If there is a Valhalla for bar snacks, it undoubtedly counts chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, nachos, potato skins, pigs in a blanket and jalapeno poppers among its heroes.
While they rarely disappoint when drunkenly consumed at bars, poppers are even better when made at home. We consulted Dustin Blackwell, co-owner of Hutchins BBQ in Mckinney, Texas, to learn how to take them to the next level. Texas Monthly tapped Hutchins as one of the state's 50 Best BBQ Joints not only for its signature melt-in-your-mouth brisket, but also for standouts like the Texas Twinkie, a wonderfully demented twist on the traditional popper.
The Texas Twinkie jacks up the usual cream cheese-filled happy hour fave with fatty marbled brisket and an unctuous armor of crispy, thick-cut bacon. Then this mutant morsel is triumphantly painted with a homemade BBQ glaze. The best part? You don’t even need a deep fryer. Just a crazy urge to make extra-fatty jalapeno poppers at home, because that's your idea of fun. Now let's get poppin'.
Ingredients to make 12 Texas Twinkies:
• 12 whole jalapenos
• 1.5 pounds of marbled brisket
• 12 tablespoons of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
• 12 thick-cut strips of bacon
• 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons of coarse ground pepper
• 6 oz. of BBQ Sweet Glaze
Slice one side of jalapeno from stem to tip
Slice across stem end to make a "T"
Pit inside of jalapeno free of seeds and membranes
Place jalapenos on baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes
Remove jalapenos and place in bowl of ice water to extract additional seed oil (otherwise they will be extremely spicy)
Cover bottom of inside of each jalapeno with a tablespoon of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
On top of the cheese, pile two ounces of marbled brisket
Close the pepper around the stuffing and wrap with thick-cut bacon
Add pinch of Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
For oven preparation (you can also grill them) place poppers on baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes
Remove peppers and paint with homemade BBQ Sweet Glaze
How do you make this glaze? It's easy:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
Bring glaze to a full boil, then simmer for five minutes. Let sit for an hour.
Paint poppers, serve with cold beer, and devour.
Photos by Kevin Marple