Authors Karen Adler and Judith Fertig are wondering, “How does your garden grill?” Celebrate your garden harvest by grilling, roasting and smoking to perfection each fruit and vegetable with their new cookbook, The Gardener & the Grill (Running Press, 2012). Grilling what you grow gives you twice the sense of accomplishment, so check out this savory recipe for smoked jalapeño poppers taken from Chapter 2, “Appetizers.”
Adapted from a recipe by Ardie Davis, known in barbecue circles as Remus Powers, Ph.B., these little bites are addictive. This technique works for smaller peppers of all kinds, so make this recipe when you have plenty in the garden. You can use a special metal chile pepper rack or simply re-use a cardboard egg carton to hold the peppers upright as they smoke. While your poppers are smoking, get some weeding or watering done.
Mesquite-Smoked Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
1/2 cup mesquite wood chips
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 large jalapeño or other mildly hot chile peppers (red or green), cored and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6 thin slices smoked bacon, cut in half (twelve 4-inches pieces)
Prepare a medium-hot fire on one side of your grill for indirect cooking. If you have a charcoal grill, soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes before smoking; if you have a gas grill, place dry wood chips in your grill’s metal smoker box or fashion an aluminum foil packet, enclose the dry chips, and poke holes in the top of the foil.
Combine the cream cheese and cheddar until well blended. Stuff the peppers with this mixture. Wrap a half slice of bacon over the top of each stuffed jalapeño and secure with a toothpick. Place the stuffed and wrapped peppers in an egg carton or metal popper rack.
When ready to grill, drain then scatter the soaked wood chips on the charcoal fire, replace the grill rack, and place the peppers on the indirect (or no-fire) side. For a gas grill, place the packet of dry wood chips in the back of a gas grill over direct heat; place the peppers on the indirect (or no-fire) side. Close the lid and smoke for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the bacon has crisped and the peppers have a burnished appearance and a smoky aroma.
Read more: Try more seed-to-table grilled appetizer recipes that will bring out the robust flavors of your garden harvest in Great Grilled Appetizers.
Reprinted with permission from THE GARDENER & THE GRILL, © 2012 by Karen Adler & Judith Fertig, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.