Smoked Sicilian Jalapeño Poppers

These little devils are easily a favorite at my parties! They go real fast so make a lot of them! You get a kick from the peppers and the smokey bacon but it eases out with the cream cheese and sausage filling. Watch out if I'm at a party where you serve these, because I will eat at least twelve.


Ingredients:
8 Jalapeno peppers
8 oz room temperature cream cheese
1/4 shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 cup red wine of your choice - I prefer Francis Coppola
1.5 tsp fennel
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
8 strips of bacon
A couple of tbsp of Kansas City Bull's Eye BBQ sauce
16 tooth picks
And some olive oil

Step 1:
Slice the peppers once down the side to create an opening. Like a little bowl. Use a melon baller or spoon to get the insides and seeds out. Leave a few seeds in if you like the heat!

Filling:
Mix the ground beef in a bowl with the salt, black pepper, fennel and red wine.
Pour olive oil in a pot or pan and fry the meat on medium heat - but only until it just turns brown. No more since it will also cook in the smoker! Optional to add parsley for color.
Pour the meat back into the bowl. Add cream cheese, green onions and mozzarella cheese. Stir together!

Step 2: 
Use a small spoon to fill the peppers with the cream cheese and sausage filling. Fill them up real good but smooth out the sides to get rid of any extra that might fall out.

Step 3:
Take one slice of bacon for each pepper and wrap it tightly around the pepper. Try to make sure that there are no gaps in between because the cheese will end up oozing out of those gaps. Use two tooth picks for each pepper to hold down the bacon. Push them right through the pepper to the other side.

Put peppers on the smoker for 2 hours! My Traeger ranges between 165-170 F so you might need to adjust the time depending on hot your smoker gets.

After 2 hours - paint them with a layer of BBQ sauce!

To get a crispy sear - Grill the peppers on 375 F for 15 minutes.

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