Smoked Jalapeño Poppers [Bacon & Cheese]

Smoked jalapeño poppers made with a bacon and cheese filling before smoked over hickory wood fire. This simple barbecue appetizer recipe will be an instant hit at your next backyard cook-off.

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers [Bacon & Cheese]

This easy smoked jalapeño poppers recipe takes everything you love about the classic appetizer and dials it up to eleven by cooking them on your outdoor smoker. Starring smoked thick-cut bacon and melted cheese filling, this delicious barbecue recipe infuses wood-fire smoke into this addictive finger food dish.

This is one of our best smoked appetizers, and it’s easy to see why. From preparing the ultimate BBQ dry rub to choosing the perfect smoking wood, here’s how to make smoked jalapeño poppers from scratch. Let’s get smoking.

barbecue smoked jalapeno poppers

Filling

Our jalapeño popper filling is made with delicious cream cheese and shredded cheddar, mixed with chopped crispy bacon and a smoky-sweet dry rub (ingredients in the recipe below). This ingredient combination delivers the perfect balance of creamy filling with sweetness to match the jalapeño’s natural heat.

If you would prefer to use a store-bought rub, I recommend either Hey Grill Hey’s signature sweet rub or Hardcore Carnivore’s Tex Mex seasoning. (Note: Neither of these is an affiliate link and we do not earn a commission from any purchases made via these links – I just love their stuff!)

Most barbecue popper recipes call for wrapping the bacon around the poppers before smoking. In our experience this can create a lot of fatty run-off in your smoker, creating a lot of mess and sometimes flare-ups if using a grill. More importantly, however, it can stop your bacon from turning crispy. To get around this, we pre-smoke the bacon to crispy, then chop it up and serve it in our cream cheese filling.

Smoking Wood

For this quick recipe, we use hickory wood. While hickory is a robust smoking wood that releases thick smoke and a strong aroma, the short cook time of this recipe means we need something powerful that can impart plenty of flavor in a short space of time.

If you want something milder, try blending applewood with a couple of hickory chunks to impart a balance of fruitwood with traditional barbecue smoke.

barbecue smoked jalapeno poppers

Quick Tips

  1. To keep your poppers mild and low in spice, soak the jalapeño peppers in cold water for 30 minutes after you’ve removed the seeds and membrane. Remember to pat them dry before smoking.
  2. Ingredient preparation slowing you down? Use a melon baller to make light work of stripping the insides out of the peppers.
  3. When smoking your bacon try cranking up the heat to at least 400°F (205°C) for the final 10 minutes to turn it crispy.
barbecue smoked jalapeno poppers
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Smoked Jalapeño Poppers

Smoked jalapeño poppers made with a bacon and cheese filling before smoked over hickory wood fire. This simple barbecue appetizer recipe will be an instant hit at your next backyard cook-off.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, BBQ
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 12 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Dry Rub

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker to 300°F (150°C)
  • Place bacon on smoker grates. Close lid and smoke for 30 minutes.
  • Remove bacon from smoker and place on a wire rack to cool. Reduce smoker temperature to 250°F (120°C).
  • Slice jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a small spoon.
  • In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Mix with a fork, crushing any lumps that may form.
  • Cut the smoked bacon into small squares or chunks
  • In a medium-size bowl, mix the cream cheese, grated cheese, smoked bacon pieces, and dry rub. Combine thoroughly.
  • Spoon the bacon and cheese filling into each jalapeño pepper half.
  • Arrange the peppers on the wire rack, leaving space between each pepper. Sprinkle the peppers with crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Place the wire rack on smoker grates. Add hickory wood chips to coals or wood tray and close lid. Smoke for 30-40 minutes until cheese has melted and peppers have softened.
  • Remove jalapeño poppers from the smoker and enjoy immediately

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