Be the life of the party with these smoked jalapeno poppers.
Ever have the problem of being the last one to get invited to the party? No? Okay, well let's keep it that way.
The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and we know what that means... great snacks. There is no better football food than jalapeno poppers. And while there are a lot of different ways to make them, Smoking Meat Geeks know the best way is to smoke ‘em.
Here’s how to spice up Super Bowl weekend without a wardrobe malfunction.
Selecting the Jalapeno
First of all, pick out your jalapenos. You want to chose a medium size peppers, if it's too big you’ll run out of stuffing, too small and you won’t be able to put enough stuffing inside.
The way I judge the heat level is by how old pepper is. As a jalapeno matures it becomes darker and acquires the white horizontal lines (show in the picture above). These white lines are a good indication as to how hot you can expect the pepper to be; as these mature peppers are considered more ripe you can expect them to be sweeter than a new shinny looking green pepper.
I've also heard that jalapenos with a rounded end will be less spicy than the ones with pointed ends – jury is still out on this one.
Prepping the Jalapeno
Next prep the jalapenos. There are two ways to do this, the easy way and the aesthetic way.
The easy way
The easy way is, obviously, simple ... slice the jalapenos in half, long ways, and clear out the insides. This effectively creates two poppers.
The Other Way
Cutting along the curve of the jalapeno, make a long slice through one wall from tip to tip but don’t cut all the way through both walls. Once you have made the slice, squeeze the top and bottom together and the pepper will open up. Then you can scoop out the insides. This method will leave you with one full pepper you can stuff.
Gutting the pepper
A common myth is that the seeds contain all the heat. This is mostly false as the real heat lies in the veins. These veins carry the active component called capsaicin. Therefore, if you're looking for a mild smoky jalapeno popper, best to gut out the entire thing.
For some people, the spiciness of the juice is a real pain. Literally. If you choose not to wear gloves, keep your hands away from your face. Wash your hand thoroughly when you are finished, or you'll regret it. Especially if you forget to wash before going to the bathroom. That is a mistake you'll never repeat.
Stuff that pepper
1. Grab some cheddar and grate it. The thinner the cheese the better it will melt.
2. If you were hoping for some of that disgusting white gooey rubbish, what do they call it... cream cheese?
Well, you can use that instead, but why would you? Skip the cream cheese.
3. Now we like to add a bit of minced garlic as well.
4. What really sets our poppers apart is the almighty sausage. While you’re working on cleaning out the jalapenos, brown a package of sausage, don’t bother getting the spicy kind, the jalapenos will be spicy enough.
Fill the jalapenos with cheese, sausage and a little garlic. Then wrap the jalapeno with a strip of bacon, using a spiral motion. You might need to secure it with a toothpick.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em – and you do.
Smoke your glorious jalapeno poppers at 225 for 1.5 - 2 hours. My
wood of choice here is applewood, but most people will use a hickory or mesquite – to each their own, pick your favorite.
Once they have cooled off, you are ready to watch the big game. Just keep on eye on your poppers because other jealous spectators will snatch them up fast when you're not looking.