Naked Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
There are a number of ways to make a jalapeno popper. This one’s our favourite. Lightly spicy, so good. And bacon.
Jalapeno poppers are great little project to haul out when you’ve got people over or even just as an appetizer for yourselves before the bbq.
When we’ve got the charcoal kettle going, we’ll often stick these on right away, while waiting for the coals to burn down. About the time you’re ready to stick the meat on, the poppers are ready and you’ve got your pre-meal snack.
The heat here depends on the jalapenos. They can vary a lot. But cooking them does mellow the spice level.
Not your plain old poppers. these have a nice balance. There are a number of ways to do poppers. Some put the halves back together, some batter and deep fry them. But these, with bacon and a smokey, charcoal note are hard to beat!
Have a look at the Options & Tweaks section for ideas to make it your own
Eat these as soon as they’re comfortably cool. They don’t really keep or reheat well.
- 6 whole jalapeno chillis, very fresh (no wrinkles or grey around the stem)
- 1 small lime, juice of
- 125 g cream cheese, room temperature
- 50g sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp finely minced garlic
- 3 TBSP Bulldozer SPOG Rub
- 12 strips of “streaky bacon” (in the US, just your usual bacon)
optional: a pinch of coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
Get your bbq going so the heat is leveling off around 225F (~107C). We use a Weber Kettle with lump charcoal in a “Kettle Kone” at the center, lid on, along with a block of pecan wood for that smokey flavour. But any bbq or even indoor oven will do if you can get the temperature right.
Start with big, shiny, fresh jalapeno chillis
Split each one lengthwise. Don’t worry about removing the stem.
Using a small teaspoon, as shown, scoop out the seeds and “ribs”. You might want to use gloves for this bit.
Next, dice/mince the cheddar cheese, the red onion and the garlic. And the coriander leaves, if using.
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar, lime juice, the Bulldozer SPOG rub, diced onion, garlic and coriander (if using) and mix thoroughly
Using the small teaspoon again, fill each half jalapeno with the combined cheese stuffing until just barely heaping.
Lay out your streaky bacon and slice into strips, if necessary. Strips should be roughly 25mm (1 inch) in width.
Wrap a strip of streaky bacon around each jalapeno half in a spiral from stem end to tip. This isn’t always the most precise process though you’ll likely get better at it over time. Doesn’t matter – these taste great anyway.
Use toothpicks or small bamboo skewers through the bacon and chilli to hold the bacon in place
At this point, arrange your jalapenos on the grill, filling side up, so they’re not directly over the flames. We put the coals in the middle and the poppers in an outer ring around, but not over, them. If you’re doing an oven cook, just put them on a lined tray.
Check them in about 20 minutes. You should find the bacon is crisping up and the chillis are getting soft. When the bacon is looking so good you can’t hardly stand it, it’s time to pull them out.
If you’re able, let them rest for about 5 to 10 minutes but when you get impatient and burn the roof of your mouth, you won’t be the first.. or the last. Totally worth it.
Options & Tweaks
- As always, add or remove what you like or don’t like. Cook for yourself and your crew.
- Careful with the coriander (cilantro). Some people love it, some only taste soap (it’s a genetic thing). Consider checking with your guests.
- Brush with some sweet bbq sauce a couple of minutes before pulling them out. Very popular option but we like ours more savoury. Maybe do half n’ half?
- You can put the jalapeno halves together before wrapping or battering, but we like the way the semi-exposed cheese picks up that charcoal flavour and bacon drips.