Smoked jalapeño poppers are a classic appetizer, so here’s our delicious twist on perfection. We still smoke the jalapeño poppers until the bacon is done, but to make this smoked jalapeño popper recipe so freakin’ delicious, we then dredge and fry ’em up. It’s not that complicated, but there are a few tricks that make a huge difference for these little bites. 

Post sponsored by Cowboy Charcoal.
Smoked fried jalapeño poppers, ready to dip in dressing.

We get even more smoky flavor in this recipe from Cowboy Charcoal. The coals from Cowboy Charcoal burn really clean, so they’re ideal for any grilling recipe. I’ve used this stuff for everything from grilled steak nachos to birria egg rolls and stuffed lobster tails. Those coals get super hot and make it so we get the best poppers!

Why You’ll Love Smoked Fried Jalapeño Poppers

A jalapeño poppers recipe is always a hit for game day or a special occasion, and with good reason — that little extra kick from fresh jalapeño peppers, the different flavors in the cream cheese and the umami from the savory bacon make this classic appetizer hard to resist. By going the extra mile and frying these bad boys, you know that dish of poppers is going to disappear as soon as it hits the table. 

Smoked fried jalapeño poppers coming off the grill.

Here’s what to keep in mind for a successful smoked fried jalapeño popper. First, make sure the bacon is wrapped super tight on the poppers. If you need to, stick toothpicks through the poppers so the bacon strips don’t fall off. Then, dredge the wrapped peppers twice in the batter for the best results when it comes to coating. The frying doesn’t take too long, so keep an eye on the clock so you don’t burn the outside batter.

For other ways to enjoy our jalapeño popper combo, you can check out my shrimp jalapeño poppers. I’ve also made a surf and tuff popper that included lobster claw meat and beef bacon strips, or even something called Texas Twinkies which offer a version of poppers that include stuffing them with brisket!

Smoked Fried Jalapeño Poppers Ingredients

  • Jalapeño Poppers: We’ll use fresh jalapeño peppers, slices of your favorite bacon and your favorite BBQ rub, with a filling mixture made up of cream cheese and sharp cheddar cheese. Ranch dressing for serving rounds it all out.
  • Batter: We make this smoked fried jalapeño popper recipe next level with our fry batter, which has eggs, panko breadcrumbs, white flour, kosher salt, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. 
Dredging smoked jalapeño poppers in batter.

I also paid these smoke fried jalapeño poppers with a ranch dressing for dipping because it’ll help cool any of the remaining heat from the popper. You can use store bought ranch dressing if you’d like, or check out my homemade recipe below!

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing from scratch is super simple. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 minced fresh garlic clove and chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I like to use cilantro, dill and parsley). Stick it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld, then serve and enjoy. 

How to Make Smoked Fried Jalapeño Poppers

​Game on! I’m so stoked for you to try these smoked jalapeño poppers. It might be my new favorite appetizer. 

Stuffing the Peppers

To make the smoked jalapeño popper filling, mix one block of full-fat cream cheese and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese together in a bowl.

Next, pick up one of your fresh jalapeños and slice a “T” shape into it, with the top slice underneath the steam and the long slice going the length of the pepper. Using gloves or a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and ribs from the inside of the jalapeño. Be careful not to break off the stem. 

Stuffing the fresh sliced jalapeño peppers.

Once you’ve cleaned out the jalapeño, stuff the pepper with the cream cheese mixture. Next, take 1-2 slices of uncooked bacon and carefully wrap those around the whole jalapeño, making sure to fully encase the pepper.

Season the outside of the strips of bacon with your favorite BBQ seasoning and set aside. Repeat this process for your other seven jalapeños. 

Wrapping the stuffed jalapeños in bacon and coating in BBQ seasoning.

Smoking the Jalapeño Poppers

Preheat your smoker or grill to 250 degrees F for indirect heat cooking. Add some wood chips or wood chunks for added smoke flavor. Then, place your jalapeño poppers on the smoker and cook for about 90 minutes, or until the thick cut bacon has become dark amber and crispy. Once the peppers are done, pull them off and place them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to fully cool.

Stuffed jalapeño poppers on the smoker.

Frying the Smoked Jalapeño Poppers

Preheat your frying oil to 350 degrees F. I like to use enough oil to get 2-3 inches in the skillet.

Mix 2 cups of white flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a bowl. Then, whip 3-4 fresh eggs in another bowl. Finally, place 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs in a third bowl. 

Next, take the cooled smoked jalapeño poppers out of the freezer. Dredge them in the seasoned flour, then coat them thoroughly in the egg wash, and finish by dredging in the panko crumbs. Set that little smokie aside and repeat for all of the poppers. 

Frying the smoked jalapeño poppers.

Add the smoked jalapeño poppers to the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden crispy brown. Once done, place them on a paper towel-lined plate and let them cool. Serve this spicy bite with some ranch dressing or sour cream and enjoy!

What to Serve with Smoked Fried Jalapeño Poppers

These delicious smoked jalapeño poppers will be right at home kicking off a game day spread. Think burgers, nachos, grilled chicken, sausages or even steak if you’re feeling fancy. 

For More Jalapeño Recipes

Leftovers and Reheating

If you have leftover poppers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Then, reheat on a grill or in a 350-degree oven until warmed. Just know that we find that the texture of smoked jalapeño poppers is best the day of, right off the grill.

FAQs 

​What size peppers should I use? 

The size of your peppers should be about 3 inches long. If they’re bigger than that, they get floppy and hard to eat with your hands. If they’re smaller than that, they can be hard to stuff and get all that extra flavor!

​What’s the best way to cut fresh jalapeño peppers?

Ever cut a spicy pepper and touched your eyeball? WORST! The easiest way to prevent this experience is to wear disposable gloves while you’re cutting the peppers.

Make sure you wash your hands well afterward, along with your cutting board and the knife you used to cut. If you do get some capsaicin — the compound in hot peppers that gives it the kick we all love — on your hands and it causes a burning sensation, you can use dish soap, rubbing alcohol or even yogurt to cool things down. 

Where can I find Cowboy Charcoal

Cowboy Charcoal has built a well-earned reputation as some of the cleanest and best stuff around, so you can find it almost anywhere. Check out the company’s store locator to see which hardware stores carry it near you.

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Smoked fried jalapeño poppers, ready to dip in dressing.

Smoked Fried Jalapeño Poppers

Smoked fried jalapeño poppers, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese, are a delicious twist on a classic game day appetizer.
Author:Derek Wolf
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

Jalapeno and Stuffing:

  • 6-8 Jalapeños
  • 6-8 Bacon Slices
  • 1 block Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Favorite BBQ Rub
  • Ranch Dressing for serving

Batter:

  • 3-4 Fresh Eggs whipped
  • 2 cups Panko Crumbs
  • 2 cups White Flour
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Cayenne
  • Frying Oil

Instructions 

Smoking:

  • Begin by mixing together the cream cheese and cheddar cheese in one bowl.
  • Next, take a jalapeno and slice a “T” shape with the top slice being underneath the steam and the long slice going the length of the pepper. Using gloves or a utensil, scoop out all the filling and seeds from the inside of the jalapeno. Be careful not to break the stem off.
  • Once cleaned, stuff the pepper full of the cream cheese mixture.
  • Next, take 1-2 slices of bacon and carefully wrap it around the whole jalapeno making sure to fully encase it.
  • Season the outside of the bacon with your favorite BBQ seasoning and set to the side. Repeat this for all the other jalapenos until completed.
  • Preheat your smoker/grill to indirect heat at 250F. Add some wood chips or wood chunks to the smoker for added smoke flavor.
  • Add your jalapeno poppers to the smoker and let cook for about 90 minutes or until the bacon has become dark amber and crispy.
  • Once done, pull them off and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to fully cool.

Frying:

  • Preheat frying out to 350F.
  • Add flour, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and cayenne to a bowl and mix.
  • Whip your eggs in a separate bowl and place the panko crumbs in a third bowl.
  • Pull out the cooled jalapeno poppers and place in the seasoned flour, then into the egg wash (coat thoroughly) and then lastly into the panko crumbs. Set to the side and repeat for all of your poppers.
  • Add the jalapeno poppers to the oil to fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden crispy brown. Once done, pull off and let cool.
  • Serve with some spicy ranch or sour cream and enjoy!

Notes

Homemade Ranch Dressing
Ranch dressing from scratch is super simple. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 minced fresh garlic clove and chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I like to use cilantro, dill and parsley). Stick it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld, then serve and enjoy. 

Nutrition

Calories: 883kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 2829mg | Potassium: 1287mg | Fiber: 30g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2337IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 1441mg | Iron: 27mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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