The World's Best (and Most Complicated) Nacho Recipe

A mouthwatering riff from Little Goat in Chicago that's entirely made in house.

Nachos are endlessly customizable, insanely delicious, and in most cases, dead simple to make. Build a few layers with all of your ingredients, bake, top with condiments, and you're good to go.

This riff from Little Goat, a highly acclaimed modern diner in Chicago, makes some of the best nachos you'll ever taste -- Thrillist even listed it in their list of the best in the country. They're called the Machos Nachos, and they're out-of-this-world great; each bite explodes with flavor thanks to the care put into every component. But we're gonna go out on a limb and say it's also the most complicated nacho recipe ever.

That's because they don't mess around with pre-made anything. Each component that goes into the nachos is made in house, from the labor-intensive baked beans to the special blend of barbecue sauce.

If you want to flex your culinary muscles and tackle the project yourself, the payoff is huge. And though we scaled it down some, the recipes each make a sizable batch of the components, so you'll have lots of leftovers for future trays. If you're not as ambitious, just follow Little Goat's lead but take shortcuts by using store bought versions of their components.

Either way, the end result is a whole lot of crispy, gooey deliciousness.


The Base Recipe

  1. Toss the barbecue sauce onto some pulled pork, then layer all of the components with your favorite chips and some shredded cheddar.

  2. Bake at 375° until the cheese is gooey and the chips are extra crispy, then top with loads of cilantro and some sour cream.

It's a simple enough formula, and can be used with store-bought ingredients with excellent results. If you really want to get fancy, though, you can go the restaurant route and make every component in-house.


The Components

Pressure Cooked Baked Beans

Ingredients

  • 300g dry great northern beans
  • 750g water
  • 1 full recipe of cooked beans
  • 2 cups Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 cups bacon, ¼” batons
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup pork stock
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • ½ Tbsp tamari
  • ½ Tbsp sambal

Preparation

  1. Combine beans and water in a pressure cooker, seal, and set for 15psi.
  2. Bring to pressure over high heat, reduce heat and maintain 15psi for 30min.
  3. Depressurize, cool, and drain excess liquid from beans.
  4. Render half the fat from bacon over medium heat.
  5. Add onion and sweat until tender.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and bring to low simmer.
  7. Place covered in oven at 300F.
  8. Stir every thirty minutes for 3 hours.
  9. Check seasoning and cool.


Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb butter
  • ¼ lb AP flour
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3.5 oz fontina
  • 5 oz gouda
  • 8.5 oz toma
  • 5 oz montemore

Preparation

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Whisk in flour to make a blond roux.
  3. Slowly add cream and milk, bring to boil, and simmer until raw flour flavor is gone. Make sure not to let the bottom brown or stick.
  4. Whisk in cheese slowly until melted and very smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Pickled Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. peppers, seeded and sliced into rings
  • ½ cup distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3 ½ Tbsp sugar

Preparation

  1. Bring the vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil to combine them.
  2. Pour the mixture into a jar with the peppers.
  3. Cool to room temp, and then refrigerate overnight.


Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1 dry Thai chili
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cup sliced red onion

Preparation

  1. Toast the spices in a small pot.
  2. Add vinegar, sugar and salt to the pot. Allow it to come to a boil, then whisk so that the sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Strain out spices, then pour the mixture into a jar with the onions.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.


Avocado Smash

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced into large cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Add avocado and lemon juice to a bowl and smash together.


Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

  • 32 oz ketchup
  • 3 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz dark brown sugar
  • 1 oz pickled mustard seeds
  • .75 oz yellow mustard
  • 1 oz Frank's red hot
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup water

Preparation

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

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