Grilled Jalapeño Poppers are the perfect game day food, whether you’re tailgating or watching the big game from home. This is an appetizer that is easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser.
Jalapeño poppers are such a perfect appetizer for me. It checks so many of my boxes when it comes to my favorites.
Can I grill it? Check.
And as an added bonus, jalapeños are vegetables so you can basically tell yourself you’re eating something healthy. (You’d be lying, but you’re welcome to tell yourself that anyway.)
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How to Make Smoked Jalapeño Poppers
Preparing the Jalapeños
If you’ve ever handled jalapeños and then later rubbed your eye or touched a paper cut, you know the pain that can be brought by the oils left behind on your hands.
I’ve learned the hard way to handle jalapeños with caution. Believe me.
Anymore, I’m sure to always wear nitrile gloves when preparing jalapeños or hot peppers of any kind.
To prepare the jalapeños, I simply cut off the end (or you could even leave it on if you’d like), then slice it down the middle length wise. Then I grab a small spoon and use that to scrape the seeds and membrane out of the inside of the pepper.
While I do like spicy foods, even I have a limit on how much heat I can tolerate, so I try to be very thorough in the removal of the seeds since leaving them in will greatly increase the spice factor of this dish.
Preparing the Filling
You’ll want to leave your cream cheese out on the counter for a good 30 minutes before fixing this recipe unless your microwave has the same cool “soften” function that ours does.
Mix the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, green onion, garlic powder and onion powder in a medium bowl until all the ingredients are fully blended together.
Stuffing the Peppers
The way I see it, you have two options here.
- Use a spoon to distribute the cheese filling into the jalapeño halves.
- Pipe the filling into the jalapeño halves with a zip top bag.
I know that going with the piping option might seem like an unnecessary extra step, but you have to admit that it’s a lot more fun to fill jalapeño poppers this way than a plain old boring spoon.
Wrapping the Jalapeño Poppers
Each popper will get wrapped with ½ a slice of bacon. I start with one end of the bacon on the bottom of the pepper and then wrap the rest of the slice around the pepper, being sure to tuck the start in with more bacon so that it doesn’t unravel on the grill.
Once they’re all wrapped, give them a generous dusting of BBQ rub.
Grilling Jalapeño Poppers
We smoked our jalapeño poppers on our Country Smokers Traveler portable pellet grill. We heated the grill up to 400 degrees using Pit Boss fruit blend pellets.
We placed the jalapeño poppers directly on the grill grate over indirect heat, where we left them for about 20-25 minutes until the bacon was nice and crispy and the cheese was bubbling.
Can Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers Be Made Ahead of Time?
As much fun as it is to grill food on location like camping or tailgating, the preparation of those recipes can sometimes be a challenge or maybe even feel like more hassle than it’s worth.
Good news. Go ahead and prepare these jalapeño poppers up to a day in advance and stick them in an airtight container in the fridge or cooler. All the prep work will be done ahead of time and all you’ll have left to do is grill them up.
You’ll be able to enjoy the taste and texture of freshly grilled jalapeño poppers without the bacon wrapped jalapeño hands and limited options for washing up.
What if Jalapeños are Too Spicy?
Honestly, I’m the only one in my family that can handle jalapeño peppers. But we’ve learned that the little red, yellow, and orange sweet peppers make a perfect substitution for the jalapeños in this recipe. So when we whip up a batch of these, we always make half with jalapeños and half with sweet peppers.
Grilled Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
Grilled Jalapeño Poppers
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- ⅛ cup green onion sliced
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 6 jalapeño peppers
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 Tb BBQ rub
- Allow your cream cheese to soften on your counter for at least 30 minutes before beginning.
- Heat up your grill or smoker for indirect heat around 400°
- Blend the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, green onion, garlic powder and onion powder in a medium bowl until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Cut the tops off of the peppers and slice them in half from top to bottom. Use a spoon to scrape the seeds out of the middle.
- Transfer the cheese mixture into a zip top bag and snip off a bottom corner of the bag with scissors. Use this as a piping bag to easily pipe the cream cheese filling into each of the pepper boats.
- Cut the bacon slices in 1/2. Wrap each 1/2 slice of bacon around a stuffed jalapeño half.
- Sprinkle BBQ rub all over the tops of the jalapeño poppers.
- Transfer the jalapeño poppers directly to the grill grate over indirect heat for about 20-25 minutes.
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