Armadillo Eggs are a Texas BBQ delicacy, and, despite the name, there are no eggs (or armadillos) involved.
Spicy jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, surrounded by flavor-packed sausage, then wrapped in bacon and finished with a BBQ sauce glaze. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this tasty appetizer is no exception.
Deep in the heart of Texas
It’s difficult to trace where Armadillo Eggs originated, but most everyone agrees that they are a Texas thing.
The name most likely stems from their similarity to English Scotch Eggs, which are hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and then deep-fried.
Instead of the egg in the center, Armadillo Eggs start with a cheese-stuffed jalapeño at the core. Reminiscent of a traditional jalapeño popper, but with a layer of spicy breakfast sausage added these Armadillo Eggs are a powerhouse of flavor that will leave your guests reaching for more.
How to make smoked Armadillo Eggs
1. Hollow out the jalapeños
The first step in assembling Armadillo Eggs is to grab some large jalapeños, chop off the tops, and remove the seeds and stems to hollow them out. There are multiple tools that can be used to hollow out a jalapeño, but I’ve found that a good old-fashioned butter knife works best.
Simply push the knife down into the center of the jalapeño and detach the core from the exterior part of the pepper. Then drag the butter knife around in a circular motion and the core should pop right now. Then, you’ll be left with a hollow pepper just begging to be stuffed with cheese.
2. Make the cheese filling
“That’s too much cheese” – said no one ever.
The thing that makes Armadillo Eggs so delicious is the cheesy center. A simple mixture of 1 block of cream cheese, 1 cup of shredded cheddar, and a generous dose of your favorite BBQ rub is all it takes to whip up the filling.
Start by grabbing a small bowl, then throw in your cream cheese, shredded cheese, and BBQ rub. You can try to use a spoon to mix it up, but honestly, it is so much easier just to put on a glove and give it a good mix with your hand.
The cream cheese should start to soften as you mix it up, which will make it easier to get inside of your hollowed-out jalapeño.
There are a couple of different ways to get the cheese mixture inside of your jalapeño. You can transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or Ziploc bag with the corner cut off) and pipe the mixture into the jalapeño.
Another option is to take a few tablespoons of the cheese mixture, lay it down on your cutting board and roll it into a snake shape (similar to the way children will play with Play-Doh) – then just stuff the cheese down into the jalapeño.
Whichever method you prefer will work just fine, as long as your jalapeño is stuffed to max capacity with that cheesy goodness.
3. Time to add the meat
The next step is to wrap the cheese-stuffed jalapeño in a layer of spicy breakfast sausage. Just grab a handful of sausage, flatten it out, and wrap it around the jalapeño. Make sure that the jalapeño is completely covered in sausage, and you should be left with an egg-shaped ball of sausage when you’re done.
The next step is to wrap the entire thing in bacon (because everything is better with bacon, right?). Depending on the size of your jalapeños, you will use 2 to 3 strips of bacon per Armadillo egg.
Start at the top and wrap the entire thing. Try your best not to have the bacon overlap because then you may be left with undercooked bacon in the center, and don’t worry too much about covering every single bit of the sausage in bacon.
If there are still sections of exposed sausage that is perfectly fine.
If you want to secure the bacon with a toothpick you can, but as long as you lay the Armadillo eggs with the seam-side down you shouldn’t need to.
If you opt to use a toothpick, just be sure to remember how many you put in there so that you don’t accidentally bite into a toothpick when you’re ready to dig in!
Funny story: One time my husband and I were making Smoked Pig Shots and when we make them we always use a toothpick to secure the bacon to the smoked sausage. Well, allegedly (if my husband tells the story) it was “my job” to remove the toothpicks. I must have missed one and it just happened to be the one that my husband chose to pop into his mouth. Needless to say, he was not happy about having the roof of his mouth impaled with a tiny piece of sharpened wood.
Moral of the story: always count your toothpicks.
4. Fire up the smoker
You can cook these Armadillo Eggs on the grill, on the smoker, or even in the oven. No matter what cooking method you choose, they taste absolutely delicious. I opted to cook these on my Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 using Acacia wood lump charcoal.
Fire up your grill or smoker to 250°F and place the Armadillo eggs directly on the grates. Then, shut the grill and let them cook for about 2 hours. By that time, the bacon should just be starting to crisp up.
The finishing touch is a glaze of BBQ sauce. You can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce, or just whip up a batch of our Homemade BBQ sauce. Lightly coat each Armadillo egg in a layer of that sauce using a basting brush, then let them cook for another 20-30 minutes to set the glaze.
Let the Armadillo Eggs cool for about 15 minutes, then you can slice them into medallions and serve them as a bite-sized appetizer, or you can serve them whole as an entrée alongside your favorite BBQ side dishes.
Try these spicy jalapeño BBQ recipes next
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
- Texas Twinkies: Jalapeño Stuffed With Leftover Brisket
- Smoked Jalapeño Popper Dip Recipe
- Grilled Brisket Breakfast Burrito with Jalapeño Cheese Blanket
- Smoked Stuffed Pepper Poppers (For a non-spicy alternative)
Smoked Armadillo Eggs recipe
Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Armadillo Eggs
- 4 large jalapeños (hollowed out)
- 1 block cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 lbs spicy breakfast sausage
- 12 slices bacon
- 6 tbsp BBQ rub
- 4 tbsp BBQ sauce
- Pre-heat your grill or smoker to 250°F.
- Start by chopping the tops off your jalapeños. Then, using a butter knife, remove the core.
- In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and 2 tablespoons of BBQ rub.
- Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the center of each hollowed-out jalapeño.
- Cut the pound of breakfast sausage into 4 equal sections.
- Wrap each jalapeño in breakfast sausage to create an egg-shaped ball.
- Wrap each one in 2-3 slices of bacon (depending on the size of your jalapeños).
- Sprinkle the remaining 4 tablespoons of BBQ rub over the top of the bacon.
- Place the Armadillo Eggs directly on the grates of your grill and let them cook for 2 hours.
- Coat each Armadillo Egg in a light layer of BBQ sauce.
- Place back on the grill for another 30 minutes.
- Let cool for 15-20 minutes, then slice in and enjoy!