Use up your leftover brisket in this easy smoked jalapeno poppers recipe, aka, "Texas Twinkies"!
Texas Twinkies are not the Hostess cakes you gobbled as a kid or found fried on a stick at the fair. These smoked jalapeño poppers, sometimes also called Texas Torpedoes, are stuffed with meat and cheese, and then wrapped in bacon. Finished with a bbq glaze for a delicious and fun party appetizer.
You may be wondering what is a jalapeno popper? Simply put, they are hallowed out jalapeños cooked with a creamy cheese stuffing. You can smoke them, grill them, or bake them!
(full printable recipe at end of post)
Jalapeno poppers typically include some sort of cheese mix. Almost every month Ben smokes a brisket, so we like to mix in our leftovers into a cream cheese mixture for these stuffed peppers.
Here's what you need:
- Fresh jalapeño peppers -- Grab the larger jumbo sized jalapeno peppers if you can. Bonus points if the stem is still on for aesthetics!
- Cream cheese -- You only need 4 ounces, or half a block. If you double the recipe, use the whole 8 ounces.
- Pepper jack cheese -- We prefer to shred our own, because it melts better and not as greasy. But a bag of shredded works, too! You need 1 cup shredded.
- Slices Bacon -- Each jalapeno will take about 1 and ½ slices of bacon. We like the hickory smoked thick-cut slices but use your favorite.
- Chopped Brisket -- It takes about 1 cup, but this measurement is give or take depending on how big your jalapenos and how much meat you want in the mixture.
- Barbecue sauce -- The last step in the recipe is to glaze each popper with bbq sauce. Again, use your favorite!
How to Make Smoked Jalapenos
For this recipe, you will need a sharp paring knife, cutting board, medium bowl, small spoon, large rimmed baking sheet, wire cooling rack, toothpicks, foil and a pastry brush.
Scroll to the end of this post for the full detailed instructions. The general steps are as follows.
- Slice a vertical cut into each jalapeno without cutting all the way through.
- Use a spoon to clean out the seeds and membranes. Wash your hands (or wear latex gloves).
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and meat.
- Stuff the inside of jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mixture, then wrap with bacon. Hold together with a toothpick.
- Continue with oven or pellet grills directions.
Place stuffed jalapenos on a preheated 375°F smoker or grill. Cook for 45 minutes. Slather with bbq sauce. Grill another 15 minutes, or remove and quickly place in preheated broiler.
Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Top with wire rack. Place jalapenos in single layer on wire rack. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Glaze with bbq sauce. Adjust temperature to high broil. Broil jalapenos for 1 minute until glaze is thickened and sticky.
Try adding different spices, like garlic powder, paprika or black pepper to the cream cheese mixture for varied flavors. Mix in cheddar cheese, or use a different protein, like smoked chicken or pork!
How do you get the heat out of jalapenos?
If jalapenos are too spicy for you, you can reduce the spice level with a few simple steps:
To reduce the heat of jalapenos, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the de-seeded jalapenos. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain immediately in a colander and run cold water over the jalapenos. Dry with a paper towel and continue with the recipe directions.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes! You can assemble the stuffed jalapenos up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge until ready to bake or grill.
How do I store Jalapeno Poppers?
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. I do not recommend storing in the freezer.
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This recipe was originally published June 2022.
Smoked Jalapeno Poppers (Texas Twinkies)
- paring knife
- Cutting board
- 10 large fresh jalapenos
- 4 oz. cream cheese , softened at room temperature
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 15 slices uncooked bacon , preferably thick-cut
- 1 cup leftover chopped brisket
- your favorite smoky bbq sauce
- Using a sharp paring knife, slice a vertical line into each jalapeno, keeping both halves attached. Use a spoon to clean out the seeds and the white membrane. (See notes for optional step to reduce heat of jalapenos.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and chopped brisket.
- Divide mixture evenly into each jalapeno (overstuffing each one if you can.) Wrap 1 and ½ pieces of bacon around each stuffed jalapeno, securing with 1 or 2 toothpicks.
- Oven directions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil, place wire rack on top. Evenly place jalapenos onto rack. Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven, set oven to high broil. Brush jalapenos with bbq sauce, return to oven and broil 1 minute until sauce is thickened and sticky.Smoker directions: Preheat smoker to 375°F. Place jalapenos directly on grill rack and cook with the lid closed for 45 minutes. Brush with bbq sauce and grill another 15 minutes. Or, place in the broiler in oven for 1 minute to thicken the sauce.
- Serve immediately with ranch dip, extra bbq sauce or alone. SO good!
- Safety note: When handling the jalapenos, I recommend wearing disposable gloves and washing your hands right away. Also immediately clean the surface area. You do not want to chance wiping your eyes with any sort of jalapeno juice still on your hands or your eyes will burn.
- Too spicy? To reduce the heat of the jalapeno, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the de-seeded jalapenos. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately run cold water over the jalapenos. Dry with a paper towel and continue with step 2.
- Ingredient measurements: You may need to experiment with ingredient measurements as the size of your jalapenos may differ from ours. Thankfully this recipe is very forgiving and easy to work with.
- Meat: Try this same recipe with any leftover smoked meat you may have!
- Make-ahead: You can assemble these 3 to 4 days ahead and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before grilling or baking.
- Air-fryer: I have not yet tested this method, but when I do I will try at 375°F for 10 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and varies based on ingredients used.