Delightfully rich, these smoked jalapeno poppers are stuffed with gouda and wrapped in bacon, all balanced by the addition of tart lemon juice.
8slicesapplewood smoked bacon*
8 ouncesfull-fat cream cheese, room temperature
6 ouncesgouda cheese
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoonDiamond Crystal kosher salt
Preheat the smoker to 250° F.
Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, keeping the stem intact as much as possible. Using a small spoon, seed and devein each jalapeno half. To do this, gently insert the spoon into the white pith about 1/4-inch below the stem. Softly but firmly scrape along the inside of the jalapeno, pulling the veins and seeds with the spoon. Set aside.
Grate the gouda cheese, which should yield approximately 1 1/2 cups. Add the grated gouda, room temperature cream cheese, lemon juice, and salt to a medium-sized bowl. Using a sturdy spatula, mix the ingredients until well combined.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, filling them to the brim (but not overflowing).
Using kitchen shears or a knife, slice the 8 bacon strips in half crosswise to make 16 pieces. Wrap one piece of bacon onto each filled jalapeno half, beginning with one end of the bacon on top of the filling, wrapping down and under, and finally over the top again in a corkscrew motion. Secure each piece of bacon tightly with 1-2 toothpicks.
Once filled, wrapped, and secured, transfer the jalapeno poppers into the smoker. Allow them to smoke for 1 hour and 30 minutes, checking on them at the 1 hour mark. When finished, the cheese will appear bubbly and the bacon will have taken on a rich color, with subtle amber-colored fat.
Remove from the smoker and allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating.
*It's easiest to form the jalapeno poppers with thinly sliced bacon. When choosing from different options at the store, look for bacon that is thin enough that you'll be able to easily wrap it around your cheese-filled jalapeno halves.