Triple Pork Jalapeno Poppers with crushed Cracklins
Food porn has gotten out of control.
It used to be about drool-worthy pics of glossy rib racks, oozing chocolate brownies and the perfect gooey melt of cheese over a Philly Cheesesteak. You know, like actual food you’d be able to eat. These days food porn has been degraded to who can balance the contents of the Caesar’s Palace breakfast buffet in a vase of Bloody Mary. Or stacking your burger with 25 beef patties and then pouring bacon queso over the whole thing. Or crudely piling random barbecue items on top of one another to form a Meat Mountain (that completely detracts from each individual meat, you may as well have ordered a smoked Sloppy Joe). Basically, it’s the food equivalent of a Miley Cyrus video – trying so hard to get your attention that it’s just too obvious, and you feel kinda sad for it.
So I set myself a challenge to come up with a food porn recipe realistic enough that you could order it without having to participate in an eating challenge, restrained enough to actually be a balanced dish, yet still retaining all the sex appeal of a perfectly grilled tomahawk steak…
What you see above you is a jalapeño popper that had graduated to the next level and just received it’s MBA in being awesome. Because while previous poppers has one measly strip of bacon, this one has harnessed the epic power of THREE different types of porky products.
That baby has been stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, garlic powder, smoked paprika, smoked pulled pork AND crispy bits of bacon. But there’s still one more very important swine-based ingredient. They are then rolled in crushed chicharrones. Yes friends, that’s pork cracklin dust.
Oh yeah! That’s pig crack right there!
These poppers are actually quite simple to make, perhaps slightly fiddly but you can definitely make them in advance and just bake when you’re ready to feast. They’re spicy, creamy, smokey and salty and a great use for leftover pulled pork.
You need to keep a low oven heat to prevent the cracklins from burning, but they’ll stay nice and crisp and provide a pleasant crunchy contrast to the gooey, cheesy centre. The most important thing, give them at least 5-10 minutes after they come out of the oven to avoid nuclear cheese mouth burn.
triple pork jalapeno poppers with crushed chicharrones
To crush the chicharrones/cracklins, place them into a ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. You can stop when they reach the desired consistency – I left mine a little chunkier so you could crunch into the little morsels.
If you want to make these in advance, stuff the peppers with the mix then refrigerate – only roll in the dust immediately prior to baking.
- 10 large Jalapeños, sliced lengthways and de-seeded
- 8 slices of bacon, chopped, cooked and cooled.
- 1/3 cup pulled pork
- 1 cup crushed cracklins
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened.
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese (something tasty or with bite is recommended)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat oven to 320/160 and line a tray with baking paper.
Add spices and salt to cream cheese, mix well to combine.
Add shredded cheese, pork and bacon, and mix gently until evenly combined.
Take a jalapeno half and using a spoon, scoop in a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, sealing the mix against the sides of the pepper. You should not scrape them flat, but leave a mount of mix to stick the crumb to.
Press the stuffed side of the jalapeno into the cracklin crumb, then place on baking tray.
Repeat until all halves are done, then place into the oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye to ensure the cracklins aren't getting too brown. Remove and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
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