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Wingin’ It: Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers for Bills vs. Cowboys

A refined take on an all-time classic

Buffalo Rumblings regulars know the drill. But for the new Buffalo Bills fans circling the wagons with us, we’re about more than just football here. Need something exciting for this week’s game day chow line? Wingin’ It brings you a themed recipe for every regular-season and postseason Bills game. Like this one...


Wingin it jalapeño popper

The week’s suggestion comes from the Bennett family via email. Thank you to Opal, Abby, and Matt. Buff-burgh-adelphia gets honorable mention here for the same concept, but with cherry peppers (which would also likely work here). Jalapeño poppers already have the heat element I often lean toward, so the big question is how did I make this my own variation? Well folks, I’m really not a fan of cream cheese. So, instead, these have a thickened cheddar sauce with a little extra pop of heat.


Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Serves: 4-6
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
13 cup milk
8 oz cheddar cheese, cut in 3-4 chunks
1 Tbsp hot sauce
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
About 10 jalapeño peppers, sliced lengthwise (de-seeded if desired)
Bacon slices (one per pepper)

You’ll need: Saucepan, foil, skewers, a grill (I don’t care that it’s December), food safe gloves recommended

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on MED.
  2. Stir in flour; allow to lightly brown, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour in milk a little at a time, making sure to stir in completely.
  4. Add cheese and allow to melt in, stirring frequently.
  5. Add hot sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool to working temperature (aka “won’t burn you”).
  6. Spoon cheese filling carefully into sliced peppers (see below for slicing tutorial).
  7. Prepare skewers: Pierce one end of a bacon slice and then into the pepper (but not all the way through) using a skewer. Wrap bacon tightly around pepper, leaving the non-skewered end of the bacon slice at the end of the pepper. Repeat step 7 for additional skewers. Repeat entire process in step 7 to add second wrapped pepper to each skewer.
  8. Cook skewers: Grill over foil on MED-HIGH heat until bacon is desired doneness, roughly 20 min; rotate periodically for an even cook.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

I know I’ve given pictures and tips on making roux before, but rather than have you search for an old article on the matter, it’s much easier to just snap a couple pictures and embed it. The first picture is right after stirring the flour into the melted butter. The second is the level of golden brown I aimed for with this sauce. Make sure to have the milk at the ready to stop it from burning. If you’re worried about that, for the record you can start adding milk as soon as the flour is mixed in, but browning it does enhance flavor.

Next up is the slicing technique I promised up above. I left the stems on to give a handle of sorts after they come off the skewers. Note the diagonal cut. I did this to make the end result easier, and it allows them to stay together better. The angled cut allowed me to skewer dead-center through the ends and find purpose without splitting the pepper further than I intended.

The following picture shows the cut after splaying the pepper open a bit — and also the fact that I left the seeds in (seeds add more heat). Picture five is with the cheese sauce added in and the first stage of the skewering.

You probably don’t need a picture of two poppers per skewer on foil, but it was a good reminder for me to discuss the reason for foil on this one. I used bamboo skewers. The foil deflects heat enough to prevent them from igniting. If you want crispier bacon and food ready faster, direct grilling should be fine — but swap out the bamboo for steel. With either skewer type, make sure to have an appropriate tool to rotate as either option will be too hot to bare-hand it and twist.