Tex-Mex lasgna (or enchilada bake)

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Hijack73

Smoking Fanatic
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SMF Premier Member
Aug 9, 2020
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SC, just a smidge from Charlotte
Was craving something taco-y but didn't feel like standing around a lot cooking (I have degenerative disc and I slipped getting out of the shower last week so standing straight is a bit painful right now) so I threw this together. I wasn't planning on posting it so I didn't take pics, but when I reheat some later tonight I'll get a shot of the plate. I used easy cheats so I didn't have to chop peppers and onions etc....

Was out of ground beef so I went bebopping off to Sam's for a 2 pack of chuck roasts. They are (I think) $4.58lb right now, and I got a smaller pack as I do have chucks in the freezer from a $3.99lb Food Lion sale a few weeks ago - just didn't feel like waiting on a thaw! My 2 pack was 22$ so after trimming I ended up with I'd say right at 4.5 lbs of grind. These were clean roasts and didn't have much waste at all.

Ran it though my coarse plate twice (my favorite way to grind) and started it a cooking. I added a healthy amount of dehydrated onions (I love dehydrated onions - I use Badia brand and will often add them even if i do use fresh onion on dishes) to the mix right as it started loosing all of its pink but still had plenty of moisture to start the rehydrating process.

I don't measure - so bear with me....

Added a good amount of black pepper and a bit of crushed red. Let it cook slowly to get a good bit of maillard brown on the bottom. Used about half of my ground beef. The other half will probably become hamburger stroganoff later this week or maybe next.
2 packets of McCormick taco seasoning and about a cup of water into the pot.
About a half cup of Pace medium picante for my peppers and tomato element
About a third of a cup of salsa verde (it was the wal mart generic - and it's pretty tasty stuff and I prefer it to the other 2 generally available name brands, but it's not always in stock so sometime I use Herdez or La Costeno)
Healthy sprinkle of garlic powder just because it was handy and it smelled like it needed more garlic ;)

Simmer and let it reduce to the right consistency.

Set my oven to 350.

After the mix cooled slightly I started assembly. I layer it like a lasagna.

A bit of the meat mix on the bottom of the foil pan to prevent sticking.
Then a layer of corn tortillas. These are overlapped so a double thick layer.
About half of what is left of the meat mixture
Cover that in a layer of shredded cheese. I had colby/jack open so that's what I used. Can be cheddar or whatever trips your trigger.
Then spoon on about a cup to a cup and a half of sour cream, and smooth it out. This is a key component and has to be baked into the mix!
A layer of tortillas, double thick again
The remainder of the meat filling.
1 can of green enchilada sauce. I normally use a can of green and a can of red - but guess what I was out of.....

and put it into the oven..... no.... wait.....

I have an idea........

So I go outside and check the hopper on the pellet grill. It's got maybe 3 lbs of pellets in it from the last cook, and that's more than enough for what I'm thinking! I fire up Mr Pit Boss, setting my Savannah Stoker PID to 275. I go back into the house and wait for ignition and to put a quick charge on my Inkbird. I'm only going to cook this thing for an hour or so but I prefer to use the probe to monitor the pit. After about 10 minutes I go outside and close the lid. It's fired up and roaring. I let it settle down (about another 10 minutes) and bring out my fairly heavy pan o' stuff.

I set the pan to the side next to the hopper away from the burn pot underneath. I don't want to scorch my pan o' stuff ya know.... (that's my only peeve with this smoker - I desperately need to find something to make a heat shield to put between that thing and my grates.

Set it and go watch TV for about a half an hour. After about 30 minutes, I go slice up a half pound block of cheddar jack and open a bag of shredded queso cheese. This stuff isn't real queso blanco - it's walmart branded and they CALL it queso.... but it is darn tasty whatever it is.. It melts nicely on top of stuff and I use it over cheddar because it doesn't oil out as badly. Makes a great grilled cheese too. Comes in a blue bag.

Outside with my cheese and open the pit. Looking good! Place the slices of pepper jack (yes - normally I would have shredded it - but the back wasn't having any of that nonsense) fairly uniformly then sprinkle on the queso-oid shreds.

Lid down - let it go for about 30 minutes.
Turn the smoker off and let it cool down. I'm not in any hurry to eat. Maybe 2 hours later I go fetch my still warm pan and resist digging out a handful and eating it like a caveman. It smells great!

Mashed up a small avocado with some some salt and black pepper and sour cream and a little fine diced red onion that I had left over from a meal last week, portioned out a healthy scoop of my lasagana and topped it with a bit of spring mix greens. Top that with my avocado and sprinkled on just a few Fritos for the crunch. I had a tomato and completely forgot to chop any up :( - by then I was starving lol

I was VERY glad that I took the extra pains to smoke this. It added steps and I had to stand a little longer but this stuff is delicious. It's not super smoked, but it is there and just enough. Smoking it before and after the cheese was just right I think.

I will have a plate of it later after work - so a pic will come!

It freezes and reheats VERY well. I'll usually freeze 2 portions out of a pan for quick nukeable dinners. All it needs to freshen it up is a little sour cream and a little salsa verde after reheating!
 
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As promised!
 

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Very similar to New Mexican layered enchiladas. We love them. It is a great dish, we add beans also Though.
 
You had me at pork.....

As usual with smoked foods, refrigeration did zap some of the smoke flavor. What I did notice is that the layer under the top cheese (when I had a little bit for lunch today without the salad and guac) was what really retained the smoked flavor that remained. I only rolled smoke on it for an hour - so it wasn't a ton to begin with. The top cheese just doesn't have any oomph left to it. Next time I'll start it cold (chill after assembly) and try to get a full hour on it before I cheese it. My only fear of letting it go longer is the sour cream layer.

This is not my normal recipe for this stuff. I usually do fresh bell and jalapeno pepper and chop fresh tomato into the meat mix. I imagine it would be KILLER with leftover PP or brisket! Or even a smoked chuck..... I think I might smoke a small butt or a chuck either this weekend or next and really try to turn out something good. I might even put a little cumin into the rub - which I normally do not do.

SmokinEdge SmokinEdge if I could find a run of fresh Hatch chilis (so rare here I've only gotten them maybe 3 times in the past 6 years) I would completely skip the bell peppers and just use those. That would really New Mexico it up! I have added refried before as a layer. Sometimes I'm in a bean mood - sometimes I am not.
 
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You had me at pork.....

As usual with smoked foods, refrigeration did zap some of the smoke flavor. What I did notice is that the layer under the top cheese (when I had a little bit for lunch today without the salad and guac) was what really retained the smoked flavor that remained. I only rolled smoke on it for an hour - so it wasn't a ton to begin with. The top cheese just doesn't have any oomph left to it. Next time I'll start it cold (chill after assembly) and try to get a full hour on it before I cheese it. My only fear of letting it go longer is the sour cream layer.

This is not my normal recipe for this stuff. I usually do fresh bell and jalapeno pepper and chop fresh tomato into the meat mix. I imagine it would be KILLER with leftover PP or brisket! Or even a smoked chuck..... I think I might smoke a small butt or a chuck either this weekend or next and really try to turn out something good. I might even put a little cumin into the rub - which I normally do not do.

SmokinEdge SmokinEdge if I could find a run of fresh Hatch chilis (so rare here I've only gotten them maybe 3 times in the past 6 years) I would completely skip the bell peppers and just use those. That would really New Mexico it up! I have added refried before as a layer. Sometimes I'm in a bean mood - sometimes I am not.
Do your stores carry the 505 brand of sauces? It’s still jar sauce but it is from New Mexico. They even have jarred roasted green chiles.
 
Had my mouth watering just reading the write. Then I get to the pics! Yowsa, That is some good looking stuff.

Jim
 
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