Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recipe #2 - Appetizer - Stuffed Peppers

The original source for this recipe is inspired from one of those TV traveling BBQ joints shows. You know the type, usually 4 or 5 different places visited in the hour; each one showing a different specialty. Well, I was intrigued by the stuffed pepper appetizer shown. Sadly, I did not know at the time that I would be wanting to chronicle my experiments, and can not remember the name of the pitmaster or the restaurant that featured this gem. On the show, he simply took a jalapeno, cut the top off, cored the white stuff and seeds out (Those are the two REALLY hot items in a pepper). stuff with softened cream cheese and smoke for an hour and a half at 225-250 degrees.

A very simple recipe, that I have altered a bit and made it my own...

18 Sweet Peppers

6 HOT Jalapeno Peppers

2 packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

12 slices of Bacon (cut in half, so 24 half slices of bacon)

This will make 36 tidbits, as some of them will be cut in half. I make extras, as these are among my wife's favorite things for leftovers.

OK...take 6 of the sweet peppers and the 6 hot peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Cut them so that they lay flat easier. Peppers have a natural curve to them. Cutting show the curve shows pretty (like the "Chile's" logo pepper) makes both sides lay flat. Cut out the white stuff and remove the seeds. Next, stuff with the cream cheese and wrap the bacon around the pepper. They can go directly on the grate of the smoker.

Take the remaining 12 sweet peppers, cut the tops off, core and de-seed them, stuff them with the cheese. My wife bought me a special holder that i can put them in when smoking so that they stay up right and each are separated so the peppers smoke evenly. If you are not as fortunate as I to have a wife that buys you toys, you can take a small cupcake tin and stand up 3 in each "cup". This works OK, but the skins where they touch will have a different consistancy than the skins that are exposed. This is not bad, just different.

Smoke these for 1 and 1/2 hours at 225 to 250 degrees. The cream cheese will absorbe the smoke taste VERY well. I use a nutty pecan wood for these, and the taste really explodes. When you are smoking the bacon, be sure your temperatures stay high. I have had these a little undercooked, and they are better when the bacon is well smoked. Again, when I smoke, I take my meat out about 2 hours prior to serving, wrap in foil and let it settle in a cooler. this frees up the smoker for the appetizers and lets you take something out of the cooker when your guests arrive. Gives them something to eat while you are making the presentation of and cutting of the meat.

Good luck, these are great!

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