Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pulled Pork Queso for Nachos

There's something special about living in a college town, like Knoxville, during football season.  By Thursday-ish each week, the town is abuzz about the weekend's football game.   Everyone seems to be in a good mood and people are out being active. 

Whether you are watching your kid's middle school game with friends and family...

Trevor's team, Bearden in maroon, playing CAK on our first game of the season.

...or watching the big game with 100,000 of your closest friends and neighbors, tailgating is a fun part of the experience.

Neyland Stadium - Tennessee vs Austin Peay 2013
This coming weekend we are excited to be tailgating at the University of Tennessee vs Southern Alabama game* as part of Tailgating With Pork and Kroger.   This week I am posting a few of the recipes that we'll be serving down near The Strip before the game.  Here's our planned menu (click to enlarge). 

The appetizer is going to be simple but powerfully good - Nachos with Pulled Pork Queso.   I'm sure you've seen those nachos from stadium concessions with that unnaturally orange cheese sauce from a can.   Not ours!  Our queso is loaded with onions, peppers, seasonings, and fresh smoked blade pork roast (aka pork butt).  We made this recipe on a whim when stumbling across something new (to us at least) in the pasta section at Kroger - Velveeta Queso Blanco.   This uses the same pulled pork that I'll detail in the upcoming post for mini-redneck tacos.   It gives the queso a great smoky flavor.

Pulled pork queso for nachos, BBQ queso, tailgate food, party food, best queso recipe
Tailgate Tip:  If you're going to be cooking on site, have a "made ahead" appetizer like this ready to eat.  Waiting for food at a tailgate is a mood killer.

Pulled Pork Queso for Nachos
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (makes 2 cups of queso)
  • 1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, very finely diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, very finely diced (see note about heat level)
  • 1/4 cup onion, very finely diced
  • 1/4 cup smoked pulled pork, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp all purpose seasoning (Season-all, season salt, etc)
  • 1 lb Velveeta Queso, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt to taste
  • Jalapenos, cilantro, and/or green onion for garnish
  1. Note about heat:  This is a mild queso.  For medium heat, substitute poblano, jalapeno or other medium strength chile for the green bell pepper and increase the red pepper flake.  For hot, include some habanero, ghost, or other chiles and a tablespoon or two of hot sauce.
  2. Preheat a medium pan over medium high heat.  Add the butter and saute the bell pepper, chiles (if any), and onion until tender, 5-8 minutes.  Season with a pinch or two of salt.
  3. Add the pork, chile powder, and all purpose seasoning, toss to coat and cook another minute.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, add the Queso cubes, and stir occasionally until melted.
  5. Stir in the red pepper flake and cream until well combined.  Then start adding chicken stock until you get your desired consistency.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.  We usually don't need much, maybe 1/4 tsp.  
  7. Garnish with slice jalapenos, cilantro, or green onion.

Pulled pork queso for nachos, BBQ queso, tailgate food, party food, best queso recipe
Pulled pork queso for nachos, BBQ queso, tailgate food, party food, best queso recipe

    In addition to sponsoring our tailgate, Kroger and the National Pork Board are teaming up to make your tailgates better and easier.  First, Kroger will be offering discounts each week on the most popular cuts of pork for tailgating, including roasts, chops, pork tenderloin, loins, and ribs.  They will also be featuring recipes to go along with their sales.  Check your local weekly specials at

    §  Week of September 15:  Pork Chops (boneless and bone in)
    ·          Recipe: Cuban Pork Adobo Chops
    §  Week of September 22: Pork Back Ribs
    ·         Recipe: Make-It-Mine Pork Kabobs
    §  Week of September 29: Pork Chops (boneless and bone in)
    ·         Recipe: Tangy Grilled Back Ribs
    §  Week of October 6: Shoulder or Blade Roast              
    ·         Recipe: Double Pork Party Sliders
    §  Week of October 13: Pork Tenderloin
    ·         Recipe: Perfect Pulled Pork
    §  Week of October 20: Pork Loin Center Roast
                                            ·          Recipe: Simply Sauce Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

    “Repin-to-Win” with Pork’s Pinterest Sweepstakes:
    The National Pork Board will be hosting a “Repin-to-Win” Pinterest Sweepstakes starting 9/16 thru 10/13 and feature a collection of tailgating-themed recipes, including your own, on Pork’s “Tailgating with Pork and Kroger” boards. All you have to do is repin one of the recipe images on Pork’s tailgating board with the hashtag #TailgatingWithPork for the chance to win 1 of 4 weekly prizes, in the form of $250 Kroger gift cards. 

    Open Invite
    If you are going to be around campus on 9/28/13 we would enjoy you stopping by our tailgate to sample our food and hang out.   Just let me know and we will text you our exact location once we are set up next Saturday.   Note:  If the weather is a complete washout, we will reschedule the tailgate for the Tennessee/Georgia game the following week.
    [Standard Disclaimer]  I am being compensated by the National Pork Board and Kroger for this tailgate series.