Spicy "Lil Smokie" Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
- 12 fresh jalapeno peppers
- 12 slices bacon
- 24 Little Smokies sausages
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- your favorite barbecue rub (or Cayenne plus Brown Sugar)
- favorite sweet barbecue sauce (cut with cran apple juice)
- you'll first want to wash and trim the jalapeno peppers.Chop the stem off and slice the pepper lengthwise to expose the seeds and vein. Using a spoon, scrape out the white vein and rinse under water to wash away the seeds. The cream cheese will ultimately counteract the burn from the peppers, so leave a good amount of the inner membrane in tact if you want to feel the heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, paprika and cayenne pepper. Using a butter knife, or a pastry bag, fill each jalapeno half with a generous portion of the cream cheese mixture.
- Top each one of the jalapeno "boats" with a little smokey.
- Wrap each of the smokey topped jalapenos with a half slice of bacon, making sure that the seam is directly on top of the little smokey. Secure the wrap by inserting a toothpick straight down through the overlapping edges of the bacon all the way through the little smokey. Stop just short of going through the pepper though, that way the cream cheese doesn't leak out through the hole.
- Since bacon already contains a good amount of sodium, you'll want to season the buffalo poppers with a sugar based rub. A nice blend of brown sugar and cayenne pepper works great on these bad boys as well.
- Cooking the poppers is a matter of getting the bacon done to your liking. My preference is smoke at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half. At this point the bacon isn't overly crispy, but it's definitely cooked enough to be bite through. If you prefer a crispier bacon, then I'd suggest kicking the temperature up to 300 degrees for about an hour. You'll want to keep a close eye on the peppers though. If they overcook, then they'll loose their stability and your poppers will spill out all over your smoker.
- once your poppers are cooked to your liking, remove them from the grill to cool down a bit before serving. At this point I would typically top them with a generous helping of Barbecue Sauce cut with a little cran-apple juice, but this time around I happened to have a bottle of hot raspberry sauce. I used this sauce a few weeks ago on some pulled pork sandwiches and was pleasantly surprised as to how well the raspberry flavor melded with the smoked pork, but this blew the sandwich out of the water. The flavor of the smokey jalapeno matches perfectly with the sweet fruity sauce, and of course it's heat is in good company with the medley of peppers tasted in each bite. A spoonful of sauce on each popper and you can guarantee these tasty treats will disappear in no time flat!