When Cooking Fourth Of July Nachos For A Crowd, Skip The Oven

There's nothing more American than commemorating the Fourth of July with a big outdoor cookout with friends and family. Any grilled food is always a crowd-pleaser, but the menu frequently mimics ballpark fare. Flawlessly grilled burgers and hot dogs seasoned to perfection are classic choices, and cheesy nachos fit right in with the theme. 


However, many prepare nachos for the big celebration the way they're most familiar with — in the oven on sheet pans. There is nothing wrong with utilizing this method, but you can save a lot of cooking and cleanup time by making them outside. A viral video from TikTok user @kathybeidler shows how to use an outdoor griddle to make nachos for the masses.


Nachos on the Blackstone for the win. #blackstonegriddle #blackstonegriddlecooking #4thofjuly #fourthofjuly

♬ Livin' My Best Life – Dylan Scott

As you can see in the video, the extensive surface of the Blackstone flattop grill allows you to manufacture enough nachos to accommodate a large gathering all at the same time. Start by cooking the meat you're topping your chips with and set it aside before sautéing your veggies. Once your ingredients are prepared, turn the temperature of the griddle to low and fill it up with tortilla chips. Top with cheese and any other warm fixings you want to add, and the even heat distribution from the griddle will slowly soften the cheese without burning the chips. In under an hour the heat can be turned off, and you'll be ready to add your cold toppings like pico de gallo or salsa and sour cream.


Customize your Fourth of July menu for various palates

One benefit of making Fourth of July nachos on the griddle is you have enough space to customize your abundance of cheesy tortilla chips with different toppings to ensure everyone at your gathering gets nachos just the way they like them. Section your chips and cheese into quadrants and make as many variations as needed to please the crowd. For example, those with more sensitive palates will prefer their pile minus the jalapeños, and the vegetarians in your circle will appreciate cheesy chips sans meat.


You can further enhance your cheese and salsa chip bed by selecting your ingredients carefully. For the bottom layer, restaurant-style tortilla chips work best as they are thick enough to hold all the tasty toppings without crumbling and won't get soggy as quickly as thinner chips. The chief ingredient you want to choose wisely is the cheese. Using a combination of cheeses is the best way to go – like Monterey Jack and cheddar. The Monterey Jack melts easily, and the cheddar will add a sharper bite to the typically mild MJ. We prefer shaving right off the block, but if you go with the bagged variety, consider rinsing off the anti-caking agents for a creamier result. 

Staying social at your Fourth of July event

While it's rewarding to feed the crowd, you also want to enjoy the festivities of the event yourself. The beauty of making nachos on a griddle is that you can do both simultaneously instead of running back and forth to the kitchen. As long as the temperature of your flattop is set to low, the nachos only need to be monitored from time to time to confirm the cheese is melting evenly. After it turns translucent, you can transfer the nachos to a party-sized dish or have guests come right up to the griddle to help themselves.


Another advantage of utilizing a griddle to make a whole mess of nachos is the time you will save cleaning up after your cookout. You can forget about scrubbing multiple sheet pans with baked-on ingredients after your guests have departed for the evening. Once your nachos are cooked and plated, cleanup is as simple as giving the grill a quick scrape to remove the broken fragments of chips and stray cheese that slipped through the cracks. 

Just because you are hosting doesn't mean you can't enjoy your own get together on the Fourth of July. It comes around but once a year, so when you supply provisions for the masses, use an outdoor griddle and celebrate your independence with the rest of the crowd.