Today I am going to show you how I make one of my all time favorite snacks. The beauty or problem with this technique is that it lends itself to all kinds of flavor explosions and is only limited by your creativity.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 60 minutes
What you need for my basic ABT is pictured above and includes:
10 jalapenos at least, more if you plan on inviting me over
package of bacon – I find the thinner the better – pick your favorite brand
Your favorite rub – In this recipe I used butcher’s premium rub
Your favorite BBQ sauce – In this recipe I used Head Country
Salt & Pepper
Cream Cheese – Don’t you dare pick the lo-fat or reduced calorie version
Mexican blend of shredded cheese
Not pictured but makes a big difference is a pepper corer – they are relatively cheap and worth every penny
First thing I do is wash the peppers and cut in half making boats -Use a pepper corer to remove the seeds and innards of the pepper – the seeds provide the heat – be sure to not slice off the stems you want your boats to not have any hole so your stuffing does not ooze out when cooking – after cutting I sprinkle a little olive oil and salt and pepper in each boat
Next Combine equal parts cream cheese and shredded Mexican cheese and mix till you get an evenly mixed ball of cheese.
Fill each boat with the cheese mixture – Note that the cheese will expand when cooking so leave a little room at the top for the expansion
Apply coat of rub to the pepper boats
Wrap each boat with a half strip of bacon – To make the half strips remove all bacon from the package and cut in the middle of the bacon vertically- I find that the bacon adheres to the pepper much better the closer it is to room temperature. You do not need a toothpick if you do it this way. Now your boats are ready for the smoker – You can smoke these guys hot and fast – I generally will smoke in the 300-350 range for about 45-60 minutes they are done when the bacon is fully cooked through – I like to cook till the bacon is a little crisp the longer you cook the less heat the peppers will give off as well.
Once finished cooking – remove from the smoker and apply your favorite BBQ sauce put an even layer of sauce on the pepper boats and put back into the smoker for 10 minutes so that the sauce can set up and glaze the peppers. At this time I pour myself a glass of the coldest IPA I have and start dancing around the house in anticipation of docking a couple of these flavor boats into my mouth.
After 10 minutes with the sauce on they are ready to be enjoyed – I serve them straight up – I don’t think they need any more sauce or rub at this point but feel free to add again if you feel like they taste better with a last minute application of flavor – As I mentioned before there really is no limits to what you put inside your pepper as long as you wrap in bacon. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut your going to come out with something tasty if you follow this procedure – One little tip is if you decide to use meat in your stuffing be sure to poke a tiny hole in the bottom for the grease to drain otherwise you get an overly greasy pepper – If you find a combination of ingredients you like please share in the comments section – Enjoy!