As much as I love summer, I always look forward to Labor Day weekend the most. Not only does most of America get an extra day off, it’s also the official start of football, meaning the BBQ’s and get togethers will still be in full effect. As much as I like main dishes and proteins at BBQ’s and parties, I really like to graze on a bunch of different delicious dishes. One of my favorite things to do is make up a loaded nachos recipe, so this Carnitas Al Pastor Nachos Recipe with Pico de Gallo was at the top of the list for this weekend. If you’ve been following me for some time than you’ve noticed how I like to make fun combinations with nachos. I’ve made Cuban Pork Sandwich Nachos and Loaded Barbacoa Sweet Potato Nachos, so these Al Pastor Nachos fit in perfectly.
Al Pastor tacos are some of my favorite tacos around. They use incredibly simple ingredients, pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro. The pork, traditionally, is several cuts of seasoned flattened pork that is fused together on a spit and slow roasted. From there, you carve it off much like you would a gyro sandwich and then serve it up in a tortilla with grilled pineapple, grilled red onions and some fresh cilantro leaves. I thought slow cooking some carnitas style pork would be even better and easier for the everyday home cook trying to make a great dish for a party.
In addition to those few ingredients that go inside an al pastor taco, I wanted to load the tortilla chips up with other classic taco ingredients like rice, beans, cheese and a very simple homemade pico de gallo. Since rehabbing our kitchen and loading it up with beautiful Franke kitchen products, washing fruits and vegetables has become a lot easier. The Franke roller mat is a versatile Stainless steel rack that is held together by Food-grade silicone on the outside, which makes it flexible to roll up and store, roll out to wash produce, dry dishes or use as a hot pad between pans and counter surfaces. I’ve even seen people roll sushi and hang pasta on a roller mat – it’s that functional. Since we are having quite a few people over for this Labor Day weekend, we always make sure our kitchen is cleaned up and ready for showing. And because it’s mostly white, the polished chrome Franke Farm House faucet pops so well.
Once the tomatoes and peppers are washed, you then seed them and dice them up small along with an onion and fresh cilantro. Toss that around with some lime juice, salt and pepper and you’ve got one tasty simple to make pico de gallo recipe. Be sure to chill it before serving. If you don’t want to fire up the grill to cook the pineapple and onion, you can certainly brush them with a little oil and roast them up in the oven on a high temperature until they are caramelized. I prefer the grill because it gets a quick char without over cooking the pineapple making it mushy.
The only part I really don’t like about having a big get together is the clean-up. But, thanks to our oversized Franke farmhouse sink, we can fit plenty of dishes, pots and pans in there without losing any precious counter space for serving food. In addition, the Franke garbage disposer makes cleaning and scrubbing pans a breeze, since I can just put most of the leftover food right into the sink and the disposer does the rest. I tell this to everyone, but the Franke Garbage Disposer could power a boat – it’s that strong. And needless to say, I’m obsessed with it!
Once the carnitas are done cooking, you want to use two forks to pull apart the pork so that it becomes shredded. You can let the pork sit in the slow cooker so that it remains juicy, or you can take it out and toast it up a bit in the oven to make it a little crispier. Either way is great and totally up to you.
Now before you add on all the goodies, you need to add the cheese to the tortilla chips and toast them up in the oven to melt. From there, you load this thing up as much and as high as you can before serving.
Carnitas Al Pastor Nachos Recipe with Pico de Gallo
For the Pork:
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons of chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons of dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 ½ pound pork shoulder
- 1 peeled and medium diced yellow onion
- 1 orange cut into wedges
- 15 garlic cloves
For the Pico de Gallo:
- 4 seeded and small diced vine ripe tomatoes
- 1 seeded and small diced jalapeño
- ½ peeled and small diced yellow onion
- juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste:
For the Nachos:
- 2 large bags of corn tortilla chips
- 2 cups of cooked white rice
- 1 15- ounce can of pinto beans warmed
- 2 cups of roasted medium-diced pineapple
- 1 roasted peeled and small diced red onion
- sour cream shredded Chihuahua cheese, queso fresco, cilantro and green onions for garnish
- Pork: In a small bowl mix together the salt, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and pepper flakes until combined and then season the pork on all sides with it.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add in the pork, onions, oranges and garlic and cook the pork on all sides until it is golden brown.
- Once browned, transfer everything in the pan to a slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours or until is shreds apart with ease. Keep warm.
- Pico: Mix together all ingredients in a medium size bowl until combined. Chill before serving.
- To Plate: Place down the chips and garnish with cheese. Heat under the broiler on high heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Next, top off with pork, pico de gallo, rice, beans, pineapple, onions and garnishes. Serve!