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BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos are made up of a giant pile of layered tortilla chips that are loaded with juicy shredded meat, filling black beans, all our favorite toppings, and of course lots of melty cheese!
I’m always trying to think of new ways to repurpose leftovers into easy meals. These nachos are made with leftover smoked pulled pork (or I have a slow cooker pulled pork recipe as well), although you could just as easily use leftover bbq chicken, ribs, shredded beef, or brisket.
My first “real” job was as a server at a local Mexican restaurant in high school. Hands down my favorite thing on the menu were the loaded “ultimate nachos”. This bbq version is a riff on that idea that I love to make for an easy family dinner, although it works just as well as a great appetizer recipe for a party.
There is just something immensely satisfying about a pile of crunchy, salty tortilla chips holding up shreds of juicy, meaty pulled pork, tender, savory beans, and melted cheese. Add all the other fresh fixings like pico de gallo, guacamole, and cilantro leaves, and you’ve got an actual, legitimate meal on your hands!
We always freeze the leftovers from a big smoke so we can have some on hand for easy meals like this. You can even use store-bought pulled pork if you don’t have leftovers.
How to make bbq pulled pork nachos
The real secret to amazing pulled pork nachos is layering the chips with all the other ingredients. It’s so disappointing to order nachos at a restaurant and find that all the good stuff is on top and it’s just a pile of plain chips underneath.
Also, be sure that you are ready to eat these as soon as they are done. You can’t wait long on these once they come out of the oven or (1) the cheese will get cold, and (2) the chips will get soggy. It’s always best to eat the nachos right away.
It’s all about the assembly
Start out by layering half of your chips on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. You can get nitpicky and arrange them “just so” so your chips don’t overlap much, but usually I’m just tossing them on and spreading them out in a single layer with my hands.
Sprinkle them with about half of the cheese. I always use freshly grated cheese on our nachos because it melts so much better than the pre-shredded packaged kind.
Then sprinkle half of the pulled pork over the nachos, making sure it’s fairly evenly dispersed. Be sure to heat the pulled pork before adding it to the nachos. They won’t bake for too long in the oven – really just enough to melt the cheese – and with the double layers it’s sometimes hard for the pulled pork to heat all the way through otherwise.
Next layer on the black beans and chopped red onions. Or green onions, or even white onions, depending on what’s on hand and personal preference.
You can make these as basic as you want using black beans straight from the can after being rinsed and drained. Honestly, it’s what I most often do for my family since this is typically a quick and easy dinner. But the beans are extra delicious when you boost their flavor by simmering them with some onion, garlic, and spices first like these Cafe Rio black beans.
Drizzle your favorite storebought or homemade bbq sauce over all of it so there is that classic bbq flavor in every bite! Use your favorite sweet red bbq sauce or branch out and try something new like my Alabama white bbq sauce that requires no cooking and can be thrown together in a jar in like 2 minutes flat. It’s actually super delicious with a combination of the two.
Repeat the process with a second layer of chips, cheese, meat, beans, onions, and bbq sauce. Pop the whole pan in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the nachos are hot all the way through.
Time to garnish!
As soon as they come out of the oven, be ready to serve them with pico de gallo, sour cream or Mexican crema, guacamole, freshly chopped cilantro, and lime wedges for squirting over the top. You can thin out the sour cream a bit with a little milk and drizzle it over the chips like the bbq sauce so there is some on every bite. Or just dollop it around, or pile it in the center of the nachos and serve them up family style.
A full-size skillet like this can easily serve 10-12 as an appetizer, or around 4-6 for dinner, depending on appetites. You may also want to make a half-batch in a large skillet instead of on a sheet pan.
What is the best nacho cheese?
I have strong feelings about the cheese that is used on nachos. I like REAL, freshly grated cheese that stretches and pulls apart every time you take a heavily laden chip. Stadium-style cheese sauce gives a totally different nacho experience. Unless it is made from scratch, I really can’t stand it.
The best cheese for nachos are a good sharp cheddar, pepper jack, monterey jack, or even mozzarella. I will often do a combination of cheddar and pepper jack, but all of those cheeses melt really well. And they give that great stretchy pull that is the hallmark of quality nachos in my book.
Nacho Topping Ideas
Think of this recipe as more of a guideline than a strict approach to follow. You can omit whatever you want and add other things in their place. BBQ chicken and leftover shredded ribs work just as well as bbq pulled pork. If I have leftover grilled corn, I like to cut the kernels off the cob and use those.
Here is a list of toppings that would be excellent to customize your own “ultimate nachos”!
- grilled corn, cut off the cob
- chopped bell peppers
- pickled red onions
- avocado (sliced or cut up into chunks)
- tomatoes (instead of pico de gallo)
- lime wedges
- black or pinto beans
- jalapenos – you can use fresh or canned, just remove the seeds if you don’t like things too spicy
- diced green chilies
- sour cream or Mexican crema
- guacamole – my favorite condiment of all time!
More dinner recipes like this
- Beef Chimichangas
- Chicken Quesadillas
- BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad
- Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza
- BBQ Black Bean Taquitos
- BBQ Chicken Tostadas
- 1 (13-ounce) bag of tortilla chips
- 4 cups shredded cheese (we like a mix of sharp cheddar and pepper jack or monterey jack)
- 3 cups leftover pulled pork, around 1 lb.
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges
- Sour cream
- Pico de gallo
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Warm the leftover pulled pork in the microwave for a minute so it is hot.
- Scatter half of the chips in an even layer, then top with half of the pork, half of the beans, half of the bbq sauce, and half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining chips, pulled pork, beans, bbq sauce, and cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes until all of the cheese is melted and hot.
- Top with onions, cilantro, another drizzle of bbq sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and lime wedges.
- This serves more like 4-6 for dinner or 10-12 as an appetizer.