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Texas Torpedoes (Brisket Poppers)

The Jalapeño Popper burst onto the American food scene in 1992 (the year Anchor Food Products trademarked the term), but I suspect Texans have been stuffing and deep-frying or smoking jalapeños much longer. Start with grated cheese and you wind up with a respectable popper. Add meaty shreds of smoked brisket—appropriately seasoned with cilantro and scallions—and you get poppers that redefine the genre.


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Texas Torpedoes (Brisket Poppers)

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 20 minutes
  • Active Prep: 20 to 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 24 jalapeño halves, enough to serve 6
  • Method: Smoke- roasting (indirect grilling with wood smoke)
  • Equipment: Grill or smoker; A rimmed sheet pan with wire rack; 2 hardwood chunks or 11⁄2 cups chips (if using the latter, soak in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drain)

Ingredients

  • 12 large jalapeños
  • 12 ounces barbecued brisket, shredded or finely chopped
  • 12 ounces coarsely grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1⁄4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
  • 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann’s or Best Foods)

Recipe Steps

1: Cut each jalapeño in half lengthwise leaving the stem intact. Scrape out the seeds and veins with a small spoon (a grapefruit spoon or melon baller works well). Arrange the jalapeño halves on a wire rack set over a rimmed sheet pan. (Line the pan with aluminum foil for easier clean-up.)

2: Make the filling: Place the brisket, cheese, cilantro, and scallions in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Stir in the mayonnaise. Spoon the filling into the jalapeño halves, mounding it toward the center.

3: Meanwhile, set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high.

4: Place the wire rack with the poppers directly on the grill grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. Add the wood to the coals or to your gas grill’s smoker box.

5: Smoke-roast the poppers until the filling is sizzling and browned and the jalapeños are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

6: Transfer the poppers to a platter. Let cool slightly before serving.

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