Alright Raven’s fans, the playoffs are here and that means that it’s time to up our game when it comes to tailgating and cooking for hungry friends at home. I’m going to share with you one of my favorite appetizers: smoked stuffed jalapeno peppers. It’s a very simple recipe with minimal ingredients that I guarantee will have people talking about your tailgate or party for years to come.
The general idea is that you halve a jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds and inner membrane, stuff it with cheese, wrap it with bacon and cook it. I’ll walk you through the steps below.
Ingredients (to make 20 stuffed peppers):
- 10 jalapeno peppers (halved with seeds and membranes removed)
- 2 - 8oz bags of shredded Colby jack cheese
- 1 block of cream cheese
- 1 pack of bacon (10-20 strips of bacon)
- Latex Gloves (so you don’t burn your hands)
- Liquid smoke (only if you are baking them in an oven – see below)
First things first put on your latex gloves. These peppers are hot and if you are working with 10 peppers I guarantee you’ll have burning fingers and who knows where else you’ll touch. Remove the stems and halve the jalapeno peppers. If you take a look inside the pepper you'll see a bunch of seeds and a white colored "membrane" running down the inside of the pepper. The seeds and membrane are where the spice is located. So if you are afraid of spice I advise you to remove every single seed and every bit of membrane. If you remove all of the seeds and membrane the stuffed pepper will not be too hot. I actually like some heat so not only do I leave some membrane intact, I also reserve some of the seeds and add them to the cheese mixture.
Next make the cheese mixture. This recipe doesn't require exact measurements so the amount of cheese used is truly up to you. I like to use 8oz of shredded Colby jack cheese and about a ½ stick of cream cheese. Mash this mixture up well with your hands. Add some jalapeno seeds if you want some additional heat.
Stuff the cheese mixture into the jalapeno peppers. If you are heavy handed when you stuff the peppers you’ll need to make another batch of the cheese mixture. Next, take a strip of bacon and wrap it around the stuffed pepper. I prefer to cut a strip of bacon in half to wrap the pepper. Too much bacon can get bulky if you have thick cut bacon. Once the bacon is wrapped around the pepper put a toothpick in to hold it all together. Lastly, grind some fresh cracked pepper on top of the peppers.
The absolute best way to cook these peppers is to smoke them at 225-250 degrees for about 1.5 hours. The subtle hint of smoke really compliments these peppers. You can also set up your charcoal grill to be a smoker by setting up a low heat indirect charcoal fire and tossing some wood chips right on the coals. Cook the peppers via indirect heat (not over the direct flame!) for about 1.5 hours until they are nice and soft. Last but not least you can place the peppers on a baking pan and bake them in the oven for about 1.5 hours at 250 degrees. If you are going to cook these peppers in an oven or on a propane grill you can add some liquid smoke to the cheese mixture. Liquid smoke can be purchased in most grocery stores. Add about 1 tsp of liquid smoke to the cheese mixture. Then taste it to decide if you want to add more liquid smoke. These peppers can be cooked ahead of time, stored and transported in a disposable aluminum tin, and reheated in the parking lot on the tailgate grill.
Give this recipe a try and let’s go Ravens!