
How I celebrate National Queso Day:
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