Scouting Report: Kalua Pork Nachos

In our Padres Public 2013 season review, I expressed my disappointment with the pork belly nachos served at Petco Park. Rather than just complain, as is my custom, I decided to make better nachos. Actually, Mrs. Ducksnorts made them because she is awesome. I ate them because I was hungry.

Some of the best nachos I’ve had are at Honolulu International Airport. Made with kalua pork, they’re available at Kona Brewing Co., near the exhibit honoring baseball pioneer Wally Yonamine.

If you can’t go there, or you just want to be reminded of how it feels to wait four hours for your connecting flight, make a big batch at home. You’ll thank me later.

The following is a full scouting report of said nachos. I’ve shamelessly stolen Jason Parks’ template for evaluating baseball prospects and applied to it food. As a scout, I make an excellent eater.

Kalua Pork Nachos Date(s) tasted:


Recipe? Yes Filed by/date:Geoff Young, 11/22/2013


Good mixture of crunchy and juicy; a little on the fatty side, strong flavor profile.


Tender, juicy, smoky. Think carnitas. The pork takes forever (we did the 4-hour method) but there are plenty of leftovers (we used half of a 6-pound roast to make four servings). No room for projection, but none needed. This is already a star.Grade: Present 70/Future 70


Nothing fancy, just store-bought tortilla chips. Frying your own might kick this up to 55, but it’s probably not worth the trouble.Grade: Present 50/Future 50


Same as the chips. It’s there because they wouldn’t be nachos without cheese, but this is definitely not the point of the dish. Like the chips, it serves as a vehicle for the pork. We used cheddar, but anything else would work fine as long as there’s still pork.Grade: Present 50/Future 50


The roma tomato wasn’t bad, but homegrown heirloom would be better. Didn’t have avocado. Added diced raw onions on second night, which helped flavor and texture. The sour cream/Tapatio mixture was adequate. Would like to try with a mild to medium fresh salsa (not my preferred hot, which might overwhelm the meat). Smokiness of 2011 Victory at Sea complemented nachos well, though other porters/stouts (Pipeline, Black Butte, Velvet Merlin) or maybe nut browns (New English, Alesmith, Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar if you’re feeling crazy) should also work.Grade: Present 55/Future 65 (better tomato, avocado, and salsa)


Tasty, beer-friendly. The secondaries aren’t great, but you eat this for the pork, which is awesome. Would have again.The nachos didn’t quite live up to the high standards set by those of Kona Brewing Co., but this could be remedied with a more diverse repertoire of toppings. The pork, already better than what is served at Petco Park, provides a solid foundation for the future. At this point, it’s just a matter of gaining reps with the recipe–knowing what to add and what to subtract. This will come with time and experience. When it does, these nachos will be tough to beat.

OFP Grade: 60+; first-division appetizer that can also serve as an entree

Risk factor: Low; possible spillage, keep napkins handy

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  • Maybe Mrs. Ducksnorts can make another batch and then smuggle it in to RJ’s on Sunday …

    • Geoff Young

      I like the way you think.

  • SDPads1


  • SDPads1

    It’s still a shame (and shocking) that you don’t like the Pork Belly Nachos. But these sounds fantastic and I must now try it myself.

    • Geoff Young

      It is a shame. I really wanted to like the pork belly nachos.

      I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  • Just noticed you had to get nut brown beer in there somehow. How silly of me not to see it before.

    • Geoff Young

      I’m so predictable, but I don’t mind.

  • Fantastic dish, GY. I cooked it for the whole family today and they loved it.

    • Geoff Young

      Awesome, glad to hear it!