Barbecue season is upon us, and if you are still dealing with cold weather you can also roast these spicy/smokey/cheesy appetizers inside and they will still make you want to sip lemonade and swat at some bugs. Or whatever it is that you do at barbecues in your part of the world. Ours usually involve lemonade and bugs.
I came up with this twist on the basic grilled jalapeño popper when I got my first Stubb’s Insider package and saw the Original sauce in the box, along with some other goodies. I am once again trying to cut back on carbs, and Stubb’s Original is one of the lowest sugar sauces available that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners. Their sauces are also gluten-free, free of artificial colors and flavors, and made without high fructose corn syrup. The flavor is from natural ingredients, and it adds a touch of sweetness and a good punch of spice to the cheesy filling, without adding too many carbs. Look at these beauties:
That is some thick-cut bacon wrapped around the peppers (and mushrooms, at the bottom), which not only amps up the delicious factor, it also keeps the cheesy filling from falling out.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, divided
- 16-18 large, fresh jalapeno peppers (or a mix of peppers and large mushrooms)
- 8-9 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut in half
- In a small mixing bowl, mash together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and two tablespoons of the Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q sauce.
- Using a paring knife, cut a slit down the side of each pepper and scrape out as many of the seeds and ribs as you can without splitting the peppers open. Leave the stems intact. If using mushrooms, remove the stems and brush the mushrooms clean.
- Stuff each pepper and/or mushroom with the cheese mixture. Wrap with a piece of bacon to secure. If you are grilling the peppers, secure the bacon with skewers or toothpicks before grilling.
- To grill, place the peppers and mushrooms filled-side up on a medium-hot grill and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften and the bottom layer of bacon is cooked. Flip carefully and grill just until the top layer of bacon is cooked. Flip back over and brush with the remaining sauce and then serve hot.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 425 and arrange the peppers and/or mushrooms in a large baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush with the remaining sauce and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
This makes an addictive snack or, if you are like me and you love to eat appetizers as a whole meal, they make a great main course. Note that the heat level really depends on the peppers, so I always do a taste-test on one pepper to get a sense of how hot the batch might be. Peppers vary tremendously depending on the growing season and location.
Disclosure: As a Stubb’s Insider I receive free sample products for recipe testing purposes, but I am not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own, and are genuine.