Jalapeno Poppers aka ABT's - How Do You Make Yours?
Jalapeno Peppers - sometimes hot, sometimes not so hot. We all know the more seeds you leave in, the more heat. But did you know; that as they age, some peppers develop white lines and flecks. They look like stretch marks running in the direction of the length of the pepper. The stretch marks are also indicative of the amount of stress the pepper plant has endured.
A pepper plant that is stressed, like having the soil get dry between infrequent waterings, appears to have an impact on the the hotness of the pepper. The smoother the pepper, the younger, less stressed, and milder it is.
The older the pepper and the more stress the plant has been under, the more white lines you’ll see, the hotter the pepper will be. And if you find red jalapenos they are older than green and can be pretty hot, especially if they have a lot of striations, but they are also sweeter than the green.
How do you prep your peppers? We've got a hint or two for you! When you are prepping your peppers, remember to wear gloves but over the years, we have found a couple of kitchen tools to be a great assistance with cleaning out the membrane and seeds.... a grapefruit spoon and an apple corer! Give them a try!
So what is your favorite combination? The most common fillers were a combination of cream cheese and cheddar cheese as the base. While we did find a few with Monterey jack cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, Colby jack, feta cheese the first two were the predominant choices.
We then found many different recipes with LOTS of additions.
For seasonings, ideas included onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chives, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika, and / or your favorite BBQ rub.
For mix-ins, the list went on and on but the top mentioned were: crispy bacon, pulled pork, mango slice, cooked ground pork sausage (like Jimmy Dean), hot or mild Italian sausage, shredded chicken, ground beef, crab meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, chopped onions, minced garlic, chorizo, refried beans, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil.
Toppings included many and the biggest surprise for us was the "crushed BBQ potato chips"! But others included... Panko crumbs, bacon wrapped, pre-cooked crispy bacon crumbles, Parmesan cheese, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, Italian bread crumbs, cilantro, and diced tomato.
What do you serve it with? Ranch dressing was probably the number one dip we found, but then bleu cheese, salsa, sour cream, and onion dip made the list.
Making some ABT's this summer? Share a photo on our NEBS Facebook page! Tag us in your Instagram post! We'd love to see your creation and hear about your combination of ingredients!
Kim Stanfield is the president of the Northeast Barbecue Society and on the competition team, Boo Boo Qued. In her spare time she is also the Vice President of Angels in America, a nonprofit organization who makes America stronger, by providing hope and encouragement, one good deed at a time.