Braised BBQ Short Rib Nachos

February 6, 2024 | | | | | |
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5 from 5 votes

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These truly epic nachos are loaded with tender braised barbecue short ribs, plenty of melted cheese, doctored refried beans, guacamole, and a cherry tomato pico de gallo that’s to die for. There’s a lot going on, but each simple component of these nachos can be prepped in advance to keep game day entertaining stress-free. And you can always substitute chicken thighs for short ribs if necessary!

A tray of loaded short rib nachos with toppings and beer
Photographed by: Ren Fuller Food Styling by: Marian Cooper Cairns

I gotta give credit where credit is due…these nachos were originally the brainchild of a “Daddy’s Kitchen” adventure. For those not in the know, Daddy’s Kitchen is a chaotic Instagram series where my husband Logan whips up “the danks.” His creations are sometimes delicious, often terrifying, and almost always involve his Big Green Egg. There is a lot of profanity and barbecue sauce involved.

Important disclaimer: I do not call Logan “Daddy.” He started referring to himself as Daddy circa 2011. He did not give an explanation.

A couple years ago, Logan smoked some awesome short ribs on his BGE for dinner. Because the dude struggles ever so slightly with portioning, we had approximately 4 pounds of leftover short ribs to work through that weekend. We made hash. And then grilled cheese. And eventually…NACHOS. Logan heaped leftover short ribs on our favorite Zack’s Mighty chips in a cast iron skillet, buried the meat in cheese, and then put the whole shebang back on the Egg. Once the cheese was melty, he topped things off with aggressive amount of guac, salsa, and pickled jalapeños, and the rest is heavenly history (marred only slightly by meat sweats).

I recreated Logan’s nachos using the oven instead of the BGE for 2022’s Make It Ahead Super Bowl cooking class, and they remain one of Cooking Club’s most crowd-pleasing recipes to date. (If you want to take that class and prep these nachos alongside past Serena, you can purchase it here.) I wanted to share the magic here, should you be in need of a show-stopping snack for the Super Bowl or…life in general?  

Please don’t be alarmed when you see the length of this recipe! There are a lot of components, yes, but each one is foolproof and can be fully prepped in advance. See below for make ahead instructions and a variety of substitution/serving options.

Overhead shot of nacho platter with braised bbq short ribs, guacamole, pico de gallo, and
Photographed by: Ren Fuller Food Styling by: Marian Cooper Cairns


  • Make the doctored refried beans up to 3 days in advance and cover the bowl tightly with plastic or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Remove from the beans from the fridge about 20 to 30 minutes before assembling the nachos, to allow them to come to room temperature.
  • Make the pico de gallo up to 3 days in advance. Cover the pico de gallo with plastic or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving and give it a stir.
  • Make the guacamole up to 24 hours in advance. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole, making sure that there are no air pockets, and refrigerate. (I like to transfer the guacamole to an airtight container, press the plastic wrap directly onto the surface, and then seal with a lid.) Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. If there’s a tiny bit of browning, don’t panic. Just stir it into the guacamole—the browning doesn’t affect the taste—and it should be easily disguised. 😉
  • Once you return the shredded short ribs to the sauce in step 6 of the recipe below, turn off the heat and let them cool to room temp. Then cover the meat and refrigerate. You can refrigerate the short ribs in the Dutch oven if you like, or transfer everything to a storage container.. When you’re ready to assemble your nachos, stir the remaining ½ cup of beef broth into the BBQ short ribs (in the Dutch oven or a sauté pan). This will help loosen things up as the sauce will have thickened in the fridge. Reheat the meat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.


*Vegetarian? Skip the short ribs, obviously. You’re going to double the doctored refried beans. Warm ½ cup of your favorite bbq sauce in a saucepan and drizzle over the finished nachos.

*Don’t eat red meat? Sub chicken thighs for the short ribs. They should only need about 40 mins in the oven to become shreddable. Shred the meat, return it to the sauce, and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens and takes on bbq sauce consistency.

*Prefer tacos over nachos? Feel free to load up crispy or soft taco shells! If going this route, warm the doctored refried beans in a saucepan over low heat until heated through. Spread the inside of the taco shells with some beans, top with bbq short ribs, and load up with cheese and toppings as desired.

*Quesadillas are also fun! Stuff tortillas with beans, short ribs and cheese. Cook in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy. Serve with guacamole and pico de gallo.

*Feeling lazy? Feel free to use store-bought pico and guacamole if you like!

*COOKING FOR 1 OR 2? I recommend making the full amount of ribs and beans and cutting the guacamole and pico recipes in half. You can make a quarter or half portion of nachos! Save remaining short ribs for salads/bowls/quesadillas/sandwiches or freeze for the future. Save the beans for a quesadilla/grain bowl/toast/eggs/salad.

Overhead shot of a platter of nachos with small bowls of toppings and open beer bottles

Braised BBQ Short Rib Nachos

Author – Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 6 (generous) servings


Braised BBQ Short Ribs:

  • pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce, finely minced (If you like things fiery, feel free to use 2 peppers)
  • ¼ cup adobo sauce from the chipotle can
  • cup honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided

Doctored Refried Beans:

  • One 15-ounce can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Cherry Tomato Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • cup minced red onion
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Really Good Guacamole:

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup minced red onion

For Serving:

  • One 8-9 ounce bag tortilla chips (Use sturdy chips!)
  • 2½-3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • Pickled jalapeño slices (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  • Start by preparing the short ribs. Pat the short ribs dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in a medium Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the short ribs and brown the meat on all sides (this should take about 10 minutes). Once browned, transfer the short ribs to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining tablespoon of avocado oil. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. (Be careful not to burn the garlic! Keep things moving around the pan and lower the heat if necessary.) Add the paprika and cook for 1 minute just to toast the spice. Stir in the tomato paste, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and 1½ cups of the beef broth. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and add the short ribs. Cover the pan with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Turn the short ribs over and cook for 1 hour more until the short ribs are very tender and easy to break down with a fork. (If the short ribs aren’t tender after 2 hours, allow them to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes.)
  • Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the doctored refried beans in a bowl. Cover and set aside.
  • Make the cherry tomato pico de gallo. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and extra lime juice to taste. Cover and set aside. (Feel free to refrigerate the pico if you’d like.)
  • Moving on to the guacamole! Cut each avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit.Scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Immediately add the lemon and lime juice, and a pinch of salt and mash with a fork until relatively smooth. Stir in the cilantro and onion and season with extra salt and black pepper to taste. Press plastic wrap onto the surface until ready to use.
  • When the short ribs are tender, transfer the short ribs to a cutting board and shred the meat with two forks. I like to leave some larger chunks intact, but you do you. Return the pork to the sauce. (The sauce should be quite thick—a true BBQ sauce consistency—but if it seems very thin, simmer for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, to thicken it up a bit.)
  • Increase the oven temperature to 375° F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup.
  • Nacho assembly time! Arrange the tortilla chips in an even layer on the baking sheet.Dollop the baked beans all over the chips. (You can leave them as dollops or spread them out a bit.) Sprinkle half the cheese over the chips. Add the warm BBQ short ribs in a relatively even layer and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. (Keep an eye on it!)
  • Top the nachos with cherry tomato pico de gallo (I like to use a slotted spoon to avoid adding excess liquid to the nachos), guacamole, pickled jalapeños and cilantro (if using). Serve immediately.

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  1. Kate on February 11, 2024 at 4:16 pm

    Made these for the original Super Bowl prep class and they were fab but above recipe is missing amount of garlic in the short ribs! How many cloves? Thanks!

    • Serena Wolf on February 11, 2024 at 7:54 pm

      3 cloves! Sorry about that!

  2. Becky G on February 7, 2024 at 4:43 pm

    5 stars
    These look amazing!!

    • Serena Wolf on February 11, 2024 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you!!

  3. Bridgid on February 7, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    100% YESSS to new blog posts!

    • Serena Wolf on February 11, 2024 at 7:54 pm

      Feels good to be back!

  4. Lee Cockrum on February 7, 2024 at 2:32 am

    A ton of braised short ribs sounds like a good problem to have!!! And doctored refried beans sounds like a great idea!!! I love lime and cilantro!!

    • Serena Wolf on February 11, 2024 at 7:55 pm

      Hahaha indeed! We were not upset about the short rib abundance. 😉

  5. Janae Hall on February 7, 2024 at 1:17 am

    5 stars
    When I told my husband I would make these for the Super Bowl noshing his reply was, should I say yes or hell yes!

    • Serena Wolf on February 11, 2024 at 7:55 pm

      YESSS! I hope they’re a huge hit!

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