When it gets hurt-your-face-cold outside, I turn to old-fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs recipes that require hours of slow simmering in the oven — the kind that fill your home with amazing smells. The granddaddy of them all? A slow-cooked roast brisket. I’m talking eight hours in the oven, which gives you meat so tender that it falls apart in the process of transferring it from the pan to your plate.
But if you’re going to spend an entire Saturday tethered to your kitchen, who wants to cook the next day? A standard brisket can weigh six to eight pounds and easily feeds six or more with plenty of leftovers — so for day two, turn some of that tender goodness into crispy loaded nachos meant for snacking with extra guac. No fuss and, at least in my house, no more leftovers.
I’m partial to this Food52 brisket recipe that calls for eight (eight!) onions, but any slow-roasted cut of meat that cooks up silky tender will do, whether it’s last night’s pot roast, London broil, or pork shoulder. Chop or shred the leftover meat, layer it with plenty of cheese and all of the toppings, and serve it straight from the sheet pan. Dinner done! (Also, dinner … fun!)
If You Make Beef Brisket Nachos, a Few Tips
- Skip the wimpy chips. You want to use a thicker, flatter chip than you use for dipping (think: thick, restaurant-style tortilla chips like Mi Nina or Xochitl that can stand up to lots of toppings and baking in the oven).
- Don’t walk away from the oven. When you’re making nachos, the line between “perfectly done” and “calling the fire department” can be razor thin, so when they do go in the oven, keep the light on and check on them frequently. You want to pull the nachos out just as the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden-brown in spots, which varies by oven.
- Anything goes! Nachos are like pizza — they’re easily customizable. If you don’t want beans on your nachos, don’t add them! Or divide a sheet pan in half and put one topping combo on one half and something else on the other. This recipe is designed to use up your leftovers, so take a look at what’s in your fridge and pantry and experiment.
If you didn’t think nachos could get more irresistible, try adding tender brisket.
For the nachos:
- 6 ounces
- 1 (16-ounce) bag
lightly salted thick, restaurant-style tortilla chips, preferably corn
- 16 ounces
shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend (about 4 cups)
medium red onion
- 1 (16-ounce) jar
kosher dill pickles
- 2 (about 15-ounce) cans
black or pinto beans
- 1 teaspoon
ground cumin or taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon
Pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
Pinch kosher salt
Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Arrange 1 (16-ounce) bag tortilla chips on the baking sheets in an even layer. Sprinkle 8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 2 cups) evenly over the chips.
Drain 1 (16-ounce) jar pickles and finely chop (about 1 1/2 cups). Pat the pickles dry with paper towels and sprinkle over the nachos.
Drain 2 (about 15-ounce) can black or pinto beans, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin or taco seasoning, a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, and a pinch of kosher salt. Toss to combine and sprinkle over the pickles.
Finely dice 1 medium red onion (about 1 1/2 cups) and sprinkle over the beans. Trim the fat from 6 ounces cooked brisket, then shred or chop the meat into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle over the onions and beans. Sprinkle the remaining 8 ounces cheese (about 2 cups) evenly over the top.
Bake until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden-brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 1/4 medium lime into 2 wedges, and finely chop the leaves and tender stems of 1 bunch fresh cilantro until you have about 1/4 cup.
Sprinkle the cilantro over the nachos and squeeze a wedge of lime over each baking sheet. If you’d like, you can spoon guacamole, salsa, and sour cream directly onto the nachos, or just add spoonfuls to each bite as desired. Serve with hot sauce if desired.
Kayla hails from Hopkinton, MA. A marketer by day and freelancer by night, she’s a passionate runner, swimmer, and eater.