Are you looking for a new Super Bowl appetizer that your men-folk will enjoy?? Here you go! My guys go completely BONKERS over these little bombs of bacon, venison, and cream cheese….all nestled and wrapped into a jalapeno. Yes, these poppers do require a little bit of up-front prep work, but they are totally and completely worth the effort. Push through! #Bacon #Venison #Poppers #SuperBowl #PartyFood #Traeger
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My guys love to hunt, so we’ve ALWAYS got wild game stocked in the freezer….typically venison, pheasant, and dove. And, because we now own a Traeger smoker (Happy Father’s Day, Dad), we are experimenting more and more with all kinds of wild game recipes. I like it that the boys want to eat all the game they harvest, and just like anything else you cook that’s new, the more you do it, the more you learn and get better at it.
I was a little hesitant at cooking wild game at first, afraid it would be all “game-y” and too strong in flavor. What a relief that I’ve been so very wrong to worry about that!
These Good and Saucy Venison Bacon Poppers are fun to make as an assembly-line process. It’s a neat hands-on project for everyone in the family and makes the prep go much, much quicker. If you’re not a fan of bbq sauce for slatherin’ your cooked poppers, pure maple syrup or honey is a nice, final touch, too.
Follow These Easy Recipe Tips….to Make Sure You’re Successful When Prepping a Peck of Pickled Poppers.
- Why buy thick bacon if you’re going to roll it out THIN anyway? Well, mainly because it just works and tastes better, and a good-quality bacon is essential. I had no idea bacon could be rolled out as easily as it does! And, not only does this hack make WRAPPING and COOKING your poppers easier, it also ensures the EATING experience is wonderful, too.
- Do I need to wear gloves when working with jalapenos? YES!!!! Unless you just happen to enjoy the pain of getting jalapeno juice in your nail beds and beneath your skin, you gotta protect yourself with disposable food service gloves when working with any kind of hot pepper. I keep a stash in my lid drawer for times such as this – always so handy.
- Can I use other kinds of hot peppers to make poppers? Sure. If I can find mild Anaheim peppers that are on the smaller size, sometimes I use those for making poppers. If you’re super adventurous and like SPICY, feel free to use any kind of hot peppers to make poppers. Typically, the small the pepper, the hotter the spice.
- What if I want to spice up my cream cheese filling more? Go ahead, truly. These are YOUR poppers, so mix it up any way you’d like. Sometimes I use plain cream cheese and then add fresh horseradish and shredded sharp cheddar – the sky is the limit….experiment!
- Can I freezer these poppers? Yep, but do so BEFORE cooking them. Then, when you’re ready to pull them out for a party, cook them FROM FROZEN. You’ll need to increase your cooking time by 15-20 minutes or so, since they are going on to the cooking source rock-hard and ice cold, but it works just great.
Good and Saucy Venison Bacon Poppers
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- zest of 3 limes
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 lb. deer steaks, we used sirloin, poppers would also be delicious with sliced dove breasts
- 18 large jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, stems in tact
- 16 oz. Herb & Garlic spreadable cream cheese
- 18 strips of thick bacon, rolled thin with a rolling pin, then cut in half lengthwise with kitchen shears
- your favorite bbq sauce, for slathering at the end of the smoking/grilling time, warmed
- Slice the deer steaks into thin, elongated pieces, approx. 2-3" in length.
- Meanwhile, combine the marinade ingredients together in a gallon freezer bag. Add deer steak slices, seal bag and place into a large mixing bowl; let steak marinate for 8-10 hours. (If you are lucky enough to be using an instant marinator, marinate the steak in the marinade under the vacuum for 20-30 minutes.)
- Preheat your smoker, grill, or oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes, placing the halves onto a platter, cut side up. Spoon the cream cheese into the cavities of all jalapeño halves.
- On a cutting board, lay out the bacon slices, working in batches; use a rolling pin to roll out each bacon slice until it's elongated and much thinner. Using your kitchen shears, slice each strip of bacon in half lengthwise.
- Remove the deer steak slices from the marinade and pat dry. Place a slice of the steak on top of the cream cheese in each jalapeño. Wrap each jalapeño with a long, thin strip of the prepared bacon, starting at one end of the jalapeno and working to the other, gently stretching the bacon a bit as you go, wrapping the stuffed jalapeno tightly. (May secure bacon with toothpicks, if needed, but we never do.)
- Using tongs, place the wrapped jalapenos onto the preheated smoker or grill, cut-side-up, cooking for 25-30 minutes or until the deer meat is cooked, the jalapeños are softened, and the bacon exterior is nicely charred. (If you're making these in the oven, place into a large, seasoned cast iron skillet to cook.)
- Remove the cooked poppers from the smoker or grill to a preheated cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Immediately slather the poppers with warm bbq sauce. Serve at once.
Other Chef Alli Recipes Your Family Will Enjoy:
Potato, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Skillet: A Savory One-Pot Meal
Pop-And-Go Instant Pot Egg Bites: Load up on a Low-Carb Breakfast
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