It’s barn-raisin’ week at the Smokin’ F, and this Mama could not be more excited! And while I consider myself fairly handy with a power tool, I’m definitely the gofer on this project (you know, go-fer this, go-fer that) until the time comes to decorate. Yes, I said decorate. Because y’all know I like things both functional and cute….even in the barn.
But before I go any further, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to thank our good friend, Matt. When I say good friend, I mean salt of the earth, good friend. He has worked long days with Jay now getting this together, and we literally could not be doing this without his help. So huge, heart-felt thank you to him for all he has done and to the rest of his family for lending him to us for a few days. We are forever grateful!
So while I’m not just a whole ton of manpower help to Jay and Matt this week, one thing I can do is keep these boys fed….and enjoy the view from the ground of my hunky husband hovering in the bucket hanging trusses. 😉
Finger food for men has always seemed like somewhat of an oxymoron to me. Making it both on-the-go and filling can be a challenge. But these *award winning, I might add* Sweet Pepper and Sausage Poppers usually seem to do the trick.
They’re great for days like we’re having where no one is stopping for a sit-down meal; for appetizers at a party; or for a mid-day snack. They’re good a few minutes out of the oven or cooled. And while I love a jalapeño popper, it seems like there’s only about one month out of the year when I find crisp, flavorful, but not crazy spicey peppers. Using sweet peppers and relying on the sausage for heat make these both delicious and consistent. I promise, you can’t lose with these!
So without further ado, straight from the Merica Smokers’ playbook….
- 1 16 oz bag of mini sweet peppers
- 16 oz of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 lb breakfast sausage (hot or mild)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
- 2 lbs thin sliced bacon
1. In a large skillet, cook your sausage and diced onion until it’s completely browned and your onions are translucent. Drain the grease or spoon sausage onto a paper towel lined plate.
2. Mix your sausage and onion in with your cheeses.
3. Cut the stem ends off of your peppers. Then, slice each pepper in half. You can remove the seeds if you’d like to, but since these aren’t hot like jalapeños, you don’t have to. I don’t. 🙂
2. In each pepper half, add enough of your sausage mixture to heaps over the top. Some will leak out while it cooks, but it just makes a crispy, gooey, goodness.
3. Slice your bacon in half. Hamburger style. (Is that still a thing? Because that’s how my teachers used to give us directions. Hamburger or hot dog style folds!)
4. Wrap 1/2 piece of bacon around each stuffed pepper half. I always start with the middle end of the bacon around the open end of the pepper and work my way to the ends of both. Wrapping it this way and using the thin bacon really helps to keep it from unraveling as it cooks.
4. Place in a 9×13 pan and cook at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. *Note: these are phenomenal on the grill or smoker, as well! *
5. After 25 minutes, and without removing them from the oven, turn the temperature up to 500 degrees and continue to cook for 15 minutes more; or until your bacon is starting to crisp.
6. Remove from oven and pour off any excess grease that you can. (You can omit this if using a slotted spatula)
7. Remove from pan using a firm spatula and place on a paper towel lined plate. And don’t forget to scrape up all that crispy sausagey goodness that has oozed out! We usually fight over those little pieces around here.
8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve by themselves or with a bowl of ranch or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!!