Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers are one of my favorite appetizers for cookouts or tailgates as they can be prepped in advanced then smoked the day of the event.
While I normally remove all of the seeds and the ribs within the jalapenos to reduce the level of heat in the peppers, I recently decided to mix things up a bit by keeping them intact in just a few of the poppers.
The result? I call it Russian Roulette Jalapeno Poppers with each guest selecting a popper then bite in to see if they're going mild or wild!
RUSSIAN ROULETTE JALAPENO POPPERS
18-24 medium or large jalapenos
1 scotch bonnet pepper, stem removed and finely chopped (optional if more heat is wanted)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup finely grated mozzarella
1/4 cup finely chopped smoked pork butt or smoked chicken
1/2 tsp. of your favorite BBQ dry rub seasoning
1 lb. bacon, cut crosswise into 2 sections
Jalapeno rack (this allows the peppers to cook upright and keep the stuffing from dripping out)
Prepare grill for 2-zone cooking (learn more about various charcoal set-ups here), placing preheated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill's charcoal grate to create a hot and a cool zone. Adjust the bottom vents to bring the grill temperature to approximately 350 degrees. Once the grill has come to temperature, add 2-3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal.
Remove the tops and stems from the jalapenos. Remove the seeds and ribs from the interior of all but 4 of the jalapenos by scrapping the interior of the pepper with the handle of a small kitchen spoon, leaving the seeds and ribs intact in the remaining peppers (note: if you want the 4 spicy peppers to be even hotter, add a small amount of chopped scotch bonnet peppers to the inside of those jalapenos prior to stuffing).
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, chopped pork or chicken, and the dry rub then blend well. Stuff the peppers with the cheese and meat mixture. Wrap the stuffed wrap each one with ½ slice of bacon and secure the bacon with a toothpick.
Place stuffed jalapenos into a jalapeno rack and set the rack on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and allow the poppers to cook for approximately 45 minutes until the bacon is completely crisped.
Remove and serve.