Forget Totchos, Nugchos, and Spamchos; Steakchos are The Ultimate Nacho Hybrid

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J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Look at that guy over there. Are those... Spam chips covered with cheese and jalapeños he's dipping into his guacamole? OMG, what a loser. NOBODY eats plain Spamchos these days.

Let's face it: If you're eating regular old Spamchos, if you can't even be bothered to replace those chips made of deep fried chopped-and-formed spiced ham with something meatier, you may as well be chowing down on oatmeal while sipping on prune juice, gramps.

Spamchos? Spamchos?!? First off, let's talk filler here. Spam is not pure meat, and anything that is not pure meat is extraneous, am I right? Non-meat has one purpose and one purpose alone: For topping meat, and even then, it's only acceptable if that non-meat topping is a) composed at least 50% of pure fat, b) related to onions, or c) is some form of hot sauce.

And that brings me to the stuff packed in with those fillers that you call "meat." Let me clarify for you: pork is not meat. Pork is not even the fish of the land-animal world. If something holds a GB value on the RGB color codes chart of 30 or more and an R value less than 100, it may as well be grouped in with all those other vegetables like quinoa and broccoli and chicken. Give me crimson red death on my platter or let me starve.

I can see you now, cowering in that hunched-over, pale, anemic position that is the mark of the under-fatted. As a part-time vegan, I know the feeling. I get it every time I haven't had a medium-rare burger for more than three hours. I get those kryptonite chills whenever I'm within throwing distance of a block of tofu. I understand your struggle.

How can I make my nachos meatier than with Spam?, you ask. Never fear! I present to you: STEAK-CHOS, nachos in their ultimate, meatiest, beefiest, non-gendered-but-taking-on-characteristics-of-stereotypical-but-outdated-male form.

Here's how to do it.

Step 1: Cook Your Steak

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Start with good steak. I used inch-and-a-half Prime ribeyes here, generously seasoned with salt and pepper. My initial thought was to grill the steaks, but I ended up preferring the more delicate, refined, and elegant results you get by searing the steaks on a half inch plate of solid red hot steel, and elegance and refinement are what I'm all about here.

Step 1b: Be Me

Important note: This recipe will not work without a reversible Baking Steel griddle pan, a product that is currently only available in prototype form and only at my home. There are no substitutions possible. I know this makes it a little difficult for some folks to follow this recipe, but my best piece of advice is to just try harder to be me. Not to be like me, mind you, but to actually be me. That is the only way you'll be able to get identical results at your my home.

Step 2: Sear From Both Sides

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You thought that one piece of inaccessible equipment was enough? Everybody knows that you need to use at least two hyper-specialized, Kickstarter-funded tools in order for meat to even be considered edible these days. I tried various combinations of the many expensive and limited-quantity high tech cooking tools in my kitchen, including a combination of the sous-vide cooker and the Thermomix (the steak came out too warm and soupy, offering no textural contrast with the cheese sauce), and one that I tried to cook by inserting two Thermapen Instant-Read Digital Thermometers at once (it came out at a very, very precise and accurate room temperature).

The best combo in the end was the Baking Steel and Searzall, a neat little device whose main purpose is to make a standard propane torch look really really cool and to draw attention to you while you work in the kitchen, so you can nonchalantly say things like, "It's just a little Kickstarter thing I backed a while back. I mean, I totally forgot it was even coming." Or, "Oh this? It's only invented by Dave Arnold, the guy who brought sous vide to New York. He's like Wylie Dufresne's brother-in-law or something. You know him. The spherical Pastrami gel guy."

This is the kind of stuff that, if you invite the right friends over to dinner, they'll start Instagramming about how awesome your steak tastes before they even taste it.

Step 3: Let it Rest

Go for perfectly cooked steak that is well-rested is juicy, succulent, savory, moist, and tender. Perfectly cooked steak that hasn't been rested for at least 23% but no more than 23.25% of its total cooking time will be impossibly dry, insipid, and tough. The choice is yours.

Step 4: Add Your Cheese Sauce

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There is only one acceptable cheese sauce for steaks so glorious as this, and it is this one. All other cheese sauces are just imitating.

Step 5: Add Your Salsa

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We're edging dangerously close to vegetable territory here. All I can say is if your salsa doesn't burn holes into your floor like xenomorph acid blood, then it isn't hot enough to be worthy of a dish like this.

Step 6: Add Your Guacamole

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Yes, it's green. Yes, it's made with plants. But avocados were also named by the Aztecs, a group of dudes and dudettes so tough that Cortez had to resort to biological warfare just to bring 'em down. Moreover, it wasn't just named by them, but the Nahuatl word for avocado, ahuácatl, literally means balls, and yes, I mean the kind that hang between my legs. Avocados are also essentially green butter that grow on trees. I think we can make a pass here.

Finish it all off with a drizzle of Mexican cream, some cotija cheese, some chopped scallions, onions, and cilantro, and a few thin slices of radish for the vitamins.

Step 7: Serve

I like to serve a big platter of these during the game alongside a roll of single-ply toilet paper. They make perfect finger full-hand food, ideal for snacking or staving off hunger in between real, more substantial meals.

What's that? Is that the voice of doubters and naysayers I hear claiming that this magnificent creation is nothing but an unrefined assault on the palate with no sophistication, soul, or nuance? Pshaw!

I present to you absolute, irrefutable proof that this dish is not just sophisticated, but it is in fact an artisan dish with heritage, history, time, and sense of place. A dish with meaning as deep as the wrinkles on the faded black-and-white photo of the face of an octogenarian holding a weathered wooden bowl filled with freshly picked heirloom shell beans.

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You simply can't argue with the two-handed food cradle, especially not when those hands have been Photoshopped to bring out their blemishes and they are housing something as warm, wet, and juicy as that steakcho.

Sill don't buy it? Try a little taste of this.

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I rest my case.