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A&E >  Food

Dorothy Dean presents: Cheesy and spicy Kenai Dip

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

June 4 celebrates one of the most popular foods in the universe: cheese.

But if you’re anything like me, you celebrate it every day. And, let’s be honest, it’s mainly with wine.

With more than 1,400 varieties in existence, there’s a cheese fit for everyone and everything.

Baked, broiled, fried, grilled, sprinkled, spread or tossed, cheese is one of those things in life that make everything better. And when paired with jalapeños, it can change the world.

Ask any Alaskan, as they know firsthand that the popular cheesy and spicy Kenai Dip makes the sun stay up longer and the fish grow even bigger.

OK, while that might or might not be true, it’s without a doubt one of the most addicting dips you will ever try. It’s the quintessential snack of the 49th state and can always be found in coolers bound for fishing, camping, hunting and cookouts.

Made famous by Echo Lake Meats, which is near the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, this jalapeño cheese spread is naturally known as Kenai Dip.

It’s so good and popular that Safeway jumped on the bandwagon by creating a clone that can be found in its deli – but only in Alaska.

Made with cheese, jalapeños, mayonnaise, seasonings and liquid smoke, it’s satisfying and savory, with the perfect balance of smokiness and spice.

You can always turn up the heat by adding more jalapeños. And, when making it, do not use pre-shredded cheese, as it doesn’t give it the authentic texture or flavor.

Kenai Dip is best served with Juanita’s tortilla chips, but any crunchy chip or cracker will do. It also is great on bagels and sandwiches and a killer topper for burgers. Slather it on the patty the last minute of cooking and cover it until it’s nice and gooey.

Kenai Dip

Adapted from

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup canned or jarred jalapeños, chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons jalapeño juice from jar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

pinch of salt

3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, chopped jalapeños, jalapeño juice, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, liquid smoke and salt. Stir to combine, then fold in cheese. Chill until ready to serve.

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