Grilling takes bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, a.k.a. ABTs, to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Jalapeño Poppers are great appetizers. While standard restaurant jalapeño poppers are usually breaded and fried, my outdoor grilled version is smoked and much more flavorful. This BBQ and grilling appetizer is a big hit with people who like a little bit of heat in their food, but you can remove most of the heat to accommodate wimps if you wish.
There are many variations on grilled jalapeño poppers. Most call for wrapping the halved jalapeños with bacon and holding it in place with toothpicks (a.k.a. ABTs). That’s too much of a pain for me, the dripping grease can put all kinds of soot on things, and by the time the bacon cooks, the chiles are limp and dull. I like them with some snap. So I prefer to put the bacon in the filling.
Jalapeños are chile peppers with a measurable amount of heat, but they are not too hot for most folks. The cool part (pun intended) is that the best way to extinguish capsaicin heat is with cooking and dairy fat. Cooking somehow disarms jalapeños, and the cheese in this recipe not only tastes good, it also helps control the fire. If you remove the seeds and ribs, you can remove 90% of the heat if you wish, and the flavor is wonderful.
A cheesy appetizer with a kick, this easy recipe is sure to please, and the smoked and grilled versions are better than the fried version. This appetizer is a big hit with people who like a little bit of heat in their food, but you can remove most of the heat to accommodate wimps if you wish.
For One-eyed Jalapeño Poppers. You'll need 24 green olives with pimento stuffing About the bacon. Leftover pulled pork is a good substitute. Or go upscale and mix some crab meat, lobster, or shrimp into the stuffing. Sundried tomatos are nice too.About the jalapeños. If you like things really hot, use habaneros.About the cheese. You can use storebought boursin, but making it is easy and a lot cheaper. Try replacing the cheddar with blue cheese, mozzarella, jack, queso quesadilla, or queso asadero.Optional, but strongly recommended. Mango works well too in place of pineapple.
Prep. Cook the bacon to the level of doneness you prefer. It will not cook any more once you stuff the jalapeños with the cheese. Let it cool and chop it into bits.
Put on rubber gloves to work on the peppers. If you are going to halve them, use a thin sharp filleting or paring knife to cut off the stems and discard them. Then cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Run the blade along the inside wall of the pepper removing the seeds and the white ribs. If you like hot stuff, leave the ribs in. If you are going to leave them whole and cook them in a rack, slice off the stem and cap and use a potato peeler or narrow knife to remove the seed pod inside. It will be hard to remove the ribs this way, so they will be hotter than the sliced peppers.
You can cut them in half, remove the seeds, and stuff them as shown at the top of the recipe. The stem is woody and not very good to eat, so you use it as a handle and bite it off just below the cap. Or, you can cut them in half, remove the inedible cap, and keep the cheese from oozing out with an olive as a plug. Hence the name "One-Eyed Jalapeño Poppers". For this option, the olive is not only functional, it tastes great.
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.
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