Ultrabeefy Nacho Cheese Sauce
Why This Recipe Works
by Sasha Marx
Classic nacho cheese sauce has a gooey, melty texture but barely tastes like cheese. Aged cheeses, such as cheddar, have rich, complex flavor but make for grainy sauces when melted. We think we’d all be a lot better off if we lived in a cheese sauce world where we didn’t have to choose between texture and flavor—and it turns out, we don’t. In 2011 Modernist Cuisine popularized the use of sodium citrate, an emulsifying salt, to defy cheese logic and make gooey nacho cheese from the good stuff.
The base of this cheese sauce is a combination of sharp aged cheddar and Swiss cheese. We wanted to see if we could sneak the essence of a cheeseburger into our superpowered cheese sauce. After all, the ground beef thrown on top of typical nachos is usually a dry, flavorless nuisance, when it should be a rich addition of flavor and texture. What if we introduced actual beef flavor to the cheese sauce itself? We seared some ground beef, rendering all its fat. I then strained out the beef and reserved it (crispy chili!), and whisked all that delicious beef fat right into our aged cheddar cheese sauce. If you’re into cheese and you’re into sliders, you will be into this dip. Put it on tortilla chips, fries, cheesesteaks, burgers (so meta), and anything else you can dream up.