Smoked Jalapeno Poppers on a Pellet Grill

The perfect appetizer for game day gatherings and summer cookouts, pellet grilled smoked jalapeno poppers offers a tasty contrast of textures and tastes, from crisp bacon to spicy jalapeño and the gooey, cheesy pimento cheese filling.

Cast iron plate with seven bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers garnished with sliced green onions.

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I have to give The Husband credit for this creation. Shortly after buying his Traeger pellet grill last spring, he suggested a smoked jalapeno poppers recipe on the Traeger stuffed with this recipe for chipotle pimento cheese. It took several test rounds and lots of taste testing, but I’m proud to say we’ve finally perfected the recipe. 

I love the combination of smoky flavor imparted by the wood pellets and the rich, creamy and slightly spicy filling. Together they create an irresistible appetizer that tantalizes the taste buds and promises to be the crowd-pleasing highlight of any summertime backyard barbecue.

Ingredients and tools you will need

With a few simple ingredients, you will have this easy appetizer whipped up in no time. To make this smoked jalapeño poppers recipe, you will need: 

  • 1 pound of your favorite bacon, divided – I prefer thin cut bacon rather than thick cut bacon. Thick cut is harder to wrap around the pepper and takes longer to cook.
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened – set the cream cheese out on the counter for about 30 minutes prior. It will make the cheese easier to mix later.
  • 1/2 pound smoked cheddar cheese, grated – I really like the added smoky flavor from the cheese, but if you can’t find smoked cheddar, substitute it with sharp cheddar cheese.
  • 2 cups mayonnaise – if you’re feeling crafty, try making your own mayonnaise from scratch. It’s easier than you think.
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped – chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeños, typically canned whole in a zesty sauce made from pureed chiles, tomatoes, vinegar, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices. They are usually located in the international aisle of the grocery store, alongside other Latin American foods. It gives the pimento cheese a little extra kick
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped – basically include everything but the root.
  • 1 teaspoon diced pimentos
  • Six medium whole fresh jalapeño peppers
  • Pellet smoker – we use a Traeger Ironwood 650.
  • Rubber or nitrile gloves – I strongly recommend using gloves when cutting and removing the seeds from the jalapeño peppers. Latex gloves will also work unless you are serving these to someone with a latex allergy.
  • Toothpicks
Collage of ingredients needed to make jalapeno poppers.

Make the pimento cheese 

  1. Set aside six slices of bacon. Cook the remaining bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on a layer of paper towels until cooled, then chop.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, smoked cheddar, cooked and chopped bacon, mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, green onions and diced pimentos.
  3. Mix until the ingredients are evenly combined. 
  4. Set the cream cheese mixture aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

How to cut a jalapeño pepper

Jalapeños contain capsaicin, an extract that causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with the skin. It’s what gives a chili pepper its heat. You may think you can handle cutting six jalapeno peppers without gloves, and maybe you can. But here’s the thing … the extract absorbs into the skin. 

Even if you wash your hands immediately after preparing the jalapeños, you may not have washed away all the capsaicin. It can continue to remain on the skin for hours afterward. Now imagine if you touch other parts of your body, like your eyes, nose or, you know, other parts of your body. Things will get very uncomfortable really quickly. Don’t believe me? Ask The Husband. Wear gloves while prepping the jalapeños, avoid touching your face while wearing the gloves and discard the gloves immediately afterwards.

Using a sharp paring knife, cut the jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise. Don’t remove the stem end, we need it to help hold the peppers’ shape. 

Using a teaspoon, remove and discard the seeds and the white membrane that lines the inside of the jalapeño half. The seeds and membrane hold the largest concentration of capsaicin. If you want a bit more heat, just remove the seeds (because no one wants to bite into a seed).

How to make smoked jalapeño poppers on a pellet grill

  1. Preheat the pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn on Supersmoke.
  2. Spoon about one tablespoon of the jalapeño popper filling into each of the jalapeno halves. You may use more or less of the filling mixture depending on the size of your peppers. 
  3. Cut the remaining six uncooked bacon strips in half width-wise. Wrap each jalapeño in one half slice of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
  4. Place the stuffed jalapeños directly on the wire rack and smoke for one hour until the bacon is set and the cheese is melted. Remove the toothpicks and serve the jalapeño peppers hot.

Storage instructions

Store any leftover smoked bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat within five days.

Frequently asked questions

Can jalapeño poppers be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the jalapeño poppers a couple of days in advance. Cover the peppers with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. For best results, allow the peppers to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to smoking to take the chill off.

Can you freeze jalapeño poppers?

No. I have not had luck freezing the pimento cheese. Once thawed, it separates and becomes watery and clumpy. The pimento cheese will still taste the same, but freezing negatively affects the texture.

Can I use a different type of pepper?

Yes. Any pepper that is large enough to be cut in half and hold the pimento cheese can be used as a substitute. You can also use sweet peppers instead of hot peppers.

What pellets should I use to smoke jalapeño poppers?

We used the Trager Signature Blend, but apple, hickory, or pecan pellets would also complement the flavor of the smoked poppers.

Cast iron plate with seven bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers garnished with sliced green onions.
Cast iron plate with seven bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers garnished with sliced green onions.

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers on a Pellet Grill

Perfect for gatherings and cookouts, pellet grilled smoked jalapeño poppers offers a tasty contrast of textures and tastes, from crisp bacon to spicy jalapeño and the gooey, cheesy pimento cheese filling.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 poppers
Calories: 42kcal
Author: Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 pound smoked cheddar grated
  • 1 pound bacon divided
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped
  • 1 green onion white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon diced pimentos
  • 6 medium whole fresh jalapeño peppers

Instructions

  • Set aside six slices of bacon. Cook the remaining bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels until cool, then chop.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, smoked cheddar, cooked and chopped bacon, mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, green onions, and pimentos. Mix until the ingredients are evenly combined. Set the filling aside.
  • Slice the jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and white inner membrane.
  • Spoon one tablespoon of the pimento cheese into each jalapeño pepper half.
  • Cut the remaining bacon in half width-wise.
  • Wrap each jalapeño in one half-strip of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
  • Preheat the pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn on Supersmoke.
  • Place the jalapeños directly on the grill grate and smoke for one hour until the bacon is set and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the toothpicks from the poppers and serve hot.

Video

Notes

Storage instructions
Store any leftover smoked bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat within five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 jalapeno | Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.9g | Protein: 0.8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 0.8mg | Fiber: 0.2g

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