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Superbowl Beer Brined Chicken Nachos and Fried Macadamia Nut Goat Cheese Balls

Superbowl Sunday- a day for friends, food, beer, and pretending to care about football for a day (unless, of course, your NFL team made it to the big game). I love cooking for Superbowl Sunday because it gives me an excuse to make really amazing, no frills, finger food. After months of elaborate meals it is nice to just eat good ol’ food: like nachos and fried cheese.

Of course, I have to do my own spin on everything I make so maybe it isn’t necessarily no frills but more like one frill. Yep, one single frill- Beer Brined Chicken. Your heard me right, I’m going to let a whole chicken sit in beer until it has absorbed every last flavorful note. Then I’m going to shred and throw it on top of homemade baked tortilla chips. Okay, so there is more than one frill, but you don’t have to make your own chips, especially if you have a time limit to cook your meal.

Beer Brined Chicken Nachos

This chicken will need to brine for at least four hours but why not get it ready the day before and cut out the extra work? The chicken is simple- all you will need is a whole chicken between 4 and 5 pounds, a bottle of good brown beer (I like to use Newcastle because of the malty taste), and a jar of whole grain dijon mustard.

Pour your beer and mustard into a large freezer bag and combine. Carefully place your chicken into the bag, zip it closed, and move the chicken around within the bag until it is well coated in the brine. Put the bagged chicken in another zippered bag to be sure that it doesn’t leak all over your fridge. Pop it into your fridge for 24 hours, flipping every 4 hours or so to allow the chicken to brine evenly.

The next day… remove your chicken from the bag and place on a greased metal v-rack inside a greased glass baking dish. Poor the remaining brine from the bag all over your chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste, and pop into your oven that is preheated to 450 degrees. Leave for 15 minutes, drop the heat down to 350 then cook for 20 minutes per pound. My chicken is 5 pounds, so I will leave it in for 1 hour and 40 minutes.



While your chicken is in the oven start on your tortilla chips and macadamia nut fried goat cheese balls. The Tapatio-lime tortilla chips can sit for a long time while the goat cheese balls cannot, so we will start with them. In a spray  bottle combine 30-40 drops of your hot sauce (I like Tapatio) and about 6 tablespoons lime juice.




Get yourself a bag of fresh corn tortillas- I get mine from El Toro Bravo, a small taco shop in Costa Mesa that makes fresh tortillas every morning. They are so good I can eat them plain. Cut the tortillas into strips and spread out in an even layer on a metal pan sprayed with cooking spray.



Spray your tortillas with a good helping of your lime and hot sauce. They should each be well coated, but not saturated.

Sprinkle the tops with a good few pinches of coarse sea salt and pop into a preheated 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until they are golden brown and break in half with a a nice ‘snap’ sound. If they seem soft, put them back in the oven for a couple more minutes.

Once you have your chips all done you can start on your fried goat cheese balls. These are a great item to put out while your chicken is finishing up in the oven to give your guests an appetizer. Cut an 8oz log of good goat cheese into 8-9 even pieces. Roll each slice into 1 1/2″ ball and set aside.

For your coating: chop up about 3/4 cup salted macadamia nuts and place in a shallow bowl with 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs.


Roll each ball in your breading mixture, patting your mixture into the ball, until each is well coated.

Pop your balls into the freezer for 15 minutes- this helps the balls stay formed while they go into the fryer. While they’re in the freezer you will want to get your oil ready to fry. I have handy fryer, but you can do this on your stove as well.



On the stove: add a bottle of canola oil to a deep pot and insert a thermometer into the oil so that you know when it comes up to 475 degrees. You will want to keep a good eye on this because too low and the balls will be greasy, but too high and they will burn.

I make two dipping sauces for my fried goat cheese balls: mango salsa dip and apricot dip. They are both very easy and balance the goat cheese nicely. For the mango salsa add one jalapeño chile, deseeded, to a food processor with 1/4 of a large red onion and 3 tablespoons lime juice. Slice and peel two mangos and add to your food processor. Heres a tip for peeling a mango: slice large pieces off of your mango around the tough middle and then use the side of a glass to remove the meat from the skin. This is the easiest way I have found to peel mango.

Finish by adding a good 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves and a teaspoon of salt. Blend.

The apricot dipping sauce is even easier to make. Add 1/2 cup apricot preserves, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, the juice of one lime, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to a food processor and blend. Transfer both of your dipping sauces into serving bowls and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Take your balls out of the freezer and prepare to double dip them by beating two eggs together in a small bowl. Pop each ball into the egg mixture, coating thoroughly, then roll it again in the breading mixture.


Pop your balls into your heated oil, two at a time, until they balls are golden brown. I would not put more than two balls in at a time because your risk cooling your oil too much, which will create greasy coating.

Transfer your goat cheese balls onto a plate with two layers of paper towels to cool. Have you seen anything quite so wonderful? Whoever thought to fry cheese for the very first time is my hero.

Time for the chicken to come out of the oven. Look at that color- the brine gives the skin of the chicken this lovely caramel shade that is just delicious.

If you are unsure of whether or not your chicken is done, try pulling on of the legs of the chicken off. If the bone comes away cleanly, it is done.

Let your chicken cool for about twenty minutes until you can handle it without burning yourself. If you’re not a bean person you can begin assembling your nachos now, otherwise you can make my favorite recipe for nacho beans.


Add two tablespoons of canola oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat with 1/4 cup minced dehydrated onions and 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic paste. Stir well and cook for two minutes so that the onions rehydrate.



Add in one can of refried pinto beans and one can of refried black beans. Stir well. Mix in 1 teaspoon cilantro paste. As you stir you will notice that your beans are a little too thick to pour over nachos. To combat this add in water in 1/4 cup increments until the beans are easily spreadable. Make sure that you re-season every time you add in water because it will dilute the flavor. Keep your beans on a low simmer while you get the rest of your nacho ingredients prepared



Once your chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the chicken and transfer to a plate. You can leave the skin on for extra flavor and texture, but I prefer to remove it.


Shred your chicken by hand into small, bitesize pieces, grate some good, sharp cheddar, and get ready to assemble the most amazing nachos you have ever tasted.



In a large, oven safe dish layer chips, beans, chicken, and cheese three times.

End with a good, heaping handful of cheese and pop under your broiler for a just a couple of minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly. Keep a sharp eye on your cheese because it will burn very quickly. Sharp eye, sharp cheddar… get it?

You can top your nachos with any vegetables that you like but these are my favorites: julienned radishes and chopped green onions. They give the nachos fresh taste, great crunch, and beautiful color.



Sprinkle a good layer of your veggies over top of your nachos and finish off with a squeeze of fresh lime. Absolutely delicious.

Serve everything together on the coffee table with a couple of cold beers and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy my recipes for extra special comfort food. With so many occasions to cook a feast it is kind of nice just to have some finger food.

Happy Super Bowl!


Beer Brined Chicken


  • 1 Newcastle Beer
  • 1 7.3 oz Maille old style who grain dijon mustard (or equivalent)
  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 lbs

Combine beer and mustard in a large freezer bag. Put your chicken into bag and mix around until thoroughly coated on all sides. Place chicken in bag in another zippered bag to prevent leaks and put into fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, flipping the chicken every 3-4 hours to ensure even coat. When you are ready to roast: preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a large glass baking dish and metal v-rack and place rack into dish. Put chicken onto v-rack and pour remaining brine on top of the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken into over for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then drop the temperature down to 350 and cook 20 minutes per pound of bird. The bird is done when the leg bone pulls easily and cleanly away from the bird. Serve in slices, shred for tacos or nachos, or add to tortilla soups.

Tapatio-Lime Tortilla Chips


  • 1 bag El Toro Bravo fresh corn tortillas (or equivalent)
  • 4-6 tbsp lime juice
  • 30-40 drops Tapatio hot sauce
  • coarse salt
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • clean spray bottle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a spray bottle combine lime juice and hot sauce. Test that your spray bottle works properly before attempting to coat the tortillas. Cut your tortillas into 4 sections of strips and layout on a metal baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Coat tortilla strips with 8-10 sprays of your mixture per dozen strips. Careful not to oversaturate them. Sprinkle chips with coarse salt and pop into the over for 8-10 minutes or until the chips are golden brown and snap when broken in half.

Nacho Refried Beans


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup minced dehydrated onions
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 can refried pinto beans
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro or cilantro paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water to thin

Combine oil, onion, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat. Add beans, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer over medium-low heat. Add water in 1/4 cup intervals until beans are at desired consistency, re-seasoning with each addition of water.

Fried Macadamia Nut Goat Cheese Balls, makes 18


  • 16 oz good goat cheese

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (omit if nuts are salted)
  • 1 bottle canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Chop your nuts until very fine using a knife or food processor and combine in a shallow bowl with bread crumbs and salt. Slice your two logs of goat cheese into 9 slices each and roll each slice into a 1 1/2″ size ball. Roll each ball into breading mixture, patting the mixture into the cheese as you go, until each is finely coated. Place balls on plates and put into your freezer for 15-20 minutes. Add your canola oil to your fryer or large pot on your stove and bring to 475 degrees. In a shallow bowl beat together two eggs. Remove goat cheese balls from freezer and place each one into egg mixture then roll in your breading mix again. Fry balls, two at a time, for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown. Transfer them onto a plate with two layers of paper towels to cool. Serve with dipping sauce.

Spicy Mango Cilantro Salsa Dip


  • 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 of a large red onion
  • 1 jalapeño chile (de-seeded for mild spice)
  • 3 tbsp cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp salt

Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more salt and jalapeño to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Apricot Preserve Dip


  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • salt to taste

Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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