Jalapeño poppers are one of the tastiest side dishes you can grill. By adding bacon to the recipe, you are taking these tasty treats to the next level.
These do not take very long to make and the process is quite easy. With just a few simple ingredients you can be wowing your guests at your next BBQ when you serve these up.
What is a jalapeño popper?
As the name suggests, the main ingredients are going to be jalapeños and bacon but these BBQ delicacies are much more than that.
A split jalapeño that is stuffed with ingredients of your choosing and then grilled indirectly at high heat. Yes, it sounds so simple and it really is but the flavor is awesome if you mix the right ingredients together.
Items you will need to cook these are:
- A BBQ that can cook at high heat indirectly, I used a 22” Weber Kettle
- Charcoal Briquettes
- A Chimney Starter
- A Vortex
- BBQ Rub (I used Elk Creeks AP Rub)
- A sharp chef’s knife
- A chopping board
How to cut and prepare the jalapeños
Firstly you will need to put on some latex gloves. The seeds inside a jalapeño are extremely hot and you don’t want to accidentally touch your face or anywhere that is sensitive if you know what I mean, after handling them.
Using a sharp knife, split the jalapeños lengthways from the stem to the tip. Once you have two halves, using a small spoon, scrape out the inner membrane and the seeds. These are the hot parts of the jalapeño.
If you like really hot food, you can put some of the seeds aside and add to the filling later.
What stuffing to use in a jalapeño popper
No matter the style of jalapeño popper you are making, the one key ingredient is always cheese.
You’ll find that a mixture of cream cheese and cheddar work best, they are both high melting cheese and their flavors are not overpowering.
You can mix this up anyway you want, I find that using an equal mix of both cheeses gets the best results.
Assembling your jalapeño poppers
Once you have your jalapeño halves, you need to select your BBQ rub of choice. I chose to use Elk Creek’s AP Rub in mine today as it is a great all rounder.
You’ll need to add your rub of choice to some softened room temperature cream cheese and mix them up thoroughly. I find using a fork the easiest way. Now is the time to add the jalapeño seeds if you can handle a lot of heat.
Using a butter knife, put enough cream cheese and spice mix into each jalapeño half, so they are nearly filled. Then place a small rectangle of cheddar cheese on top.
Wrap each cheese filled jalapeño half with one piece of streaky bacon.
If you wish, you can hold this together with a toothpick. I find once the bacon starts to render down during the cooking process, it does tend to tighten and hold its shape.
Give all the bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers a light dusting of the BBQ rub.
The BBQ Setup
For this recipe, you will need to set up a BBQ that can reach high indirect temperatures around the 465°F range.
I decided on using my 22”
How I set it up was by lighting up a ¾ full chimney starter of briquettes, and once they were fully alight, placing them into a vortex. You can also use the two charcoal baskets pushed together in the center of the charcoal grate but you will need to use a full chimney of fuel to obtain the same heat level as using a vortex.
Adding a chunk of smoking wood can really give the poppers a great smokey flavor, I tend to choose either a fruitwood, something like cherry is nice and subtle.
Put the grill back in place and the lid back on, making sure all of the vents are wide open
You should allow the BBQ around 10 minutes to warm up before adding the jalapeño poppers.
Once the grill has had time to warm up, place the jalapeño poppers around the outer part of the grill, this is where that high indirect heat is the full force.
Give the jalapeño poppers 30 minutes to cook, turning the lid vent a third of the way every 10 minutes, this just ensures an even cook as the lid vent creates a hot spot directly underneath it.
After 30 minutes, the cheeses should be creamy, the jalapeño halves will be nice and soft and the bacon will have rendered.
Once the jalapeño poppers are fully cooked you don’t technically need to let them rest, but you should allow them to cool just a little as molten hot cheese can stick and burn, making all your hard work pointless when you can no longer feel your tongue.
If you want to try something less spicy give our Smoked Pig Shots recipe a try.
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
- 12 large jalapeños
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 oz cheddar cheese cut into 24 rectangles
- 3 tsp BBQ rub 1 tsp for dusting
- 24 strips streaky bacon
- Wearing gloves, split the jalapeños in half with a sharp knife and then scrape out the membrane and seeds with a spoon.
- Mix the cream cheese and 2 teaspoons of BBQ rub together.
- Partially fill each jalapeño half with the cream cheese mixture.
- Place a small rectangle of cheddar on each jalapeño half.
- Wrap each half with a piece of streaky bacon.
- Lightly sprinkle each bacon wrapped jalapeño popper with the remaining BBQ rub.
- Set up your BBQ to cook at a high indirect heat of around 465°F adding a chunk of cherry wood for smoke and allow the grill to warm up for 10 minutes.
- Once the grill is warm, place the jalapeño poppers around the outer edge of the BBQ grill.
- Cook the jalapeño poppers for 30 minutes, turning the lid a third of the way every 10 minutes to ensure an even cook.
- After 30 minutes the bacon should have rendered, the cheese should be creamy and the jalapeños will be soft.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before eating.