Jalapeño Poppers (Cheese-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Peppers)Steven Raichlen
Size matters—at least when it comes to jalapeños. If using my Best of Barbecue Chile Pepper Roasting Rack, feel free to bring it to the supermarket so you can select perfectly sized jalapeños.
Jalapeño Poppers (Cheese-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Peppers)
- Yield: Makes 24
- Equipment: Best of Barbecue Pepper Roasting Rack; Best of Barbecue Knotted Skewers; Best of Barbecue Vegetable Smoking Chips or other wood chips
- 24 medium jalapeño peppers
- 12 ounces cheese (smoked cheddar or pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated, or soft cream cheese or goat cheese)
- 24 sprigs cilantro or parsley leaves
- 12 strips artisanal bacon, each cut in half widthwise
Step 1: Cut the top (stem end) off each jalapeño and remove the seeds, using the Best of Barbecue Coring Tool or the blade of a vegetable peeler; reserve the tops. Stuff the peppers with grated cheese and cilantro sprigs. Replace the tops and wrap each popper with a strip of bacon, securing it and the cap in place with a knotted skewer. Place the jalapeños in the pepper roasting rack. (If you don’t have a rack, place the peppers in a grill basket or lay directly on the grill grate.)
Step 2: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium high (400 degrees). Arrange the peppers in their rack on the grate away from the heat over the drip pan. Toss the wood chips on the coals.
Step 3: Smoke-roast the jalapeños until the bacon is browned and crisp, the jalapeños feel soft when squeezed, and the cheese is melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Note: you can also cook the poppers in a smoker. Preheat to 225 degrees. You’ll need 1 to 1-1/2 hours of cooking.
Serve with these other appetizers for a New Year’s cocktail party hot off the grill.