Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

It's hard to think of a better appetizer that's bursting with flavor than bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers. A spicy pepper stuffed with cheese held together by bacon and grilled is high on the list of delicious flavors. This recipe by recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate is a delicious take on the classic finger food. Each popper is coated with the perfect contrast of a sweet and smokey glaze. Matched with the creamy cheese filling and the salty bacon, this popper recipe is sure to impress any of your dinner guests.

Everything in the recipe can be cooked up on a grill, making these jalapeño poppers the ideal snack for a barbecue gathering. They might look like a lot of work, but Rapone breaks down each step carefully for this straightforward recipe. Rapone remarks that these heavenly poppers "are a great appetizer, or great for BBQ with a big buffet." If you include them in a spread, they're sure to be the star dish. Thanks to their mouthwatering nature, chances are, you won't even have to deal with leftovers!

Gather the ingredients to prepare these bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers

You'll need a handful of ingredients for the poppers and a few more items for the glaze. Jalapeños are the classic pepper to use for this dish. Depending on their maturity, jalapeños may be more or less spicy, but the majority of the spiciness will be removed along with the seeds.

For the filling, you'll need some cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and smoked paprika or chili powder for an extra kick. The mix of cheeses means that you'll get both a creamy texture and some oozing melted cheese once the poppers are grilled. If you want to try another type of cheese, Rapone remarks, "A shredded Mexican blend would also be delicious." Next, you'll need regular cut bacon to wrap the poppers. This thickness is best to prevent any breakage on the grill.

Rapone keeps things simple with the glaze by using BBQ sauce and grape jelly. The two blend together perfectly, with the sweet tang from the jelly well balanced by the smoky aromas in the BBQ sauce. Both have plenty of sugars to create a caramelization effect once the poppers are covered with glaze and heated on the grill.

Soak the toothpicks, and prepare the jalapeños

To start, place 12 toothpicks in a small bowl with water in order for them to soak. Rapone points out that this step is useful "so they don't catch fire on the grill." As well, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator so it can begin to soften. Next, cut the tops off of the jalapeños, and then slice them in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon or your hands, scoop out the ribs and the seeds. Most definitely take Rapone's advice to avoid touching your face with capsaicin covered fingers: "I recommend wearing food-safe gloves for this step!" 

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and smoked paprika

Set out a medium-sized bowl, and add in the block of cream cheese, the shredded cheddar cheese, and the smoked paprika or chili powder. Mix the two cheeses and the paprika thoroughly until you have a mixture that resembles a smooth mash. The shredded cheese should be uniformly spread throughout so that it cooks evenly once the stuffed peppers are grilled. Prepare the bacon for the next step by cutting each slice in half. 

Fill the jalapeños with the cheese mixture, and wrap them with bacon

One by one, fill each jalapeño pepper with the cheese mixture. Be careful not to overstuff them, or you will have plenty of cheese to clean up on your grill. Next, place the bacon flat on the cheese side of the jalapeño, wrap the pepper, securing it with a toothpick. For best results, Rapone recommends, "Try to wrap the bacon at an angle so it covers as much of the cheese mixture on the open side as possible." Continue wrapping the jalapeños until they are all ready.

Place the poppers on your grill on medium-high heat

Rapone indicates that it's important for "the grill to be as clean as possible", so turn the heat to maximum to start. She explains, "The heat burns anything stuck, and then you scrape off the excess."

Once your grill is nice and clean, reduce the heat to medium-high, and carefully place all of the poppers on the grill cheese side up. Grill them for three minutes, then flip them and grill them for another three to five minutes. The bacon should start to become crispy on the outside, but Rapone advises to be sure that "you aren't losing oozy cheese." Flip the poppers once more, moving them to indirect heat, and reduce the grill to low. Cook the poppers for an additional 10 minutes at lower heat.

Stay close to the grill throughout the process, as Rapone cautions, "Watch the bacon grease drippings to make sure you don't end up with a fire in the bottom of the grill."

While the poppers grill, mix the BBQ sauce and grape jelly in a small pot until smooth

Meanwhile, place a small pot on the grill on low heat, and add the BBQ sauce and grape jelly to it. Using a whisk, mix the two sauces on low heat, and simmer them until they combine into a smooth glaze. The glaze should take about 10 minutes to blend properly. You will use some for glazing the poppers and the rest as a dip once the poppers are ready.

Brush the poppers with glaze, and cook for five minutes

Using a basting brush, spread the glaze carefully onto all of the poppers so that they can absorb the maximum flavor. Continue cooking them on the grill for another five minutes or so. During this time, the sugars in the glaze will have the chance to caramelize and blend into the bacon exterior. Once the glaze has properly coated all of the poppers, turn off the grill, and remove them from heat.

Serve these delicious bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers

Place the glazed bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers on a plate with the remaining glaze on the side as a dipping sauce. Allow them to cool since the cheese will still be quite hot on the inside. Once they are less likely to scald your palate, dig into these decadent poppers. Rapone points out that, "They are good hot or [at] room temperature," so you don't have to rush to finish them all at once.

Follow Rapone's advice, and serve these at your next barbecue or as an appetizer to get the party started. They're especially convenient to make if you are already using the grill for other food. Serve them along with coleslaw or potato salad for a full meal, or have a couple, and move onto your main. Be warned though — these are called poppers for a reason — they're far too easy to pop into your mouth!

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
4.9 from 10 ratings
Each jalapeño popper is coated with the perfect contrast of a sweet and smokey glaze. Matched with a cheesy filling and bacon, this recipe is sure to impress.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
12
poppers
jalapeno popper on fork
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 fresh jalapeños
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, (or chili powder, if you want it spicier)
  • 6 slices bacon (regular thickness)
  • ⅔ cup BBQ sauce
  • ⅓ cup grape jelly
Directions
  1. Remove the cream cheese from the fridge so that it starts to soften.
  2. Soak 12 toothpicks in a bowl with water to use later for securing the bacon.
  3. Wash the jalapeños, and cut the stem ends off. Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise, then remove the seeds and ribs with your hands, or scoop out with a spoon. (Wear food-safe gloves for this step.)
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and smoked paprika.
  5. Cut the bacon slices in half.
  6. Fill the jalapeño halves with the cheese mixture. Then, wrap the jalapeños in bacon, and secure them each with a toothpick.
  7. Heat up your grill, and scrape it clean. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  8. Place the poppers on the grill cut side up, and grill for 3 minutes. Flip them carefully, and grill for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the bacon begins to crisp, but before you start to lose any oozy cheese. Flip the poppers again, and move them to indirect heat. Reduce the grill to low, and cook the poppers for another 10 minutes.
  9. While the poppers finish cooking, combine the BBQ sauce and the grape jelly in a small pot. Place the pot on the grill on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring until the mixture is simmering and smooth.
  10. When the poppers and sauce are ready, use a basting brush to glaze the poppers with the sauce.
  11. Cook the glazed poppers for another 5 minutes.
  12. Remove the poppers from the grill, and serve them with the remaining sauce on the side.
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