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.
Jalapeño poppers have become a staple game day snack. But have you ever tried smoking them? If not, you’re in for a real treat! The combination of smoky flavor and the spicy kick of jalapeños is a match made in heaven.
Smoked jalapeño poppers
Jalapeño poppers are made by splitting a jalapeño, stuffing it with a cream cheese filling and then wrapping it in bacon, and cooking indirectly at high heat.
One of the great things about jalapeño poppers is that they are extremely versatile. They can be enjoyed as a snack, an appetizer, or a main dish.
If you’re feeling adventurous, add different ingredients to the cream cheese filling.
If you’re a fan of jalapeño poppers, you owe it to yourself to try smoking them. The smoky flavor will take your taste buds on a journey, and the spiciness of the jalapeños will keep you coming back for more. So, fire up your smoker, grab a cold drink, and enjoy a batch of these delicious smoked jalapeño poppers.
Items you will need to cook these
While you could technically make my Smoked Jalapeño Poppers recipe in an oven, you’ll miss out on the extra flavor the smoke provides.
- A smoker
- Wood – I used pecan pellets but any good smoke wood will work
- BBQ Rub (I used Smoke Kitchen’s Beef rub)
- A sharp knife
- A chopping board
- Baking sheet or disposable foil pan
Related – The Ultimate Jalapeño Popper Dip
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 cheeses, and their flavors are not overpowering. If you want even more smokey flavor you could try using a smoked cheddar.
From there, you can choose your protein. Chopped chicken or ground beef work, but I like to use chorizo. It has a little kick but balances well with the cream cheese. I also add some bbq rub to the cheese mixture to round out the flavors.
How to make smoked jalapeño poppers
1. Slice and prepare the jalapeños
I highly recommend using latex gloves when handling raw jalapeños. The oils from the jalapeños will stay on your hands even after you wash them with soap. Trust me I know! I once touched my eyes afterward by mistake and it was not a fun experience.
Using a sharp knife, cut the ends of the jalapeños and then split them lengthways from the stem to the tip. Once you have two halves, use a small spoon to scrape out the inner membrane and the seeds.
Rinse with water to make sure everything is clean and all the little bits of seed are gone.
If you like really hot food, you can put some of the seeds aside and add to the filling later.
2. Prepare your stuffing
Cook the chorizo in a pan on medium heat, breaking up any clumps until it is browned and cooked through. Drain the grease and set aside.
Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, the cooked chorizo, and bbq rub.
If you don’t have a rub on hand, add one teaspoon of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of garlic powder and some salt and black pepper to the cheese mixture.
3. Assembling your jalapeño poppers
Take a spoonful of the chorizo and cream cheese mixture and place it into your halved jalapeños, and spread the mix from top to bottom until it fills the entire opening.
Finish by wrapping a strip of thin-cut bacon tightly around the jalapeño until the entire piece is covered.
Thick cut bacon won’t work as well, but you could still use it in a pinch.
You can tuck each end of the bacon underneath or secure them with toothpicks.
I like to place my poppers on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch all the grease. You can also place the poppers directly on your grill grates and put a foil pan underneath for easy cleanup.
4. Smoking the poppers
The key to smoking jalapeño poppers is to start them at a low temperature so they can take on some smoke without overcooking, then ramp the heat up at the end so the bacon gets properly cooked.
You can use any smoker or grill you have. I start at 225°F for 30 minutes to allow the smoke to flavor the poppers, then increase the temp to 350°F to get the bacon rendered and crispy.
It should take an additional 30-40 minutes depending on how crispy you want the bacon.
The jalapeños should be nice and soft underneath the bacon and the cheese filling hot and melted.
Let them rest for 10 minutes to cool down and serve them as is or with a dipping sauce like ranch or bbq sauce.
Smoked Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
Smoked Jalapeño Poppers
- 6 jalapeños halved
- 1 lb thin cut bacon
- 1 lb ground chorizo
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- 1 cup chedder cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp barbecue rub I used our Smoke Kitchen Beef Rub, but any good barbuce rub will work.
- Brown chorizo in a pan on medium heat until cooked through. Set aside.
- Halve the jalapeños and remove the seeds and membrane with a spoon.
- Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, beef rub and chorizo.
- Fill each jalapeño half with the cheese and chorizo mix.
- Wrap each jalapeño half with a piece of bacon and secure ends with toothpicks if needed.
- Smoke the jalapeño poppers at 225°F for 30 minutes and then increase the temperature to 350°F for an additional 30-40 minutes to finish.
- Let jalapeño poppers cool for 30 minutes before serving.