Smoked Nachos Elevate a Crowd Favorite

By America’s Test Kitchen | July 12th, 2023

This cheesy, smoky plate of nachos will brighten up any cookout

Smoked Nachos: The key to creating delicious nachos is layering. CREDIT: TNS

Temps are rising, summer has arrived, and grilling season has begun. That said, taking your chiles and corn outside and cooking them over a foil packet of wood chips gives them a smoky flavor an oven broiler could never deliver! Using those smoky chiles and corn in your Smoked Nachos elevate this crowd favorite appetizer – or entrée. Finish the layered nachos on the grill for the ultimate app.

Char savory poblano and fruity Fresno chiles until they’re skins blister and ears of corn until their kernels turn chewy and sweet. Then add black beans and two kinds of cheese for irresistible gooeyness. When the nachos finally come off the fire, a squeeze of lime and a scattering of scallions brighten this shareable snack.

Smoked Nachos

Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 cups wood chips
  • 2 ears corn, husks and silk removed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 4 Fresno or jalapeño chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 12 ounces tortilla chips
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • Lime wedges


  1. Using a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap wood chips in an 8-by-4 1/2-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet. If using gas, make sure there are no more than two layers of foil on the bottom of the packet.) Cut two evenly spaced 2-inch slits on top of the packet.
  2. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of the grill, then pour remaining coals over the other half of the grill. Place the wood chip packet along one side of the grill near the border between hotter and cooler coals. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and open the lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
  3. FOR A GAS GRILL: Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packet directly on the primary burner. Set the cooking grate in place, turn the primary burner to medium, and turn the other burner(s) to high. Cover and heat the grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, 15 to 25 minutes. Leave the primary burner on medium and other burner(s) on high.
  4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush corn with oil. Grill corn, poblanos, and Fresnos on the hotter side of the grill (covered if using gas) until corn is charred on all sides and poblanos and Fresnos are well blistered, 5 to 10 minutes. As poblanos and Fresnos finish cooking, transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and let sit until skins soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer corn to a cutting board. Turn all burners to medium (if using gas).
  5. Cut kernels from corn. Using paper towels, peel away skin from poblanos and Fresnos. Slice poblanos into 1/4-inch-thick strips and thinly slice Fresnos. Combine corn, poblanos, Fresnos, black beans, Monterey jack, and cheddar in a bowl.
  6. The key to creating delicious nachos is layering. Spread one-quarter of tortilla chips evenly in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the vegetable-cheese mixture. Repeat layering of chips and vegetable-cheese mixture 3 more times. Place the skillet on the cooler side of the grill (if using charcoal), cover, and cook until the cheese is melted, 15 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the Smoked Nachos with scallions and serve with lime wedges.

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers: A flavorful twist on the healthy, classic veggie burger

Elote and Esquites: Fresh corn, less mess

For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands – which includes Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and America’s Test Kitchen Kids – offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at

©2023 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

More from Boomer

Spicy Moo Shu Beef with Vegetables

By JeanMarie Brownson | April 12, 2024

Spring Vegetable and Orzo Soup

By Diane Rossen Worthington | April 3, 2024

Halloumi Fries for a Warm Cheese Delight

By JeanMarie Brownson | March 27, 2024