BTW Dana Perino, That’s Not How You Make Queso

I watch the Super Bowl every year not because I enjoy sports, not because I even understand sports, but because I have extreme FOMO as an incredibly online person. Oh, and I love buffalo chicken dip.

I spent my Sunday in three parts. One part complaining about Adam Levine and Michael Buble (@ me I dare you), one part dipping celery and tortilla chips into buff chick dip, and one part on Twitter. The last part is when I came across this deeply horrifying photo of queso.

The abomination in question was made by Dana Perino, a Fox News anchor AND former press secretary to George W. Bush. Yes, that George W. Bush—the one from Texas! The land of large things! And queso! It took approximately 10 seconds for Twitter to collectively freak out (queso was one of the platform’s top trends last night) and gain Dana Perino national queso fame (infamy?).

After all of this, Dana posted an ingredients list of what went into this witch’s cauldron of cheesy dip. Are you ready for this?

  • Velveeta
  • Rotel
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Cream cheese
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Heavy cream
  • Diced jalapeños
  • Fresh tomato
  • Cilantro

So yeah, all of these ingredients check out… EXCEPT the third one. Cream of mushroom soup? In queso? What? But I digress.

More importantly is WHY the queso looked like the contents of a singed porta-potty after Burning Man, and not a golden bath of the queso we know and love. So I consulted food director Carla Lalli Music. I warned her of what she was about to see, but the terror in her eyes was visible. And she had a few things to say.

First: Including bacon AND sausage meant all this extra fat was sitting around in the crock, slowly exuding from the meat products with nowhere to go but up. My favorite queso recipe, the Bob Armstrong version developed by Rick Martinez, solves for this by cooking the ground meat separately, and using a slotted spoon to bring it into the cheese, leaving the rendered meat fat behind.

Second: We can see that there’s some residue left on the sides of the pot. That suggests Dana kept the heat on, leaving the queso to reduce (since there’s no way anyone was eating it). In order to have a deliciously smooth, uniform queso from top to bottom—and not a filmy, oxidized crust—you need to keep up the emulsification. When you leave the heat on, the water evaporates, the fats separate, and you get a texture that looks more like unloved sheet pan than a creamy dreamy queso.

Carla’s tips for a perfect queso? Be mindful of how much meat you’re putting in, always be stirring, turn off the heat, and simply cover with a lid when you’re done cooking.

Dana, just DM us next time you need some cooking tips.

In case you’re inspired to make queso—and tweet about it:


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