APPETIZERS/ MAINS

Brisket Nachos with Queso Blanco

Hello and welcome! If you’ve been following Alex’s Djalali Cooks Too column, you’ll know that we had a 13-pound smoked brisket; the leftovers just waiting to be used in all kinds of delicious dishes. It may come as no surprise that we just had to make brisket nachos. Instead of my usual sheet pan nachos, today we are making a double-decker version. You can certainly modify this recipe to be a sheet pan version. Let’s get to it! Brisket Nachos with Queso Blanco.

Brisket Nachos

These nachos have it all: savory and sweet; spicy and sour; with smooth queso blanco and extra sharp cheddar. The smoked brisket adds smoke flavor with meaty texture. I am using seasoned tortilla chips, which adds extra savory flavor. You can use plain, if you prefer.

The slight sweetness comes from chunky mango peach salsa, It’s a nice contrast with the spiciness of the jalapeños. To offset all the richness we will top the nachos with pickled red onions and cilantro.

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Drain and rinse the black beans and slice the brisket into bite-size pieces. Shred the cheddar on a box grater.

Brisket Nachos ingredients

Queso Blanco with Beer and Brine

Cube up half a package of Velveeta Queso Blanco – about 16 ounces. In a small saucepan, over low heat, slowly melt the queso cubes. Stir in about 1/4 cup of milk once the cheese begins to melt. Once the cheese is melted and the milk is incorporated, add about 3 tablespoons of pickled jalapeño brine. Stir to incorporate the brine and keep warm over the lowest heat setting. Then add about 1/4 cup of light lager beer. Stir to incorporate. Keep the queso over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally until ready to use. If the queso is still pretty thick, and not pourable, add more beer or jalapeño brine until the consistency is smooth and pourable.

Build the Brisket Nachos

As I mentioned at the top, this is going to be a double-decker nacho situation. So I have lined two 8-inch square, 2-inch deep baking pans with parchment. The parchment is there to easily slide the nachos onto a serving tray.

Brisket Nachos prep

Start with a layer of chips. Then cheddar cheese. Sprinkle on the brisket pieces and beans.

Then, use a slotted spoon to dollop on the chunky mango peach salsa. Top the salsa with another layer of chips, then more brisket pieces and beans. Finish with the remaining cheddar cheese. You can do more mango peach salsa if you like, but I just went for the single layer. Sometimes, the salsa can make the chips soggy, so I try to use it sparingly.

Brisket Nachos ready for the oven

Bake the nachos for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the brisket pieces get bubbly with rendering fat and the chips begin to look toasty.

Building the Double-Decker Brisket Nachos

Choose your serving platter and set it along side the baked nachos. Carefully, because it’s hot, hold one side of the parchment, tilt the baking pan and slide one of the nachos and the parchment out of the pan and onto the serving platter.

building Brisket Nachos on a serving tray

Then, use a large spatula to get between the parchment and the bottom layer of nachos; in your other (non-spatula) hand hold the edge of the parchment and pull the parchment out in one motion, letting the spatula hand down easy for a clean dismount.

baked Brisket Nachos

Now for the fun part! Use a ladle to drizzle on the queso blanco.

melted queso blanco

Top the queso with pickled jalapeños.

pickled jalapeños

Now, for that second pan of nachos. This part is a little trickier. As before: hold one side of the parchment, tilt the baking pan and slide the nachos and the parchment out of the pan and onto the counter top. Again, slide the large spatula between the bottom of the nachos and the parchment. Moving quickly, lift the spatula hand and the hand holding the parchment, move to position over the first batch of nachos on the serving platter, and in one fluid motion, pull the parchment out from under the nachos and let the nachos fall onto the first batch and then slide the spatula out.

building Brisket Nachos

Now repeat the drizzling of queso blanco.

Brisket Nachos

Top this massive pile of nachos with pickled jalapeños, pickled red onions and cilantro. Slice up some lime wedges to serve alongside.

Brisket Nachos

This double-decker nacho situation is definitely for a group, but it’s simple to modify for two. But this is an impressive mountain of Brisket Nachos!

Brisket Nachos

So colorful, so flavorful! The flavors are all so well-balanced; we have bit of everything in there – sweet, savory, sour, salty, spicy and rich. I loved the slightly sweet surprise when I get a bite with the mango peach salsa. Place kitchen tongs out and plates for your guests to serve themselves a pile of Brisket Nachos.

You can still make these nachos without having leftover brisket; just substitute with ground beef or chicken. Or go vegetarian and add another can of black beans. If you’re looking for another nachos recipe, try my Taco Nachos. Thank you so much for spending some your Thursday with me. Until tomorrow, take care and be well. xo Kelly

Brisket Nachos with Queso Blanco

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Dinner, Main Course, Appetizer Mexican/American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 15-20 Minutes Total Time: ~30 Minutes

So colorful, so flavorful! We have bit of everything in this mountain of Brisket Nachos; sweet, savory, sour, salty, spicy and rich.

Ingredients

  • ~1 Bag Tortilla Chips
  • 8 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 15.5 oz. Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups Brisket Pieces
  • Chunky Peach Mango Salsa
  • Queso Blanco
  • 16 oz. Velveeta Queso Blanco, cubed
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 3 tbsp. Jalapeño Brine, plus more if needed to thin queso
  • 1/4 cup Light Lager Beer (like Miller Lite), plus more if needed to thin queso
  • Toppings
  • Pickled Jalapeños
  • Pickled Red Onions
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Lime Wedges

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Queso Blanco

2

In a small saucepan, over low heat, slowly melt the queso cubes.

3

Stir in about 1/4 cup of milk once the cheese begins to melt.

4

Once the cheese is melted and the milk is incorporated, add about 3 tablespoons of pickled jalapeño brine. Stir to incorporate the brine.

5

Then add about 1/4 cup of light lager beer. Stir to incorporate. Keep the queso over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally until ready to use. If the queso is still pretty thick, and not pourable, add more beer or jalapeño brine until the consistency is smooth and pourable.

Building the Nachos

6

Line two 8-inch square, 2-inch deep baking pans with parchment.

7

Begin with a layer of chips, then cheddar cheese, brisket pieces and beans.

8

Use a slotted spoon to dollop mango peach salsa over beans and brisket pieces.

9

Top with another layer of chips, brisket and beans, finish with remaining cheddar cheese.

10

Bake nachos for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, chips begin to toast and the brisket pieces are heated through.

11

When the nachos come out of the oven, carefully hold one side of the parchment, tilt the baking pan and slide one of the nachos and the parchment out of the pan and onto the serving platter.

12

Then, use a large spatula to get between the parchment and the bottom layer of nachos; in your other (non-spatula) hand hold the edge of the parchment and pull the parchment out in one motion, letting the spatula hand down easy for a clean dismount.

13

Drizzle the Queso Blanco over the nachos on the platter, and top with pickled jalapeños.

14

For the double-decker layer: hold one side of the parchment, tilt the baking pan and slide the nachos and the parchment out of the pan and onto the counter top.

15

Again, slide the large spatula between the bottom of the nachos and the parchment. Moving quickly, lift the spatula hand and the hand holding the parchment, move to position over the first batch of nachos on the serving platter, and in one fluid motion, pull the parchment out from under the nachos and let the nachos fall onto the first batch and then slide the spatula out.

16

Repeat the drizzling of Queso Blanco, topping with pickled red onions, jalapeños and cilantro.

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  • Terry
    September 30, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Yumm these look amazing. Gram loves nachos I will definitely give this a shot. ♥️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 30, 2021 at 10:29 am

      It’s a great way to use leftovers, Mom! xo Kelly

  • Mari
    September 30, 2021 at 10:41 am

    You need to send Alex on a brisket tour. He could come to all of our houses, make a brisket and then move on to the next house. We would all get a great slab of brisket to eat and to casually toss in all your great recipes, while we brag to the neighbors. Sadly all the benefits would land on our side, and poor Alex would be exhausted afterwards. Having read his epic account of the world of brisket, I know that is not easy to do, and if he had to cook for all of us, he would not be happy. He would have to sleep for three weeks straight and have nightmares involving cows and smokers. So, maybe he had better just stay home. I got a kick out of his last post where he talked about what he planned to do while you were out of town with his Mom. The part about turning his music up loud cracked me up, because my husband and I frequently had that discussion. Nobody wants to hear the 1812 Overture at full blast at midnight because the other person has insomnia. Well my husband would and did, and I’m sure there are others. He was in a rock band for years and frequently fell asleep during practice sessions. He has great hearing, so how he tuned that out amazes me! It reminds me of an Isaac Singer story where Satan was boasting about mismatching people. A singer with a deaf man, a comedian with a woman who had no sense of humor, and so forth. The irony was amusing. Now I know what happened! Anyway, music aside, this recipe reads and looks like a dream, and I will file this away for the next time beef is lurking in my kitchen. Happy Thursday Kelly, Alex, and Terry, and all the blog sisters. Tomorrow is Friday, and not a moment too soon.

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 30, 2021 at 10:48 am

      Hey Mari! I will have to look up this Isaac Singer story, it does sound amusing. Your husband was in a rock band?! What did he play? I was in a band for years, and I am sure it’s why I now have sensitive ears. I even stuff tissue in my ears when I go to the movies, because that volume is too loud for me! Alex is always asking me turn up the TV. He has a habit of listening to music too loud after I have gone to bed. ? These Nachos are awesome with brisket, but would still be great with whatever leftover meat you’ve got in the fridge. Happy Thursday, and I look forward to your thoughts about tomorrow’s pizza… ☺️ xo Kelly

      • Mari
        September 30, 2021 at 12:07 pm

        Bob was a drummer and they played mostly at clubs, which I gather were actually nightclubs, although they did play a few bars and dives too. When he was in the Air Force, he was stationed in Germany, and he played in a band there. They got to play in The Star Club where the Beatles had played several years before, and Bob’s band was thrilled to play there twice. Everybody wanted to play there. I really don’t like going to movies because it is way too loud for me, I’d rather stream it at home when it’s available. I think I listened to way too much heavy metal when my kids went through that phase. We lived in a small town in Illinois and a lot of the bands played there. I got to take them to see Poison, Megadeth, Stone Temple Pilots and Tesla among others. I was always one of the only adults there! Good times. One of the benefits of being an adult was that they never frisked me for recording devices, although it would never have occurred to me to smuggle one in. We already had the music at home, and the video would not have been that great. What kind of music did your band play? We’re you a vocalist, did you play an instrument or both? like all musical genres: but rock, metal, and opera are probably my favorites. ?

        • Kelly Djalali
          September 30, 2021 at 1:19 pm

          I played keyboards for a short time in a band called Deerhoof. Then I did vocals in a different band called Seven Year Rabbit Cycle. Both bands are more on the avant-garde side of the spectrum, though Deerhoof is way more catchy and pop-like now. Alex is super-into metal and rock, so he will appreciate your music taste! ? While I like most music genres, I used to veer more toward the complicated, harder-to-listen-to-as-music stuff. These days, I don’t listen to all that much music aside from what Alex puts on, which I usually really like anyway. Though lately, I enjoy listening to the classical music program Performance Today, on my local public/college radio station.

  • Suzanne Smith
    September 30, 2021 at 10:58 am

    This looks great! I’ll have to remember this and try it sometime. Yum

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 30, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Definitely do, Suzanne – so good! Thanks for leaving a comment, so good to hear from you today! xo Kelly