BBQ nachos are a Memphis tradition.
A gooey, cheesy, meety, crunchy, tangy, and sweet Memphis tradition.
And, most importantly , they’re yet another way for us to use our perfectly dry rubbed and smoked pork.
If you go to most any Memphis BBQ restaurant you’ll find a pulled pork platter, a pulled pork sandwich, and possibly a plate of BBQ spaghetti, but most every restaurant now has the iconic BBQ nachos.
Most of us who have grown up in the area didn’t grow up with these- they’re a somewhat recent creation. The first time I ever had them was at a Redbird’s baseball game in college. Round tortilla chips, Rendezvous BBQ, orange cheese sauce, all topped with dry rub and drizzled with sweet sauce. I’m not a Rendezvous fan normally, I just think their ribs are “meh”. But I am a Rendezvous fan when it comes to the nachos. (AutoZone park has since gone with another vendor for the nachos and let down most of Memphis.)
Whenever we make a smoked pork butt we always have about a week’s worth of meat to finish up., so we get pretty creative. We’ve been known to make tacos, tortas, and Asian lettuce wraps with leftover BBQ. But we always make sure to save just enough meat for at least one round of BBQ nachos.
I’ve been thinking for years that a hot dip inspired by the flavors of BBQ nachos has to be done. Thankfully, a baby shower for my very Memphis loving friend was the perfect excuse! We’ve named Marjo’s shower “Bluff City Baby” and have decked out my friend Claire’s house with all sorts of navy and yellow (The Memphis Grizzlies’ colors) and have a menu of Memphis and southern specialties.
(Along with Marjo’s request for the best ever Back in the Day Bakery Banana pudding. I was happy to supply this request!)
I set out to create a dip recipe using the flavors we all love from a plate of BBQ nachos. It’s just too iconic a Memphis flavor to not include on the menu for this shower.
I had big plans to have Brandon smoke a pork butt this weekend for me to use in the dip. A bit of sickness (from me) meant he was stuck catering to all my needs for 36 hours and wasn’t able to crank up the smoker. So, I made this using some cooked chicken breast. I wanted to see if the flavors worked when not using true BBQ- and they really, really do! Obviously the smoked flavor isn’t present. But it works. Trust me. Feel free to sub in some pulled pork if you make this recipe and have some on hand. But know- it’s really good with just chicken!
This is a good oh-so-Memphis sub for that Buffalo chicken dip that everyone loves. This is a creamy and cheesy dip with just the right amount of spice, meatiness, and tang from the topping of BBQ sauce.
Try this one out next time you’re hosting a Grizz watch party or just feeling especially Bluff City.
BBQ Nacho Dip
2 Packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cup mayonnaise (y’all know my feelings on this- Duke’s is the only option)
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 Cup shredded chicken breast. Or use pulled pork chopped into smaller pieces for ease of dipping.
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons BBQ dry rub seasoning of your choice. (I used our own personal blend and I ain’t sharing that recipe.) Plus extra for topping.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and place into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle top of dip with extra dry rub. Bake at 350 until top is caramelized and the edges are bubbly. Drizzle with BBQ sauce of your choice. I used one that was tomato based and semi-sweet. Serve hot with tortilla chips of your choice.