Award-Winning Smoked Beef Brisket Nachos is the perfect cure for cabin fever. It’s also the perfect way to use up leftover brisket!
*Update: As of April 2015, this recipe became the grand prize winning recipe in the Traeger Grills Meat Madness Competition. How cool is that?!
If you haven’t heard, Portland experienced a bit of a snowpocalypse this past weekend. A city that is not equipped to handle snow of any kind, nor ice storms, had both over the last three days.
Having experienced our fair share of snow storms — both here in Portland (remember the “Arctic Blast” storm of ’08?), and all the storms we experienced living in CT including; 2 weeks without power, blizzards, hurricanes, and more — we know when to stay put. And stay put we did this weekend. We didn’t leave the house except for this…
Since our neighborhood doesn’t have snow plow service this little guy decided plow us out the old fashioned way…. with a plastic lawn mower and lots of will power
He didn’t get very far. So we decided to call it quits and make some lunch.
Which brings us to our pantry/fridge purge. Unable to go to the store for provisions, we had to make due with what we had at home.
Smoked Brisket Nachos- A great way to use leftover smoked brisket
Since we occasionally have leftover brisket stored in the fridge or freezer (who doesn’t?), we decided it was an opportune time to come up with the next use for leftover smoked beef brisket…. and who doesn’t like a good plate of nachos?
I think we outdid ourselves this time.
We decided to make a thick, rich, concentrated chili out of the brisket, and use the chili to make spicy, cheesy, and indulgent nachos.
To be clear, we didn’t make this brisket chili. We wanted something much more rich and concentrated. Something perfect to pour over thick corn chips then top with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, more spicy jalapeños, guacamole and sour cream. Incidentally, this is the kind of chili that would be awesome to pour over a hot dog (if you’re into that sort of thing!).
The chili came out exactly how we wanted. Thick, rich, spicy, and full of intense flavor.
Again, this was a pantry purge. We simply took what we had on hand and made a chili out of it. You don’t need to recreate it exactly (though I do recommend you try, then report back to me with your findings). You could easily just add chopped brisket to your favorite chili recipe then use your chili to make these indulgent nachos.
This just happened to be the way we did it. And I’m so glad we did. And I can’t wait to do it again.
Recipe for Smoked Brisket Nachos with Brisket Chili
Smoked Beef Brisket Nachos with Brisket Chili
To make the improv chili:
- 1 small red onion diced
- 3 cups leftover smoked beef brisket roughly chopped into small cubes
- 1 medium jalapeño ribs and seeds removed, finely minced
- 1 cup beer we used a mild IPA
- ¼ cup coffee whatever may be leftover in your pot from your morning brew
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 small chipotle peppers in adobo from a can finely diced (you can use just 1 if you’re sensitive to heat. These can be very spicy)
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon canned diced green chili
- 1 tablespoon chili seasoning
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Nachos, including optional nacho toppings:
- Thick corn chips they need to be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the toppings
- 1 medium tomato juices removed, diced
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion more or less depending on how much onion you like
- 1 thinly sliced jalapeño
- Shredded smoked cheddar cheese or mixed cheddar blend (more or less depending on how cheesy you like your nachos)
For the chili:
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, pour approximately 1-tablespoon olive oil and add your onions. Cook about 3-4 minutes, and then add the chopped leftover brisket and the jalapeño. Cook 1-2 minutes until warmed up.
- Add the beer and let it come to a simmer (about 1-2 minutes to let the alcohol reduce).
- Then add the coffee, tomato sauce, tomato paste, pinto beans, green chilies, and all the spices, and mix well.
- Bring to a simmer for a few minutes and then reduce to low heat, for about 20-30 minutes, until the chili thickens, the flavors are well combined and you’re happy with the flavor. Adjust seasonings to your preference. This is all about finding a richness and flavor you like!
To Make The Nachos:
- Take your plate and create one layer with corn tortilla chips. Remember, make sure they are thick chips so they hold the weight of the chili.
- Layer the chips with the chili and a layer of shredded cheese.
- Create another layer.
- If you are using an oven-safe platter you can place in the oven under broil. Broil until the cheese is melted (this won't take long, just a couple minutes).
- Alternatively you can microwave the plate in 30 second increments until the cheese is melted well. The risk with microwave is the chips can get soggy easily!
- When the cheese is nice and melted, remove from oven or microwave and top with your favorite toppings (sliced jalapeño, tomatoes, diced onion, cilantro) and have your favorite dips to serve along side: salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. The guac and sour cream also help tame the heat from the chili.
Wine Pairing for Brisket Nachos
You’d think on a cold snow day, cooped up inside, with the fire roaring, I’d be drinking a hearty red wine.
I drank rosé. A cold, crisp, rosé.
I could tell when we were making the chili that it would be spicy, and spicy it was. Serving it with a dry red wine would have accentuated the heat and it would have made for a very unpleasant experience.
I wanted something refreshing, and cooling. Something that would cleanse and refresh my palate, yet have enough flavor and umph to stand up to the flavors of the spicy chili with smoky brisket and salty corn chips.
Rosé is refreshing with bright red berry aromas and flavors. I recommend one with just a touch (smallllll touch) of sweetness, helping to offset the heat from the chili. The bold flavors and cooling effect were exactly what I was looking for. I tend to go with Rosado from Spain, ideally made from Garnacha grapes. You want one with big fruit flavors to stand up to this dish (stay away from the lighter Provençal style rosé for this).
Or you could just be like hubby and opt for a cold PBR.
For the perfect Brisket recipe, click here
More recipes with leftover brisket
- Smoked Brisket Bruschetta
- Smoked Brisket Pizza
- Smoked Brisket Enchiladas
- Smoked Brisket Chili
- Smoked Brisket Tacos
- Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Smoked Brisket Empanadas
If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.
Want more barbecue recipes and tips? Check out the recipe index on the blog for recipes and wine pairing ideas.