Game day or game night, a huge platter of loaded Pulled Pork Nachos will be the true winner with everyone at your table! These nachos are so hearty, they can make a great meal instead of always being seen as an appetizer.
Using leftovers of our Smoked Pulled Pork makes these nachos even easier to make. We love making sure no food goes to waste, here’s a few of our favorite recipes using leftovers. Skillet Cheesy Red Pepper Chicken Sandwiches which uses our tasty dip as a base. Or how about Chili Cheese Dog Skillet Bake using leftovers of our Awesome Chili.
How do you make the perfect nachos?
One word! LAYERING.
The great thing about nachos is taking boring, plain ole tortilla chips, adding cheese and then countless other goodies, baking them to a nice warm melty mess, and digging in.
But how many times have you started eating nachos, found that the toppings were only on the top, and after that top layer has been gobbled up, you’re left with a warm pan of naked chips? Who wants a platter of naked chips? No one.
Creating layers is the best way to ensure you and whomever you’re sharing your pan of nachos with gets an equal ratio of chips and toppings in nearly every bite. Of course there’s always going to be the errant chip that hid from the toppings, but no one is perfect.
What’s the best cheese for nachos?
In general, any cheese that melts nicely is the way to go. Also, avoid using pre-grated cheeses. I know they are convenient, but the anti-caking agent on the cheese affects both the taste and the texture of the cheese. And honestly, it really doesn’t melt as well. However, I am not the nacho police, so use it if you want to for convenience.
I’ve used several cheeses over the years so here’s a few we love:
- Monterey Jack — this white, semi-soft cheese has a mild flavor and melts wonderfully.
- Cheddar — Cheddar adds a bit of tang to the cheese blend you’re assembling and some color. I’ve used everything from mild to extra sharp. Use your favorite.
- Pepper Jack — this is Monterey Jack kicked up a notch with various pepper, pieces and flakes, along with herbs added in during the cheese-making process.
- Colby Jack — A delicious blend of Monterey Jack and Colby.
- Mozzarella — if you’ve ever had a slice of pizza in your lifetime, you know exactly how well this cheese melts. While using an Italian cheese on a Mexican dish seems odd, it’s not. Oaxaca cheese is the Mexican version of mozzarella, but not as easy to find in your average grocery store.
- Others — depending on the flavor profile of your nachos, provolone, Swiss, Gouda, and Havarti are all wonderful options. It’s best to visit your grocery store deli counter and get pieces you can grate.
- American — I’m not going to argue if this is real cheese or not. You do you. But you cannot deny it’s melting ability. You can take those individually wrapped lunch slices and break them up into pieces and sprinkle them over the nachos with the other cheeses you’ve added. Or you can buy a chunk of it from the deli counter at the store. Or you can get some Velvetta and grate it. The best way to grate Velvetta is to freeze it first, then grate it to be added to the cheese mixture you’re assembling.
- Queso Quesadilla — Last but not least is this super-melty cheese that’s used in, you guessed it, quesadillas. It can also be labeled as queso asadero. This may not be the easiest cheese to find, so you can sub Monterey Jack, Fontina, or a really young/baby provolone.
How to create your own shredded cheese blend
Once you’ve decided on the cheeses you’re going to use, grate them up individually. You can do this with a box grater, a food processor, or any other means you have for shredding cheeses.
Take the shredded cheeses and toss them into a very large bowl that will have lots of space or into a zip-seal bag. Place the covered bowl or sealed bag into the freezer for a few minutes.
The process of grating the cheese warms it up. By placing the cheeses in the freezer for a few minutes, the cheeses are rapidly cooled so they do not clump together.
Once, they’re chilled, I vigorously shake the bowl or bag to mix the cheeses together…blending them if you will. That’s it! Your cheeses are now “blended.”
What is Mexican blend cheese?
The bag you can buy in the grocery store usually contains 3 or 4 different cheeses.
- Cheddar cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Queso quesadilla
- Pepper Jack — this would only be in blends labeled spicy or similar but not found in the mild or regular Mexican cheese blend bags.
Recipe ingredients for Pulled Pork Nachos
- Pulled pork — you’ll want at least 4 cups of pulled pork, but more is always good.
- Tortilla chips — do not go super cheap with the chips. You’re going to want a sturdy, hearty and thick chip to handle all the goodies on top.
- Mexican blend cheese — you can get bags of pre-shredded blended cheeses but grating your own is best.
- Produce — fresh cilantro, green onions, grape tomatoes, avocados, fresh lime wedges.
- Toppings — roasted corn and pickled jalapeños.
- Sauces — sour cream and barbecue sauce.
Step by step directions
Step 1 — Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread a thing layer of chips onto your cast iron baking sheet. Place chips along the edges to build a wall.
Step 2 — Sprinkle a handful or two of the cheese over the chips.
Step 3 — Sprinkle pulled pork, roasted corn, and cilantro over the entire pan of chips and cheese. Drop small dollops of barbecue sauce over everything as well. Now here’s where you can be creative and/or complicated. Divide the pan in half or in quadrants to customize the sections. We left half the pan as is and added fresh tomatoes and pickled jalapeños to the other half. This is great for keeping the spicy or “offensive” stuff from “contaminating” the rest of the nachos, as my kids would say.
Step 4 — Add another layer of chips, completely covering the bottom layer.
Step 5 — Repeat adding cheese, pulled pork, and corn onto of the chips.
Step 6 — Add cilantro and drizzle lines of barbecue sauce over the entire pan. If you’ve created sections, add the specialized toppings to their section over the same area they are in the lower layer.
Step 7 — Add yet another layer of pulled pork, cheese, corn, cilantro, and now the green onions over the same layer of meat, cheeses, and toppings. You will not have added more chips, but you can if you want or have a deep enough pan to contain the dish.
Step 8 — Place the pan of nachos in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes. They are “done” once the cheese has fully melted. Once they’re out of the oven, serve immediately with your toppings of choice.
Adaptations and variations
- Meats — pulled chicken or shredded beef works just as well as pulled pork, or even a combination of them for an extra meaty dish.
- Toppings — This is where you can get creative. Add black beans, fresh jalapeños, coleslaw, whatever you love, use it. Canned fire-roasted tomatoes (drained), chopped roasted red peppers, diced red onion, or pickled onions. Make guacamole instead of using diced avocados. Add your favorite salsa too.
- Cheeses — use your favorite cheese, but use at least two for varied flavor: pepper jack, Monterey jack, Colby, longhorn, various cheddars, even grating a bit of mozzarella or Velvetta for extra creamy cheesiness. See section above about cheeses.
For nachos, fresh and hot from the oven is best, but if you should have leftovers store them in an airtight container. I wouldn’t go more than 2 days as the chips will become soggy.
Remove them from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature. Preheat your baking sheet in the oven while it’s preheating to 300°F until warm and then place the nachos on the warmed baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes or until headed through. If possible, add a few fresh chips and more freshly grated cheese.
I do not recommend assembling them ahead of time because the chips will get soggy. However, you can have everything prepped and ready to go. Shred your cheese, dice your veggies, and such to make assembling easy.
Pulled Pork Nachos
- Cast iron baking sheet
- 12 oz corn tortilla chips 1 bag
- 12 oz Mexican cheese blend
- 4 cups pulled pork
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup roasted corn
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 4 oz grape tomatoes quartered
- 6 oz pickled jalapeños diced or chopped
- 2 green onions diced
- sour cream
- fresh limes sliced into wedges
- avocado diced
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread a thing layer of chips onto your cast iron baking sheet. Place chips along the edges to build a wall.
- Sprinkle a handful or two of the cheese over the chips.
- Sprinkle pulled pork, roasted corn, and cilantro over the entire pan of chips and cheese.
- Drop small dollops of barbecue sauce over the top.
- Create any sections for different toppings if you're using different toppings. Add the tomatoes and pickled jalapeños.
- Add another layer of chips, completely covering the bottom layer.
- Repeat adding cheese, pulled pork, and corn onto of the chips.
- Add cilantro and drizzle lines of barbecue sauce over the entire pan. If you’ve created sections, add the specialized toppings to their section over the same area they are in the lower layer.
- Add yet another layer of pulled pork, cheese, corn, cilantro, and now the green onions over the same layer of meat, cheeses, and toppings.
- Place the pan of nachos in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes. They are “done” once the cheese has fully melted.
- Serve immediately. Use additional toppings listed above and squeeze fresh lime over the entire thing or by individual servings. Enjoy!
Dutch Oven Daddy is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.