Queso Stuffed BBQ Balls – smoky, cheesy goodness.
The secret to these smoky barbecued beef balls is the melty queso-stuffed interior.
Barbecue and queso. Two hyper-Texan things. Each is delicious in it’s own right, but imagine combining their awesome powers to create a truly unstoppable eating experience?!
Wonder no more, as your meaty, cheesy dreams are realized. A generous amount of queso is stuffed inside a seasoned smoked beef ball. Is this some kind of sorcery?! Not exactly, just some kitchen trickery. To get the liquid inside the solid, you just freeze it! I froze blocks of queso in advance which made them wonderfully easy to mange when encasing in beef. Given the beefy-cheesy ratio, you could nearly consider this a Tex Mex smoked cheeseburger situation, sans bun.
Though I have been known to enjoy Velveeta queso over time, not all melty cheese dips are created equal. And shoving a block of plain ol’ cheese inside the beef doesn’t *actually* make it queso. So this recipe called for a grander solution. Enter: Culinary Cowgirls Lone Star Queso, an HEB primo pick. Made in Austin, this thick queso is flavored with fresh tomato, onion and Serrano peppers. So, it packs a just enough kick to make your tastebuds shimmy a little.
Considering larger low’n’slow cuts can take upwards of 8 hours to cook, these tasty treats are also a time saver. They cook in as little as two hours! So, you can chow down on delicious apps while waiting for the main feature. Just be sure to start your prep the day prior to give the queso and formed balls time in the freezer.
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Recipe after the pics:
Queso Stuffed BBQ Balls
Makes about 18 balls when using 1.5″ ice cubes. This recipe requires some advance preparation.
For this recipe, I used Culinary Cowgirls Lone Star Queso and Hardcore Carnivore Black for seasoning.
- 30 oz queso
- 5 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons seasoning rub
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
Spoon the queso into an ice tray, using a spatula to spread it evenly into each slot. Place into the freezer to firm, about 3-4 hours.
Place the ground meat in a large bowl, and season with salt and seasoning rub. Use your hands to combine well throughout the meat (it's easiest and most hygienic to wear gloves for this!)
Assemble the balls by placing 3/4 cup of the ground beef mix on a board, and pressing into a flat disc, just under 1/2 inch thick.
Place a cube of frozen queso in the middle, and gently form the meat into a ball around the cube. Be VERY careful to pinch together any seams, and make sure it's sealed tight. Place the ball onto a large tray. Continue until all the balls are formed and on the tray, then cover and place into the fridge to set up. This will help the meat firm after being handled. Refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.
Heat a smoker to run at 250f.
Once the smoker is it temperature, place the balls into the smoker and cook for two hours. Since the surrounding temp is not very thick, it's difficult to get an exact reading on temperature, but two hours should cook them thoroughly and to a safe temperature.
Brush the tops of each ball with BBQ sauce, and cook a further 10 minutes.
Remove the balls from the smoker, let rest for 10-15 minutes under foil, then serve. NOTE: the queso will be very hot and in liquid form when the balls are cut into.
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