Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of nachos in this world…

First… the round tortilla chips and bright orange liquid cheese that is served in a plastic container at sporting events. That smell will forever and always remind of going to hockey games with my parents as a kid.

Second… the “gourmet” nachos. They’re the nachos that are found in the appetizer section of a menu at a restaurant with really fantastic food. Those nachos? Also memorable, but for a completely different reason. You’ll usually find those piled high with meats, cheese, beans, onions, and all sorts of toppings. It’s an appetizer of the gods. I’ve had a couple of such nacho platters in the last year or so, and wanted to recreate the same magic at home. Football season seems as good a time as any to undertake such a project, so I gave it a whirl this weekend.

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I built these nachos around a beer-braised pork shoulder roast that I put in the slow cooker overnight. I had to take the puppy out around 4:30am and as I walked through the kitchen, I was seriously tempted to open the lid, grab a fork and start tasting. The smell was amazing. My desire for sleep trumped food at that hour, so I held out for the next day.

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

These nachos are built with layers of the carnitas, black beans, white onion, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Once out of the oven, I sprinkled the top with some fresh cilantro and had my favorite salsa and guacamole on hand, along with sour cream and pickled jalapeรฑos for topping. I’d argue that the toppings are just as important as the nacho components themselves, so I highly recommend going all-out with the toppings that you love.

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I piled a plate high with nachos and my favorite toppings, then proceeded to plop myself on the couch in front of the TV on Sunday afternoon. This recipe makes enough nachos to feed a crowd, so if you only have a few hungry mouths to feed, you could safely cut this recipe in half. Lucky for us, we had leftovers for Monday Night Football.

What are your favorite nacho components and toppings?

P.S. If you’re looking for an alternative to the pork carnitas, you may want to give these short ribs a try. I’ve made them as tacos and they’re outstanding!

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: No-Bake Homemade Clif Bars
Two years ago: Pumpkin Bread
Three years ago: Pancake Cupcakes with Maple-Bacon Frosting

Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes

A fantastic guide to creating the best nachos - use the beer-braised carnitas or substitute your favorite meats, cheeses and beans.


For the Beer-Braised Carnitas:
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons cumin
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed
12 ounces beer

For the Nachos:
3 (9-ounce) bags tortilla chips
Beer-Braised Carnitas
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large white onion, chopped
24 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
24 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

For the Toppings/Garnishes:
Restaurant-Style Salsa
Pickled jalapeรฑos
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


1. Make the Beer-Braised Carnitas: In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder and black pepper; set aside.

2. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Sear the pork roast on all sides until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer the pork roast to a slow cooker and sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly all over, then pour the beer over the pork. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, turning and rotating the pork roast a couple of times if possible.

3. Once finished cooking, shred the pork with two forks, then leave in the slow cooker on warm before serving. The carnitas can be made up to three days in advance. Reheat in a covered pot with ½ cup water, adding more water if needed to keep pork moist.

4. Assemble & Bake the Nachos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two large rimmed baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

5. Dividing evenly between the baking sheets, layer the tortilla chips, carnitas, black beans, onion and shredded cheese, repeating the layers twice more, gradually building up a mound in the center as you go. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with desired toppings.

(Carnitas recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is; Nachos recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)


40 Responses to “Ultimate Nachos with Beer-Braised Carnitas”

  1. Sues on September 17, 2013 at 12:55 am

    I could legit eat nachos at (or for) EVERY meal. These ones are hardcore deliciousness. I love everything about them!


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on September 17, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Your photos are so vibrant and sharp in this post – love them, Michelle! And nachos, who doesn’t love ’em! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Jamie @lifelovelemons on September 17, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Wow. I could eat this whole thing myself!! Especially with the carnitas! YUM!


  4. Norma @ Allspice and Nutmeg on September 17, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Whoa, this is so going onto my must make list. Your photos are gorgeous!


  5. Kathi on September 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    OH YUM! โ™ฅ


  6. Marla on September 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

    These would make me watch football!


  7. Tieghan on September 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

    KILLER girl! This is a recipe everyone will go crazy over and I cannot wait to make these on sunday! Perfect football food!


  8. Belinda @themoonblushbaker on September 17, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I might not watch a whole lot of sport but I do not think you need sport as reason to eat these!


  9. Tracey on September 17, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Oh how I wish I’d been at your house on Sunday to help you guys feast on these nachos – they sound so good!! They’ll definitely be happening here at some point during football season ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on September 17, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I’m with Tieghan…SUPER-KILLER nachos, Michelle! Exactly how we like them. Love that you incorporated Beer Braised Carnitas! Sublime. Thanks for sharing for hockey and football season!


  11. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on September 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

    These nachos look fabulous! Love all the cheese and yum goodness in them!


  12. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion on September 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Yay for these nachos!! your the best, just in time for Hockey season!!! Go Sens Go:) Guess where I live..;)


  13. 2 Sisters Recipes on September 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

    My son would love this! He asks me for Nachos for his footballs games and this would be perfect for him and his friends! thanks for sharing!


  14. Stephanie @ PlainChicken on September 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

    WOW!! These nachos look amazing! I am going to have to try these ASAP!


  15. Kate on September 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Oh yes, I would like to watch the game at your house….no, let me rephrase that….eat my way through the game!! These do look delicious and I agree, the toppings are a MUST!


  16. Terri C on September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

    This looks wonderful! And I have a roast in the freezer! I’m running to fetch it!


  17. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on September 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I need to get these nachos on a plate in front of me asap! Looks amazing!


  18. Marcie on September 17, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I want a plateful of these and it’s only 9AM here! These are my kind of nachos — they look fantastic with all of those delicious fixins.


  19. Dana on September 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    If I had it my way, chips and guac would be my only food group. ever. That is a meal in my opinion. Nachos are a close second. These look fantastic!!

    BTW…I made your Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars this weekend….amaze-balls! ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes on September 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Seriously, I could live on nachos – right or wrong, I don’t care. And I love this version! You can’t go wrong with beer-braised carnitas… I’m so loving this for our next Game Day spread!


  21. marie @ little kitchie on September 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    My idea of heaven!!


  22. Becca on September 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Oh my gosh this is perfect for football season! I could absolutely eat these as a meal


  23. Tamara Coleman on September 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    These sound FANTASTIC! Bring on the football! ๐Ÿ™‚


  24. Holiday Baker Man on September 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    So tasty!


  25. Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen on September 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    What???!!!! I must have these right now! So hungry and these look so good


  26. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on September 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    These really might just be the best nachos ever! It just made my next game day menu!


  27. Gabriel on September 18, 2013 at 2:11 am

    This looks awesome, I’m going to make ASAP with a nice dark stout! One question though – the ingredient list says 2 inch chunks of pork shoulder, but the recipe seems to infer to cook the shoulder whole with the language used. What is he proper way?


    • Michelle on September 18th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Gabriel, My apologies for the typo; it should be the whole roast.


  28. Lisa on September 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

    “It’s an appetizer of the gods.” I could not agree with you more!!! Thank you and thank heaven for nachos.


  29. Anna on September 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

    wow, they look amazing!
    (: Anna


  30. Emily @ Life on Food on September 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I could eat nachos multiple times a week. I love them so much. These look fantastic.


  31. Laura Dembowski on September 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I love all kinds of nachos! These look outrageously wonderful! Give me a big serving of these and I will be a happy girl ๐Ÿ™‚


  32. Mari @ Oh, Sweet & Savory on September 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

    This looks amazing!! I just had breakfast & yet I could eat a plateful of these right now! Thanks for sharing!


  33. Amanda on September 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Made these the other night – any recommendations on the chips not tasting stale after putting them in the oven to let the cheese melt? My chips got soggy and not stale tasting after only 15 minutes in the oven ๐Ÿ™


    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Hi Amanda, I’m not sure what would case stale-tasting chips, but if you want them all to be equally crispy, you’ll want to bake only a single layer.


    • Dan on November 10th, 2013 at 1:02 am

      I made the mistake of putting salsa on my nachos before cooking and that made some of the chips soggy. Next time I’ll keep that separate for dipping.

      Your stale chips might be a result of having the heat too low and the cook time too long. I set my oven to broil and then it only takes 1-2 minutes to get everything melted and toasty.


  34. Sara H on January 17, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    This looks amazing, just the kind of recipe I was looking for for pork carnitas. One thought – have you ever tried shredding the meat with the dough hook in a Kitchenaid mixer? A-mazing! One of the best tips I ever, ever got.


  35. Dan on May 1, 2014 at 8:44 am

    These look delicious! In terms of beer was it a stout, ale or larger that you used? I could eat this everyday ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Michelle on May 1st, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Dan, I used a regular lager (don’t remember which one now), but I think ale would work too. Enjoy!


  36. Brittany on September 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I have made these a few times before and they are soooooo good! I tried them today with chicken instead of pork and they were still delicious, perfect football food ๐Ÿ™‚


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