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Apple Smoked Piggy Pops

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These tender pieces of pork tenderloin are wrapped in a half-slice of delicious bacon, topped with a small piece of jalapeño for the perfect bite and finished with just a touch of Jeff’s barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) for an appetizer that will make your eyes roll back in your head!

Be sure to make plenty so when your guests go hog wild over these, there’ll be plenty to go around!

Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate time: 4 hours or overnight
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Smoker temperature: 225-240°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 145°F
  • Recommended wood: Apple (other fruit woods will also work)
What You’ll Need
  • Pork tenderloin (recommended but you can also use pork loin or even boneless pork country style ribs)
  • Jalapeños, seeded and cleaned
  • Bacon
  • Jeff’s original rub
  • Jeff’s bbq sauce
  • Long wooden skewers
Step 1: Cube the Meat

Cut the pork tenderloin, pork loin or pork country style ribs into 1-inch cubes and place them in a container in layers.

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Step 2: Add the Flavor

Sprinkle generous amounts of Jeff’s original rub  onto the pieces of meat.

*Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub

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Once you have an ample amount of cubes, cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for as little as 4 hours or overnight for best results.

Step 3: Prepare the Peppers

While the meat is marinating and just before it is ready to be used, prepare the peppers and the bacon as follows:

Cut both ends off of the jalapeños then cut them in half lengthwise. Clean and deseed the peppers then cut them into pieces as shown.

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Step 4: Partially Pre-cooking the Bacon

Note: This is a part of the recipe that has recently been modified. When I first did these, the bacon wrap was not getting as done as people liked due to the meat getting done too quickly. Partially pre-cooking the bacon fixes this problem.

The bacon images below is from a different recipe however, I recommend cutting the bacon in half before pre-cooking it.

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To partially pre-cook the bacon:

  1. Cut the bacon in half
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  3. Place strips of bacon on a baking sheet
  4. Cook bacon for about 6 minutes then remove (no flipping or turning required)*

*I used thin cut bacon. If the bacon is thicker, it will probably require more time to pre-cook.

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Step 5: Make the Pops

Use a pair of wire cutters to snip the long wooden skewers into the right length for a sucker type stick. I made mine about 4-6 inches long but feel free to deviate from this if you feel so inclined.

Once all the components are ready, take the pork out of the fridge.

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Proceed to wrap each piece in partially pre-cooked bacon.

Then push the pointed end of the cut skewers through a piece of the jalapeño pepper then into the bacon wrapped meat.

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Step 6: Smoke Time

Prepare the smoker for indirect cooking at about 225-240°F using apple wood or your favorite smoking wood. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.

Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the pops directly on the grate with the sticks facing up and close the door or lid of the smoker.

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Check the meat after about an hour or so using your Thermapen or digital probe meat thermometer.

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Once the piggy pops are about 15 minutes from being done, drizzle Jeff’s barbecue sauce  on the top of them and let it drip down around the meat.

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When the pops reach 145°F (pork tenderloin, pork loin) or 165°F (pork country style ribs), they are finished cooking, tender and ready to eat.

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Note: I made these about 1-inch square but I think they would also be very nice as a mini bite-sized piece. You could cut the pork into half-inch cubes with smaller pieces of bacon and jalapeño to achieve more of that “pop it in your mouth” appetizer experience. This would cut down on the cook time so plan accordingly.
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Smoked Piggy Pops

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things and these pieces of pork are made into an appetizer with a stick that you can pop into your mouth one after another without even getting sauce on your hands. Make plenty so when your guests go hog wild over these, there’ll be plenty to go around!

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Scale
  • Pork tenderloin (((recommended but you can also use pork loin or even boneless pork country style ribs)))
  • Jalapeños ((, seeded and cleaned))
  • Bacon
  • Jeff’s original rub and bbq sauce
  • Long wooden skewers

Instructions

Step 1: Cube the Meat

  1. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes or pieces

Step 2: Add the Flavor

  1. Generously apply Jeff’s original rub all over the meat making sure to coat all sides
  2. Cover container with lid or plastic wrap.
  3. Place meat in fridge for at least 4 hours but overnight is better to allow the meat to marinate and take on the flavor.

Step 3: Prepare the Peppers

  1. Clean and deseed jalapeños.
  2. Cut peppers in half then cut into pieces about ¾ inch square

Step 4: Partially Pre-cook the Bacon

  1. Cut the bacon in half
  2. Lay the half-strips of bacon into a shallow baking sheet and cook in 375°F oven for about 6 minutes

Step 5: Make the Pops

  1. Cut long skewers to the length you want or about 4 inches long.
  2. Wrap a single piece of meat in a half-slice of partially pre-cooked bacon
  3. Push pointed end of skewers through a piece of pepper then into the bacon wrapped piece of meat
  4. Continue with all meat until completed

Step 6: Smoke the Piggy Pops

  1. Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F
  2. Place the pops on the smoker grate and close the door
  3. Once the pops are almost done, drizzle sauce on the top (optional)
  4. Pops are done when they reach 145°F in the center (tenderloin) or 165 °F in the center for pork country style rib meat.

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11 Comments

  1. I had a problem with this recipe, can you help me out? I use a Smokin-it #2 smoker and followed the recipe, but my pork pops got done way before the bacon wrap. I prepared the pops as directed and smoked with apple wood at 225. After 25 minutes my temp probe (Maverick 732) indicated an IT 138 degrees so I turned the temperature down and lumbered along . . . . It was a bust. Finally pulled it all out, fried the bacon and made a sandwich spread in the food processor out of the pork, bacon & jalapenos. Any suggestions??

    1. I would say when I made mine… 3 things I did different from the recipe and came out great… I used loin (not tenderloin) and I cut my pieces into about 1.5in squares and cut my bacon strips in thirds. I cooked for about 45 min and then added small amount of sauce and cooked about 20min longer… Let rest about 20min (since travelled with them).

      As for the bacon,it was not crisp but wasn’t chewy either. I think for the type of food, I rather have it that way…

  2. could these be done on a gas grill rather than a smoker? Is it possible to try higher temperatures for shorter times to help get the bacon more crispy even if they had to be turned occasionally during the cook?

    1. Tom, you absolutely can. Pork tenderloin is very well suited for the grill and of course the higher heat will definitely help the bacon. It will get done much faster so use a good quick reading thermometer and consider removing them from the grate when they reach 140 °F as they will continue to rise a few degrees due to residual heat. Let us know how it goes.

  3. These were fantastic…I ended up making with pork loin instead of tenderloin as that is what was on sale. It was really cheap and by far the quickest seller at the potluck dinner I went to.

  4. Made this recipe per instructions. Taste is good but the bacon is still chewy like any bacon cooked at 240 or below.

    1. Eric, lean pork such as pork loin and pork tenderloin.. even chops is safely done and at it’s best at 145°F.
      This is not the case for pork that is less lean. It is safe to eat at 145 but not yet tender. It requires a longer time in the heat to bring the tenderness. This is why we cook pork butts to 200°F+ and they literally fall apart when you take them out of the smoker. At 145 °F pork butt is tough as shoe leather.