Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers
Today we are going to turn the traditional jalapeno popper on its head. We are going to stand these peppers up, stuff with some smoked shrimp and some smoked catfish, and cook right on the fire. These have so much flavor they are going to knock the boots right off your feet.
Step One: Season & Smoke the Seafood
Start off by making sure the fish filet is super thin. Get your filet knife and cut it just a bit thicker than paper if you can – we want this fish to pop with smoke flavor. Season all over with Red River Ranch Original Seasoning to kick up the flavor just a bit – just a little sprinkling – the citrus flavor is going to work well with the white fish flavor.
TIP: I’m using catfish today, but any white fish will work like walleye, crappie, etc.
I use pre-cooked shrimp from the grocery store. I know, I know, but I do not want to spend all day pulling tails and deveining the things, when the smoke flavor I am going to infuse with this shrimp is going to steal the show anyway. So just get you some pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp. It is going to save time and be delicious.
I have the fire going on one side of the smoker, so that I can lay the fish and the shrimp on the other side. This is called an “indirect” smoke, and these fish cook so quickly that this is a better way to infuse the smoke flavor. They will be ready to remove in 3 to 4 minutes. The fish will be ready to come off of the smoker when they are tender enough to chop.
Tip: I’m using a blend of oak, cherry and apple woods. I like to blend woods and fruit woods always work well with fish.
Step Two: Prepare the Peppers for the Poppers
Take your first jalapeno. Look at him there, in the sunlight, ready for his big shot. He is going to be a star. But to go down in history, he has to make a sacrifice. His hat. Go ahead and cut off the stem and the very top of the jalapeno. Remove the seeds and membranes inside our hero, here.
TIP: The handle of a spoon is the perfect size to clear out the inside of the jalapeno.
Once you have all of your peppers cleared out and ready to stuff, set them standing up in the Hasty Bake Chicken Leg and Pepper Rack.
TIP: Get creative and look around the kitchen for any fire-proof apparatus that can hold these peppers upright and you will do just fine.
Step Three: Prepare the Filling
For the filling, start off with about 4 oz of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of prepared horseradish. Add the “W” sauce, garlic, honey and paprika and Red River Ranch Original Seasoning.
Chop the shrimp up finely and add to the cream cheese mixture. For the catfish I just like to crumble it up with my hands.
TIP: Use a binding agent, like crumbled crackers or breadcrumbs, to avoid a build up of liquid at the bottom of the jalapeno.
I crushed up some Ritz crackers and mixed them in with the cream cheese, spices, and seafood. Now we are ready to stuff.
Step Four: Stuff the Popper
Use a little teaspoon and stuff the filling into the pepper, one spoon at a time. Continue to push the filling in and stop just about when you get the first little bit of resistance. If the pepper splits open, it just will not work right on the smoker.
Step Five: Smoke the Popper & Eat
Place the peppers right over the coals until they start to blister and then we move them to the other side for the indirect smoke. You will wait until the peppers are tender, then it will be time to dig in. I could hardly wait it smelled so good.
Tip: Want to add another layer of flavor? After smoking, you can roll the peppers in egg wash and panic. Then, deep fry at about 375 degrees until golden and you’ve got a deep fried popper!
TIP: Place the peppers back on grill when they are cool to add some extra grill marks and flavor.
Seafood Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 1 catfish fillet or other white fish
- 10 large cooked shrimp peeled and deveined
- 12 large jalapenos cored and seeded
- Kent’s Original seasoning or salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tablespoons horseradish
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
- 8 to 10 Ritz crackers crumbled
- Filet the catfish into thin strips. Season with Kent’s seasoning, or salt and pepper.
- Clean and season your smoker/grill. Preheat to about 275 degrees F. For this recipe I used a blend of apple, cherry and oak woods. Feel free to use any blend of wood you like.
- Place the catfish and shrimp on the indirect side of the heat on your grill or smoker. Close the lid and smoke for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the catfish is tender enough to chop and is flaky.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, horseradish, Worcestershire, honey, smoked paprika and minced garlic.
- Stir in the Ritz crackers until the mixture is a very thick paste.
- Stuff the poppers with the cream cheese mixture. Be careful not to tear or puncture the jalapeno skins.
- Place the poppers in a rack/popper holder and place over the direct heat side of the grill/smoker.
- Close the lid and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the jalapenos begin to blister.
- Move the poppers over on the indirect heat side. Close the lid and continue cooking another 10 minutes or until the poppers are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Bonus: After smoking, you can roll the poppers in egg wash and Panko bread crumbs then deep fry at 375 degrees until golden brown.
Kent’s seasoning is available at KentRollins.com