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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

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

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