The problem with grilling bacon jalapeño peppers on an outdoor grill is the bacon fat. A fun thing about bacon is that the fat will burst into flames and elevate your grill temp into the 800 degree range if you aren’t careful. It’s cool to see but ruins your peppers.
So why do it?… Why not just throw them in the oven like everybody else? Because flame broiling gives your poppers a depth of flavor that you just can’t get in an oven.
So, that said there is a right way to do this and a wrong way. Do it wrong and your peppers are blackened. Do it right and you get the best poppers ever. The notes below are some lessons I have learned on how to do it right.
Bacon Jalapeño Peppers Recipe Ingredients:
This recipe is packed with a pretty easy list of ingredients: cream cheese is the only one not actually in the title.
Jalapeño peppers –
Find some midsize peppers. You want to stuff these so don’t go with the smallest ones that you can find. However, keep in mind that the smaller the pepper the more flavor you will get. I shoot for mid size peppers around three inches long.
Philadelphia cream cheese –
I have experimented with goat cheese and other cheeses. Philly works the best so far.
Applewood smoked Bacon –
Bacon is where you really can make a difference in this recipe. Find some good applewood smoked bacon. Go thin sliced and nitrite free – this is health food. One final thing to keep in mind: Each pepper gives you two poppers, so you will need two slices of bacon per pepper. Thick sliced bacon has more fat and this means there is more potential for a raging inferno. Thick sliced bacon tastes better, but there is a trade off in potential flare ups.
Jalapeño Popper Outdoor Grilling Instructions:
The key to cooking bacon on the BBQ is indirect heat – flames and bacon equals grease fire so proper grill positioning is essential.
What is Indirect Heat?
One quick side conversation because this is the most important part. Indirect heat involves placing the food directly over a burner that is turned off. Another down-grill burner is used as a heat source and the circulating heat works like a convection oven.
Once the bacon wrapped peppers safely placed away from the direct fire, maintain the grill temp between 350-400 F for about 30-40 minutes. You are done when the outside of the cream cheese turns brown and looks like a perfectly roasted marshmallow.
Allow to cool before eating. The molten cream cheese can be dangerous.
Here are a couple of things that I have learned….
- Shorter grill time equals less “heat” from the pepper. Longer roast means more mellow pepper. You can dial this in to suit your taste.
- I have experimented with other cheeses (goat cheese, etc). Philly cream works the best so far. If you discover something better please tell me.
- Seeds are spicy. Leave some in for a little kick.
- Bacon Jalapeño Peppers pair nicely with Alaskan Amber beer… Actually, most of my favorite foods pair nicely with an Alaskan Amber.
One of my bucket list items is to become a highly capable backyard chef. I’ve been developing the Bacon Jalapeño Pepper technique for baseball games, campfires, and general snacking. If you have a backyard grilling recipe on par with this one I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment and share.