By the time February rolls around, so many of us who live where there are four seasons are fed up with being cooped up inside. Around here, we call that “Cabin Fever” and it can really get to you. Thank goodness there’s the Super Bowl to come along and give us an excuse to get outside, even if it’s just to cook a little bit. Football and tailgating go together naturally and the Super Bowl and Super Sunday, accurately described as a national holiday because of all the parties, just begs for grills and smokers to be fired up!
I’m not going to lie – I’m a fan of the cocktail weenies and chili/grape jelly sauce but how many Super Bowl parties have a crockpot of these things simmering? Most of them I’ve attended certainly have. Why not get creative and wow your friends? Using a grill and/or smoker, you can do just about anything that could be done on a stove top or your oven. Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos are one of my favorites. And since my team is in the playoffs this year, I’m feeling generous so here’s my recipe that’s always been a huge hit!
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos
25 large jalapeno peppers, fresh
Whipped cream cheese (I like onion and chive and garlic mixed)
2 or 3 pounds sliced bacon
1 pound pepper jack cheese
50 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled
Your favorite BBQ rub/seasoning
Mild or sweet barbecue sauce
Start by slicing the jalapenos lengthwise and removing the seeds and veins. If you prefer a hot pepper, leave some in as it’s the seeds and veins that add most of the heat. Remove the stem but do not cut the top off as it is needed to retain the cheese filling. Next, mix together the whipped cream cheeses and some of your barbecue rub/seasoning. Using a spoon or a piping bag, fill each jalapeno “boat” with the cream cheese. Next, lay a small slice of pepper jack cheese on top of the cream cheese, followed by a peeled shrimp. Sprinkle some BBQ rub over this. When done with the filling and toppings, wrap each pepper in a half slice of bacon and use a toothpick to hold in place. Sprinkle with a little more BBQ rub. I like to place all of these little gems on a shelf in a 250 degree smoker for about 45 minutes to get some nice smoked flavor on them. After that, I either crank up the heat to 300 degrees for a half hour to brown and crisp up the bacon or remove and place on a hot grill to do the same. If you don’t own a smoker, you can place them on a grill with charcoal offset from them and then if necessary, crisp the bacon by moving the peppers above the coals for a few minutes. Either on a smoker or a grill, finish by lightly glazing with a sweet barbecue sauce that offsets and compliments some of the heat in the pepper. One of my favorites is a charred pineapple sauce! This is an absolutely tasty and addicting appetizer!
If jalapenos aren’t your thing, try something less complicated (or hot!). I have had great reviews from just simply smoking a 2 pound bologna chub, adding some BBQ rub and sauce and then cutting into bite sized cubes. Then there’s always chicken wings. There are so many variations on this that the classic Buffalo style wing has been overshadowed. If you are already a barbecue fanatic and cook pulled pork, show up at a party with pulled pork nachos! Tortilla chips, pulled pork, a pepper jack cheese sauce and some barbecue sauce to top it off will have your friends in awe!
Hope you can enjoy some new and creative Super Sunday eats this year! Enjoy the game and go Broncos!