Taco-in-a-bag. Frito boat. Walking taco. Just plain awesome—doesn’t matter what you call it because it’s so damn good. Just thinking about Frito pie brings back smells from the school cafeteria on taco day. My friends and I hacked that lunch line and mowed down Frito pies every Tuesday for years.
I’m absolutely tickled when I find this gem at a conference or sporting expo. It’s the perfect traveling lunch. A couple of Frito pies, a cold beer, and a few table napkins later, my second wind is kicking in and I’m ready to hit the show floor for round two.
Frito pie is great anywhere on any occasion. The variations are endless. It’s family-friendly and straight up fun to eat. Really want to kick it up a notch? Start with the chili cheese flavor Fritos. You won’t regret it.
Time to make
2 lbs. venison shank, cubed
4 cups venison or beef stock
1 cup black coffee
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup molasses
Two, 15 oz. cans of pinto beans
6 oz. can of tomato paste
3 oz. can puréed chipotle peppers in sauce (optional)
2 cups onion, diced
¼ cup garlic, minced
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 ½ tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. ancho chili powder (optional)
¼ cup vegetable oil
Four, 3.5 oz. bags of Fritos (original or chili cheese)
4 cups venison chili
1 bag shredded cheese
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
White onion, diced
Pickled jalapeño slices
Also works with
Any type of chili and any type of meat, variations are endless
Dutch oven or crockpot
- Buy some Fritos. The size of the chip bag is key. I went with the size larger than the small party pack bags. They’re three times bigger and give extra space to pile on the chili and toppings. Plus, it’s the chip bag size that’s readily available at nearly every gas station I’ve ever set foot in.
- I prefer to start the chili on the stovetop in a Dutch oven and finish it in the lower oven, which I’ve done here for this recipe. You certainly can rock this out in a crockpot if you want to go that route. Just make sure to start it on the stove and pour it into the crockpot to finish.
- Season the cubed venison with salt. I used shank meat but any tough cut would work great. Heat the vegetable oil in the Dutch oven until it just begins to smoke, then brown the meat on all sides. You may want to do this in two or three batches. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until translucent. Stir in all of the dry seasonings. Put the meat back in with the onion and garlic, then stir in the tomato paste. Now add the coffee, vinegar, molasses, and bring everything to a simmer. Last, stir in the stock, chipotle purée, beans, and bring the chili back to a simmer. Put the Dutch oven inside the kitchen oven (or crockpot) at 350 degrees for two hours or until tender. Make sure to lightly shred the venison once the chili has cooled.
- With a knife or scissors, cut the front of each bag of Fritos vertically down the middle leaving all seems intact. This will create the vessel for the pie ingredients. First, shovel hot chili on top of the Fritos and follow with any extras that you wish. I went with shredded cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced white onion, pickled jalapeño slices, sour cream laced with lime juice, and some solid hot sauce like Tapatío or Cholula. Grab a plastic fork, crack a beer, and chow down.