Friday, August 9, 2013

Smoked Armadillo Eggs

Mammoth Jalapenos
It's been a long time since have posted anything so I spent the last couple of weekends cooking some of my favorite BBQ Appetizers. I will be posting a series of recipes over the next couple of weeks.

I love spicy food and this time of the year I usually cook with Jalapenos. This year I planted some mammoth Jalapenos I picked up at home depot. These Jalapenos are very large, 3 to 4 inches long and perfect for stuffing. For the first recipe, I chose Armadillo Eggs. And no, they are not made from armadillos :)

Armadillo Eggs are a popular appetizer on the BBQ circuit and make for a fantastic tailgating snack. There are a number of variations of Armadillo Egg recipes out there and I have pretty much tried them all. In my experience, the best way to make them is to core a Jalapeno, stuff it with a cheese mixture, encase it sausage, season it with BBQ rub and wrap it in bacon. Yum!

6 Mammoth Jalapenos
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese w/ Jalapenos
8 oz Kraft Mexican 4-cheese Blend (shredded)
1 lb Bob Evans Pork Sausage
1 lb Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon
Code 3 5-0 Rub
Chipotle Chili Powder

The first thing we want to do core the Jalapenos. Cut the top off just below the stem then core the Jalapeno removing the seeds and membrane with a knife. The stems and seeds are where all the heat is in a Jalapeno. Removing them will get rid of some of the bite.

Stuffed Jalapenos

The next thing we need to do is parboil the Jalapenos. Parboiling will soften them up so that the will cook more easily once encased in sausage. It will also take out some more of the heat. The key is to get them softened but not mushy. You want them to be spongy, yet firm. To parboil the Jalapeno's bring a pot of water to boil. Add the Jalapenos one at a time and close the lid. Boil for two minutes and then pour them into a colander and rinse with cold water. Now it's time to stuff them!

To make the cheese mixture, take 1/2 of the cream cheese and 1/2 of the shredded cheese and mix them together in a bowl with a spoon. I like to add back a little heat since we tamed the Jalapenos by seeding and parboiling them. To add back some heat, mix in a tablespoon of Chipotle Chili Powder otherwise you can skip this step. Now, simply spoon the mixture into each Jalapeno as pictured at the left. 

The next thing we want to do is divide the sausage into six equal portions. The best way to do this is to cut the sausage in half and then cut each half into thirds. I just kind of eyeball it and make sure that you cut the ends caps slightly larger because they are rounded.

Divide Sausage Into 6 Portions

Next put an individual piece of sausage in a Ziploc sandwich bag sprayed with PAM. Now press it into a about a 4 inch patty. Repeat for the remaining sausage. 
Press Sausage Into Patties
The final step is to place a stuffed Jalapeno in the center of a sausage patty and fold over the sausage completely encasing it. You should end up with an oblong "egg" shape.

Wrap sausage around stuffed Jalapeno pepper

The next step is to season the eggs with BBQ Rub. You can use your favorite rub here, however, I prefer Code 3 5-0 Rub. It goes great with Pork Sausage!

Season with Code 3 5-0 Rub
After you have seasoned the eggs, it's time for my favorite step, wrapping them in BACON! Take a strip of bacon and start at one end and wrap it around the egg to the other end. If you let the bacon set out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes it will be more pliable and much easier to wrap around the egg. The last step is to hit with a little more Chipotle Chili Powder. Again, you can skip this step if you like a little less heat.

Wrapped in bacon and seasoned with Chipotle Chili Powder

Now it's on to the Smoker.  I like to smoke the Armadillo Eggs with fruit woods, usually cherry or a combination of cherry and apple. It gives them a nice reddish mahogany color. You will want to smoke them at 250 for 60 to 75 minutes. They are done when they temp at 155 in the center and the bacon has begun to crisp.

Smoke at 250 for 60 to 75 minutes
Below is the finished product! They are truly an incredible treat and really quite addictive. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Smoked Armadillo Eggs

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