18 October, 2013
If you are going to be a true backyard hero, you can’t just master the main course. Guests will undoubtedly arrive for a few beers before mealtime, smell the brisket or ribs, and the hunger pains will begin. Never fear, a well-placed appetizer can fill the void. One of my favorites is a cream cheesed stuffed pepper wrapped in bacon – The Jalapeño Popper.
While there are actually several techniques or approaches to making a popper, I prefer the half-pepper method. For my money, less pepper means the appetizer will be more accessible to a broader audience.
10-12 fresh, whole jalapenos
1 can of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 package of pepper bacon (regular bacon will also work)
Cut top off of peppers and slice them in half (long way)
Use a knife to remove seeds and rind. The seeds and rind are a BIG contributor to the overall heat of a pepper. Removing them will ensure the peppers don’t light too many fires in your guests. Fill each jalapeno half with a dab of cream cheese.
Open bacon and cut entire slab in half. Place jalapeno with cream cheese at end of bacon strip and roll bacon around jalapeno trying to cover as much of the cream cheese as possible (this will help prevent all of the cheese melting out of the pepper).
Use toothpick to secure bacon to pepper.
Cook over medium heat until bacon is done.Turn peppers often making sure both sides get ample heat and ensure bacon doesn’t get too crispy in one spot.It’s preferable to not cook over an open flame, as the bacon grease will cause flare-ups. If I’m cooking on a gas grill, I will shut off one of my burners and cook the peppers on the non-flame side, or use the top rack to keep them away from the direct heat. If cooking on the egg, I will try to keep the lid closed to limit the oxygen supply. You can also cook on top of a piece of foil, griddle, or foil pan to prevent the bacon grease from starting a fire.
Once bacon is done, let peppers set for a few minutes to cool down and they are ready to serve.
BBQ Appetizers: Jalapeno Poppers
Beer: Magic Hat #9
Music: “Shreveport to New Orleans” – Roger Creager