Game Day Carnitas Nachos

If you know me, you know I look forward to the Super Bowl for one reason and one reason only: the food. I still don’t really know how football works and I’ll never understand why games are so long, so seriously, if you find me at a Super Bowl party, know I’m only there for the wings, nachos and buffalo dip. I’ll watch five football games in a row just to be able to enjoy a good game day spread.

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Some of my favorites include chorizo and corn potato skins, spicy sausage dip, kale and artichoke dip, holy guacamole, and game day taco dip. We’re just staying home this weekend, but definitely plan on making a little feast for ourselves and the kids.

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This year, the all-star dish goes to these game day carnitas nachos. I’ve been making this carnitas recipe from The Weary Chef for years now and it has become a family favorite to make on Taco Tuesday. Because it’s so good and is one of my top tried and true recipes,- I’ve only adapted it slightly and had to use it on these nachos. The Weary Chef gets full credit for creating the tastiest, most flavorful pork ever!!

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While these carnitas provide these nachos with the most delicious salty kick, they are also accompanied by some of my other favorite toppings, including a mix of pepper jack and monterey jack cheese, candied jalapenos, homemade pico de gallo, crema and all the guac! Is your mouth watering yet? There are a lot of steps, but mostly everything can be prepared and made ahead of time, allowing you to enjoy the game. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients below! I’ll just leave it at that. Now, go add that pork shoulder to your crockpot and get the carnitas cooking!

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If you end up making this recipe, don’t forget to #marinamakeseats.

Game Day Carnitas Nachos

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

Ingredients

The Weary Chef Carnitas Recipe

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 15 ounces green taco sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (do not add to the crockpot)

How Sweet Eats Candied Jalapenos 

  • 4 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Homemade Pico de Gallo

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup of red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Lime Crema

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • Salt
  • Juice of half of a lime

Nachos

  • 10 oz bag of tortilla chips (get the sturdy kind if you can!)
  • 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • Store-bought or homemade guacamole

Directions

To make the carnitas, cut the roast into large cubes and place it in the crockpot. Add the taco sauce, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and water. Stir to combine everything. Cover crockpot and cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours, until meat shreds easily. When meat is done, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and shred it, removing the fat. Pour 1/2 cup of cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of milk over shredded pork. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until brown and crispy. Set aside.

While the carnitas are cooking, make the candied jalapenos, pico de gallo and lime crema. To make the candied jalapenos, add the vinegar, sugar and garlic powder to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then add in the peppers and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all of the slices are submerged. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, but don’t overcook because the mixture will get thick and sticky. Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place them in a jar or a bowl. Continue to cook the liquid for another 5 minutes until it has reduced by half, then pour it over the jalapenos. Allow the peppers to cool completely and set aside.

To make the pico de gallo, combine the cherry tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and let the salsa sit for 10-15 minutes to marinade.

To make the lime crema by whisking the sour cream, half and half, a pinch of salt and lime juice together in a medium bowl.

To assemble nachos, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lay tortilla chips flat in a couple of rimmed baking sheets. Top with carnitas and shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until the cheese is fully melted. Top with candied jalapenos, pico de gallo, lime crema and guacamole. Serve immediately.

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