Inside: Learn how to use your new Traeger wood pellet smoker to make the best nachos you will ever try!
In our family, we love Mexican and Tex-Mex food. Nachos definitely fall into the category of Tex-Mex, since they really aren’t consumed much, if at all, in Mexico. However, I am not picky, so I love making nachos.
The version that I am going to show today is even more Tex-Mex because it incorporates a method of cooking that Texas is famous for – smoking. To add to the Texas theme, we are also adding smoked pulled pork to the nachos, but you can really use any meat. That is right, today, you are going to learn how to make the most delicious nachos ever using your wood pellet smoker.
Which Smoker Should You Get?
If you are already here, it is likely that you already have a smoker. If you don’t, however, I definitely recommend that you check out Traeger’s line of smokers. They have many different types to choose from and it is a reliable brand with great customer service.
You can browse all of Traeger’s wood pellet grills here, but I am including my recommendations below.
- Texas Elite Pellet Grill 34. This is the one that we have, and it is amazing. It has a large pellet hopper and tons of surface space for grilling. The controller is digital, so it is very easy to use. I updated our controller to the Digital Pro Controller, which includes built-in thermometer probes, and which you can buy here. I have also equipped it with the insulation blanket, folding front shelf, and full-length grill cover, all of which have made this great product even better.
- Timberline 850 Pellet Grill. I have a feeling that this will be our next pellet grill from Traeger. It has the Traeger WiFire feature, which means that you can control it from your phone. It also has a built-in meat thermometer, so there is no need to buy a separate controller for it. It isn’t quite as wide as the Texas Elite above, but it has plenty of room with removable racks. If you need more space, you can always upgrade and buy the Timberline 1300 Pellet Grill instead.
- Junior Elite Pellet Grill. If you are looking for something a little bit less expensive, you should consider the Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill. It doesn’t have quite as much space as the Texas Elite, but it is about half the cost! This would be a great option for an introductory model and will allow you to make many great recipes.
How Does A Wood Pellet Smoker Work?
You may be wondering now how a wood pellet smoker works. To keep it simple, let me just say that the pellet grills all have a hopper where you will add your preferred variety of wood pellets. After you have filled the hopper, you choose your desired setting (from “smoke” up to 450 in most cases), and let the grill do the rest. These Traeger models are designed to automatically feed the wood pellets into a heating pot where they burn, thus heating the grill and infusing your food with an amazing smoked flavor. There are many different varieties of pellets available, so make sure you try a few.
Here are some of my favorite varieties.
- Traeger Signature Blend. This has a combination of hickory, maple, and cherry woods. It is delicious and can be used for a variety of meats and veggies.
- Mesquite. This is one of my favorite varieties and is what we used when we made our smoked pulled pork recently. It is good for poultry, fish, beef, or pork.
- Apple. We recommend the apple variety for pork, chicken, or veggies. This is really a great option that everyone will enjoy.
Check out all of Traeger’s wood pellets here.
So, How Do You Actually Make Nachos on a Smoker?
If you are like me, you may think that nachos are usually made in an oven or even in a microwave. Well, now I want to give you another option. Trust me when I say that these nachos that are made on a smoker will be unlike any that you have tried before. The smoky flavor that is added by heating this up on the wood pellet grill is to die for and you can be certain that there won’t be any leftovers!
The concept here is simple – you will want to start with a layer of chips, followed by a layer of cheese, queso sauce, and meat. At that point, you can either put it on the smoker and let the cheese melt, or you can add a few other ingredients like beans and corn before cooking it. We used smoked pulled pork for this recipe, but you can also use chicken, ground beef, or another smoked meat if you desire (like this brisket).
Our preferred method is to heat the wood pellet grill to about 350 – 400 degrees, and then cook the nachos for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.
To make the nachos, you will need to add the chips to a metal baking sheet or a cast iron dish. I don’t have one of these yet, but Traeger has a few options that would be great for making these nachos, including this cast iron skillet or this cast iron reversible griddle.
After the cheese is completely melted, you will remove the nachos from the smoker and bring them back in the house. At that point, we like to add a drizzle of sour cream, pico de gallo, and cilantro. We then let everyone serve themselves where they can add additional sour cream and homemade salsa.
This recipe is our new go-to when we have family or friends over. We have made it about 5 times now, and not even one chip has been left on the pan – that is how popular it is!
Let me know in the comments below how it turns out and any changes that you would make!
Preheat smoker to 350-400 degrees. Spray the baking sheet or cast iron skillet with a cooking spray, and add a layer of tortilla chips.
Add 3/4 of the shredded cheese, and spread evenly over the chips.
Add a few spoonfuls of the queso sauce evenly over the chips.
Spread the meat evenly over the chips, cheese, and queso sauce. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
You can add the beans and corn at this point, or add them after the nachos have cooked. If you do that, then you should heat the corn and beans separately.
Add the nachos to the smoker and cook, with the lid down, for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.
Remove from the smoker and add a drizzle of sour cream and add the pico de gallo and cilantro.
Serve on individual plates with additional sour cream, pico de gallo, and salsa roja.