Smoked Jalapeno Poppers are an easy appetizer full of cheese and chorizo wrapped in crispy bacon goodness! A quick side dish that can go on the smoker or the grill and done in about 45 minutes!
How to pick spicy or not spicy jalapenos
The older and bigger the pepper is the spicier it will be. Thin lines that show cracking are a sure give away to tell this. You can think of those as stress lines really because it probably wasn't watered much during growing. The younger the jalapeno with smooth clear skin will be milder.
If you want to turn up the heat then pick a big red or green pepper with lots of crack lines. If not, then go for the baby ones.
There are just a few simple ingredients that you'll need for this recipe.
- Jalapenos - I usually use 12 which will yield 24 appetizers.
- Bacon - a pound of bacon, and it doesn't have to be super expensive. You may have a few pieces leftover but you'll want to throw them on the smoker to cook with the poppers for a delicious treat.
- Cream Cheese - one block of full fat or reduced fat cream cheese.
- Chorizo - I'm talkin' the cheap kind in plastic casing, not the harder kind you slice.
- Cheddar Cheese - this is an optional ingredient, and it's not pictured as I don't use it in my recipe. However, if you enjoy it there's no reason not to add it in! 🙂
Jalapeno poppers are easy to make, and can be fully prepped ahead in advance. You can also prep part of the dish as well the night before. I use nitrile gloves when working with jalapenos to keep the capcaisin off my hands.
If not using gloves then follow one of the methods at the Kitchn to remove this from your skin safely.
We like to use oak or apple wood for smoking these.
- Set the cream cheese out to soften.
- Cut the tops off the jalapenos, and cut in half lengthwise. If you're using a popper stand then just cut off the tops.
- Remove the membrane and seeds from inside. Set aside to mix the filling. You can do this as a prep step the day before, and then store in a plastic bag.
- Combine the softened cream cheese and chorizo in a bowl until mixed thoroughly with a spoon or hand mixer. If using shredded cheddar cheese add this in as well.
- Cut your bacon in half. You can use full strips but they take longer to cook, and a half strip is more than enough to cover most jalapenos.
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the jalapeno, and then wrap with bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
- Cook in a smoker at 225-degrees for about 45 minutes or until the bacon is crisped to your liking.
Can I make this in the oven or grill?
Yes, for the oven just preheat to 350-degrees. Place the prepared poppers on a baking sheet. Cook about 30 minutes or until the bacon is done to your liking.
For the grill, preheat to 350-degrees with one or two burners on. Cook the poppers on indirect heat for about thirty minutes or until the bacon is done. Add a smoker box over the direct hit to give them a few smoky notes.
Easy Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
- 12 jalapenos cut in half, membranes and seeds removed
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened, full or reduced fat
- 2 links Chorizo cheap ones in plastic casings
- 1 pound bacon strips cut in half
- Soften cream cheese, and mix with chorizo.
- Cut jalapeno's in half. Remove seeds and membrane.
- Fill each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture.
- Wrap each jalapeno popper with bacon, and secure in place with toothpick.
- Preheat smoker to 225-degrees, and place jalapeno poppers in smoker for about thirty minutes or until bacon is cooked.
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place jalapeno poppers on baking sheet, and cook for about thirty minutes or until bacon is done.
- Preheat grill to 350-degrees. Leave one or two burners on, and place jalapeno poppers on top shelf for indirect cooking. Cook about thirty minutes or until bacon is done. If desired add a smoker box over direct heat to add a smoky flavor.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days.