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An off-day discussion on building the perfect nachos

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Because the Tigers aren’t giving us anything else to talk about.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Yup, that looks about right.
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The MLB trade deadline is just hours away — 30 hours or so, but hours nonetheless — and rumors are flying left and right. From Chris Archer to Jacob deGrom to Adam Jones, a number of stars could end up changing teams by Tuesday afternoon. If some of these trade talks pan out, we could be in for one of the more exciting deadlines in recent memory.

Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers aren’t up to anything at the moment. Even if they do end up trading players, the returns for Mike Fiers, Francisco Liriano, and Leonys Martin won’t exactly set off fireworks. All is quiet at the moment, however, leaving us with nothing to talking about.

Baseball-wise, at least.

Cameron: Step 1: Get drunk at 2 a.m. on a weekend. Step 2: Put tortilla chips on a plate. Step 3: Cover tortilla chips with an overabundance of shredded cheese. Step 4: Put in microwave for 35-40 seconds. Step 5: Enjoy!

Les: Regardless of topping philosophy, the unifying guiding principle is to have cheese coverage on every chip.

Kenon: I believe in simplicity and speed. Layer of Tostitos, 100 percent coverage with Kirkland brand shredded sharp cheddar. Microwave 30 seconds. Add a second layer, third, and fourth layer (if necessary). Cam, we’re ON IT!

Les: If making nachos in bulk, get a cookie sheet for a large single layer of chips and healthy cheese coverage. broil, then divide and stack after heating.

Jay: The key with nachos is to never overthink it. They don’t need beans and sour cream and olives [Ed.: What kind of heathen puts olives on nachos?!]. They need to be hot, crunchy, and covered in melted cheese (and the cheese grease). A microwave will do you just fine.

Zane: Like Jay, I don’t care for beans, olives, or any of that. Honestly, I come for the cheese, and I’m always down for a good nacho cheese dip. On a semi-unrelated note: let’s bring back the pretzel pizza, Little Caesar’s. That monstrosity, with its nacho cheese sauce base, was my favorite trash meal and it makes me think of good Tigers teams. Let’s bring it back and reignite the controversy it caused among my friends and family (my Dad and I love it, my mom and sisters hate it, my friend Dean loves it, my other friends Ricky and Erik hate it).

Chris: Simple answer: go to the Center Street Grill in Northville, Michigan. Order the nachos with pulled pork as your choice of meat. Wait 10-15 minutes. Enjoy.

Jay, bringer of wrong food takes: PULLED PORK IS OVERRATED

Chris: Otherwise, y’all have basically handled the best methods of nacho creation.

Chris, realizing that fightin’ words have been issued: I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you say that.

Jay: I’ll say it again: Pulled. Pork. Is. Overrated. Give me burgers over that stuff any day

Rob: I’ll say it: Jay is wrong again

Jay: Now, pork loin in a white wine sauce is :100 emoji:. But yeah, people like pulled pork way too much. Sue me.

Chris: We’ve gone from ballpark food to fine cuisine in way too short of a time span.

Zane, also confused about food: Jay, I really am glad that you’re out here repping the anti-barbeque bandwagon because I don’t get why it’s so popular.

Jay: Zane knows what’s up.

Rob: I would like to repeat that this is going on the site. Probably all of it. Especially your bad food takes.

Jay: Let the people know. Spread the word. Shout it from the rooftops. The message needs to be heard. It will ring loudly in the ears of all who hear. Down with the establishment! Down with BBQ!

Zane: Good. The world can know that Jay and I do not care for barbeque.

Rob: They can also know that you’re wrong.

Jay: In honesty though, you could put on the site that I hate steak or pizza or whatever you wanted and I really wouldn’t care.

Rob: Good luck getting through college while hating pizza.

Jay: I don’t hate steak and pizza. The point was that I don’t care what you say about my food opinions.

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Peter, fighting the good fight: Pulled pork nachos are the best.

Jay: Nooooo, not you too, Peter.

Peter: I’ll fight everyone who says nay.

Kenon: Pulled pork is delicious...on a bun. The fastest way to ruin nachos is to overwhelm the chip itself. The chip is the foundation. Don’t saturate it with too much crap.

Jay: Thank you, Kenon. Like I said, keep it simple.

Peter: Okay that’s it. Jay, Kenon, Fleetwoods after work tonight. Gonna show you good pulled pork nachos.

Jay: Besides, the pulled pork juices could ruin the texture of the chip.

Peter: Not if you do it right.

Kenon: If I get deep into a plate of nachos and the chips don’t hold up, I’m not happy.

Cameron: Pulled pork on anything is good. Hot dogs? Yep. Mac and cheese? Yep.

Rob: Cereal? Probably.

Chris: I’ve had pulled pork on both mac and cheese and a hot dog, so can confirm what Cam has presented.

Cameron: Doughnuts? Hell yeah.

Chris: Now we’re getting into uncharted territory. Though if maple bacon is a combination that works together, why not another kind of product from a pig?

Peter: Reminder that this is a nacho roundtable.

Jay: Pulled pork and bacon don’t even compare.

Rob: They are the same animal.

Jay: Bacon >>>>>>>>>> most foods > pulled pork.

Rob: How do you love bacon and hate pulled pork?

Peter: Texture, I bet.

Cameron: Jay, don’t take this the wrong way, but if you don’t like pulled pork, your source of pulled pork must be bad.

Jay: I never said I hate pulled pork. I said it is overrated and below average.

Les: Cured meats are literally a different animal.

Cameron: Because good pulled pork is at the top of the taste chain.

Jay: Nope. Especially when it is in a sloppy sauce.

Peter: By the way, the Mud Hens serve a Triple Pork Nachos. Bed of pork rinds, topped with pulled pork, bacon , and cheese. Jay, where the hell are you eating you pulled pork from? Walmart?

Les: I agree on keeping it simple regarding toppings. but if you’re going to put on a light topping layer, then apply your cheese over the toppings before heating.

Cody: What the hell happened in here?

Peter: Someone had an awful food opinion.

Jay: /waves

Peter: That’s the one who wronged us. Get him. Also we’re supposed to be roundtabling how to make the perfect nachos.

Jay: The readers will be so distraught that we went off topic.

Rob: The readers have long given up.

Cody: My secret ingredient for homemade nachos is a light dusting of cayenne powder, and sour cream.

Jay: You lost me. Sour cream on the side, I hope? Not on top?

Cody: 3. Good pulled pork is amazing. 4. Average pulled pork is delicious. 5. Bad pulled pork is pretty good. 6. Carolina mustard sauce.

Peter: So to create the perfect nacho, IMO, you can’t use the microwave. You must melt the cheese in an oven.

Cody: I mean, I put my sour cream right on top because why handle it twice? But if I was making for others it would go on the side, sure.

Peter: Otherwise the melting levels will be horribly uneven.

Les: Bad pulled pork usually means dry and flavorless, but then you apply more sauce.

Jay: You gotta use the turntable, Peter. That sauce is what kills it, Les.

Les: We’re talking bad pulled pork there. It has an easy remedy.

Peter: I do but it ends up burning the cheese to a crisp on the edges while the center is barely congealed.

Cody: Yeah, I think you’ve been served some bad pulled pork that was oversauced. Pulled pork shouldn’t be drowned.

Peter: Now, you can make functional nachos in the microwave but to make them perfect, gotta go old-fashioned.

Cameron: The best pulled pork doesn’t need sauce to be delicious.

Peter: Oh and use Doritos as your chip.

Les: I’ll go further and say the best pulled pork shouldn’t be sauced.

Peter: The best meats should be able to stand on their own. Best steak doesn’t need sauce.

Les: Hard disagree on the Doritos. Not even sure if serious.

Cody: Also, I made pulled pork nachos one time but instead of pulled pork it was shredded venison neck roast.

Peter: I’m very serious. Have you tried it?

Les: I’ll admit to not.

Peter: You’ll never go back. Until you run out and are too lazy to go to the store.

Cody: Doritos nachos do taste good, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m eating five years off my life.

Rob: The best nachos take five years off your life anyway.

Les: That’s a very bold flavor that i wouldn’t think transforms well. You’re not eating nachos, you’re eating Doritos with the texture of melted cheese on it.

Peter: You’re already eating melted cheese on fried corn, there’s no room to be concerned about heath at this point.

Cody: That’s fair.

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Les: Okay, totchos: not a thing or absolutely a thing?

Cody: Wut.

Peter: Tater tots with melted cheese?

Les: Maybe this is just a Minnesota thing.

Rob: Absolutely a thing.

Jay: Tater tot nachos are good.

Peter: Ehh.

Cody: That’s called “loaded tots” f**k outta here with these labradoodle words.

Peter: The problem is the tots can fall apart too easy.

Rob: “Problem.”

Jay: You eat it with a fork

Les: So, tater tots with melted cheese are good.

Peter: Nachos are finger food.

Chris: If the tots are fried rather than baked they are much more substantial. If that’s the case, perfectly viable.

Les: I just don’t think totchos are a thing. They have no resemblance to nachos.

Cody: That’s why they’re called loaded tots. And yes, they’re delicious.

Peter: If you need a fork they’re not nachos anymore

Chris: So if we’re talking about resemblance to nachos, where do butterfly chips fall?

Peter: What?

Chris: The loaded potato-chip looking stuff you see at basically every county fair?

Cody: Sorry I don’t eat butterflies.

Les: What are butterfly chips?

Peter: Never seen one, but I don’t go to fairs much.

Cody: Potato skins?

Chris: They’re similar to potato skins. They are basically spiral-cut potato chips topped with cheese, sour cream, bacon, or whatever else you’d want to throw on it. It’s straight up county fair food that I’ve never touched for risk of going into cardiac arrest on the spot.

Cody: Oh, I’ve seen those. Never knew what they were called I guess.

Les: Sounds like it belongs in my mouth.

Peter: Does the chip need to be potato, corn, or flour based to be a nacho? Or does it matter?

Chris: You’d think that any kind of tortilla chip would be used for nachos, which would seemingly make both flour and corn acceptable.

Cody: Maybe they should be called potatchos.

Peter: Potato chips for me tend to be a poor vehicle for toppings. They barely survive dips.

Cody: Gotta get those ridges.

Peter: A proper nacho chip must be able to carry some weight.

Cody: Ridges + french onion dip.

Peter: That said, I feel like Fritos would be too thick and small.

Jay: Fritos are better for a walking taco.

Peter: Yes.

Chris: I was thinking more like corn tortilla chips rather than a Fritos-type corn chip. Though they’re perfect for walking tacos.

Peter: Oh I know what you meant. Was just thinking other end of scale on chip load-bearing capacity.

Jay: I wonder how much of this rob is planning to put on the site [Ed.: lol]

Chris: In a development that is likely completely unrelated to this whole conversation, I have a sudden craving for nachos.

Peter: One thing I cannot get behind are pita chip nachos. Pita chips are evil.

Jay: Pita chips are meh. Pita needs to stay in its lane.

Peter: Yes.

Chris: So that takes Comerica Park’s shawarma nachos out of this conversation.

Peter: Yes. Also the Mud Hens pork rind nachos. Almost lost a tooth trying to bite through the damn things.

Ashley: Wow. I missed a lot here.

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John: Sorry for the length. Here’s my 20 step recipe for John’s Mostly Adequate Nachos.

1. Decide you want nachos.
2. Walk to kitchen and stand in front of the open refrigerator long enough to make your significant other angry about the energy you are wasting to verify that you have virtually none of the necessary ingredients.
3. Go to cupboard and repeat step 2 (minus the energy part, unless you have some kind of weird cupboard system I’m unfamiliar with).
4. Put on pants.
5. Find keys.
6. Go to grocery store to wander the aisles and perhaps dance with some stranger next to the mac and cheese because “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston is on the store radio which causes just about everyone in the building to stop and shake their ass at least a little bit. Look for the following items to purchase:

  • Chips (This is a key ingredient. It’s important to get the right kind of chip. I can’t tell you what kind that is. It’s more of a personal journey. You’ll know when you find them).
  • Black beans
  • Cheese (I prefer something smoked and non traditional because I’m fancy)
  • Sliced jalepenos
  • Sour cream
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Meat (unless you’re me, wherein you will consider purchasing a meat product of some sort and then remind yourself that your significant other is vegetarian and that it isn’t worth the hassle of preparing things separately).
  • Pizza Rolls (You’ll need these later when you’re disappointed with the nachos)
  • Beer (I mean, you’re here already so why not?)

7. Pay an amount of money that seems astonishingly high for the limited amount of items you are purchasing.
8. Go home.
9. Remove pants.
10. Turn oven up to 420 (settle down potheads, it’s just the oven).
11. Find a vessel in which you can prepare the nachos.
12. Wash said vessel.
13. Chop onion and tomato and make sure the cheese is as shredded as Brad Pitt in Fight Club.
14. Place a layer of chips on the bottom of the whatever you’re making this stuff in.
15. Sprinkle cheese, onion, tomato, jalepanos and black beans over this base layer. Add some spices if your feeling like it might make things more fun.
16. Repeat step 15 until you run out of space or ingredients (You’re basically making nacho lasagna here).
17. Toss the whole mess in the oven for twenty minutes or until you smell it burning.
18. Remove from oven and dump the sour cream over the top.
19. Eat until the necessary level of disappointment in what you have prepared sets in.
20. Fire up those Pizza Rolls

John, still: I should add that this is actually pretty much what making nachos is like for me every time.

Rob: Pants optional.

Ashley: Jesus, John, I love you.

John: Just speaking my truth.

Ashley: I can’t follow that. I mean, my method is layer nachos on a baking sheet, pre-heat oven, chop onions and peppers and pre-fry the ground beef with taco seasoning and onion. Then layer the beef over the chips, sprinkle on the peppers and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. Then, layer on a mix of cheeses, bake another five minutes to warm, then broil for another five until the cheese is a bit browned and extra delicious. Then, top with fresh jalapeno slices, cilantro, and a heaping dose of sour cream, homemade salsa, and homemade guacamole. Eat only the nachos that are incredibly saturated with toppings then leave the remaining sad chips on the tray and pretend like you didn’t fail them.

But John’s is so good.

Brandon: Here, I’ll wade in at the end with an opinion you’ll all hate. Stop putting everything on the g**d*** chips. Build your ingredients into the the equivalent of a dip. Shredded cheese, meat (yes pulled pork is great, I mean, WTF Jay?), olives, diced tomatoes, greens, what have you. Add salsa, more cheese and sour cream on top. Then dip your dry, fresh chips, unperverted by moisture, into said concoction.

Ashley: That’s not nachos. That’s 7 layer dip, heathen.

Peter: Step 1: grab plate. Step 2: grab chips. Step 3: grab cheese. Step 4: cut the cheese. Step 5: grab knife and slice cheese. Step 6: try a piece. Step 7: try another. Step 8: leave chips, plate, and knife in kitchen and walk to living room with cheese. Step 9: abandon self respect as you knaw on cheese like a giant drumstick.

Ashley: Respect.

Brandon: My chips are dry. Your insults can’t sog them.

Kenon: I agree with Brandon’s premise. In a world where things like guacamole exist, I need not bury my chips under a pile of stuff.

John: That’s a fine opinion as long as it comes with the acknowledgement that you’re not eating nachos. You’re eating chips and dip.

Rob: The best nachos should end with a pile of toppings on the plate when you’re done

Brandon: I refuse to acknowledge this.

Rob: Chips are basically optional.

Brandon: Yeah. I guess the only issue with that opinion, is that basically all Mexican food is the same 10 ingredients with different methods of delivery to the face.

Cameron: And your problem with that is...?

Brandon: None? But the point of that is, that the method of delivery is the defining characteristic of any Mexican dish. And by method of delivery, I mean the tortilla and/or chips. Still, I had nachos served with chips on the side in Mexico, so I’m calling it nachos whether the chips are buried or not (note: I was less than a mile over the border, and that was my only time in Mexico).

Cody: Are nachos still Mexican food if they have pulled pork and barbecue sauce?

Brandon: I’m not even sure they were a Mexican dish originally.

Cody: Are crunchy corn chips even considered authentic Mexican food? I’ve heard that anything with ground beef isn’t authentic, so...

Jeff: What the heck happened here? Oh, nachos. How I make them...

1. Go to National Coney Island.
2. Sit down (table, not booth).
3. Order nachos.

Patrick: I love pulled pork. I don’t do nachos.

Jeff: Pulled pork is delicious, but it makes me sick to my stomach.

Patrick: Pulled pork recipe:

  • Place a 3 to 4 lb pork shoulder in a crock pot.
  • Cover with 2 litre bottle of root beer (not diet).
  • Cook on slow for 6 hours.
  • Remove from pot, the meat will fall off the bone.
  • Separate the pork with forks.
  • Discard the liquid.
  • Add 1 bottle of BBQ sauce, cook on low for 1 more hour.
  • Serve on King’s hawaiian rolls with cole slaw.

Beats the hell out of any nachos.