Stuffed Jalapeños – Atomic Buffalo Turds
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This week I am sharing stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon, one of my favorite smoked appetizers. These are also are called “Atomic buffalo turds” or ABT’s for somewhat obvious reasons =)
These jalapenos are stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and extra sharp cheddar then wrapped in bacon. These are amazing for parties, get togethers, anytime it’s gonna be a while till dinner and guests are hungry, or just because you are craving them.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Smoker Temp: 230°F
- Meat Finish Temp: N/A
- Recommended Wood: Maple or Cherry
- Cream Cheese*
- Extra sharp cheddar, grated*
- Jeff’s original rub
- Bacon, thin cut is best
*I suggest making a lot of these but make sure you have a few hands to help put these together. It works a lot better as an assembly line.
For the bacon, I use a whole piece for the whole peppers and a half piece of bacon for the half pepper boats. Most thin cut bacon will have about 13 slices but you should probably count them while you are in the store to make sure you get enough.
There’s a couple of different ways to prepare these– leave them whole or cut them in half.
Personally, I like them cut in half but you can try them both ways and see how you like them.
Regardless of whole or half, you do the initial prep the same so let’s get started.
Wash the peppers
Remove the handle (stem)
Remove the seeds and veins
I usually do this with a small paring knife but I just recently purchased a special tool for this at the local hardware store and it works pretty good. Here’s a similar one on Amazon if you want to see it.
If you know that you are planning to cut them in half and you don’t have a special tool for coring out the peppers, you can cut them in half first then remove the seeds and veins if that’s easier for you.
You have to find your own mojo on these and it will get better with a little practice.
Trust me.. by the time you do 30 of these, you’ll be quite the expert.
At this point you probably need to fully decide if you want to leave them whole or cut them in half.
Here are the 9 peppers that I left whole.. sitting in a pepper holder that came with my jalapeño corer:
And then here’s the 43 boats that I made by cutting 21 of the peppers in half.
I have no idea how I ended up with an extra.. maybe I actually started with 22 and dropped one of the halves?
This cream cheese mixture is the bomb and it’s so good you may be tempted to lick the spoon.. I also had this problem.
As long as you know that if you lick the spoon too much, you may not have enough to fill all of the peppers ;)
I try to figure on 8 oz of cream cheese, 1 cup of shredded cheese and ¼ cup of my original rub per 12-15 whole peppers or 24-30 half peppers.
I purchased around 30 peppers so I decided to make a double batch of the mixture with the following ingredients:
- 16 oz of cream cheese (soften on counter for an hour)
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar (extra sharp)
- ½ cup of Jeff’s original rub
Mix it all up with a fork or whatever utensil works for you.
Lick the mixing utensil.. it’d be a shame to waste it!
Now we are ready for my favorite part, stuffing the peppers with this delicious mixture =)
There’s no right or wrong way to do this.. just use a spoon to get the mixture into the whole peppers or into the half pepper boats.
1 slice per whole pepper or half slices for the half pepper boats works best for me.
I purchased 3 lbs of bacon and used just slightly over 2 lbs.
Wrap the bacon around the pepper and try to figure it so it ends up finishing on the bottom of the pepper. In this way, the pepper sits on the end of the bacon and no toothpick is required to hold it in place.
I stopped using toothpicks several years ago and never looked back.. just not really necessary in my opinion.
Here’s the whole peppers wrapped in bacon:
And the boats all wrapped up:
Give them another sprinkle of my original rub and they are ready for the smoker.
About the smoker..
For these wonderful smoked stuffed jalapeños appetizers I used the new Bradley Smart Smoker.. it’s a good smoker and perfect for so many applications.
One of the things that we talked about in the last newsletter (the one with questions and answers) is how to get more smoke in electric smokers. Some electric smokers have trouble producing smoke due to the heating element cycling on and off and to make the chips and chunks smolder and produce smoke, you need constant heat really.
This is where the Bradley really shines.. it has it’s own low wattage heat plate that produces constant heat. The bisquettes move onto the heat plate and this constant heat has been calibrated perfectly so that it causes the wood to smolder but not ignite. Heck, you can even run the smaller heat plate to produce smoke and leave the main heating element turned off.. I’m thinking smoked cheese baby!
I got the Bradley set up with enough maple bisquettes for 2 hours of smoke and 3 hours of cooking time at 230°F which is perfect for these ABT’s.
Once the Bradley was hovering around 230°F, I put the Bradley racks filled with the prepared jalapeños into the smoker.
I also placed the pepper rack with the 9 whole peppers on one of the racks.
The door was closed and it was hands off for 3 hours while I waited for the peppers.
At exactly 3 hours I opened the door and removed the stuffed jalapeño peppers to the kitchen. As expected they were perfectly done and the flavor was amazing.
If you are not planning to eat these right away, put them into a foil pan covered with foil and into a oven at it’s lowest setting (usually about 170°F) to keep them hot.
Serve and watch them disappear like magic!
Get some help
Solicit a few other people to help with this. If you set up an assembly line where someone is cutting stems, a couple of folks are coring and then someone is cutting them in half, etc. it’s much easier.
I was an engineer (IE & ME) in a previous life so this appeals to me.. the person removing the stems could also be cutting them in half to balance out the work and reduce bottlenecks.
If you only have one other helper, perhaps one could remove the stem and core while the next person cuts them in half and stuffs. You could then work together to wrap with bacon.
As you can see, this can be engineered down to a well oiled machine..
Reduce the “hotness”
If jalapeños are just too hot for some, you can soak them in sprite or some other lemon lime soda for a couple of hours once the seeds and veins are removed. You can do this whole or in halves.. works great either way.
Some of the spiciness will leach out into the soda and the peppers will become more mild. The longer you soak, the more mild they become.
Save the soda to use when marinating chicken or some other meat.. it will give them a nice jalapeño flavor.
I know some of you are wondering.. I have no idea if you can use other types or flavors of soda. I heard about this trick several years ago and it worked so I figure if it’s not broke…
Finding thin bacon
As I mentioned, anytime you are wrapping things in bacon for the smoker, thin bacon usually works best.
Bacon is usually not labeled as “thin” but what you can do is count the slices to see how thin it is. If you find a pound size package of bacon and it has 12-13 slices, it is cut fairly thin. The more pieces of bacon in the pound package, the thinner the bacon.
Stuffed Jalapeños – Atomic Buffalo Turds aka ABT’s
Jalapeños stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and extra sharp cheddar then wrapped in bacon. Folks who make these call them Atomic Buffalo Turds or ABT’s.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 -8 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Hot Smoking
- 30 Jalapeños*
- 16 oz Cream Cheese*
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar ((grated*))
- 1/2 cup Jeff’s original rub
- 30 slices bacon (thin cut is best (about 2 lbs))
- Prepare Jalapenos Wash the jalapeños. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds and veins. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise so they become boats.
- Make Stuffing Combine 16 oz of cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded extra sharp cheddar and ½ cup of Jeff’s original rub into a large bowl. Mix well.
- Stuff Jalapenos Stuff the mixture into the boats just slightly heaped up over the edges.
- Wrap Cut the bacon slices in half and wrap a half slice of bacon around each stuffed pepper.
- Lay Out Place the stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapeños onto a Bradley rack for easy transport into and out of the smoker.
- Prepare Smoker Set up your smoker for cooking at about 230°F and enough wood for about 2 hours of smoke.
- Smoke Smoke cook the stuffed jalapeños for 3 hours or until the peppers are wimpy and the bacon is done and has good bite thru.
- Serve Serve immediately.
Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce!
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Ray here in Ontario Canada. Just made up a 1/4 bushel of fresh Ontario jalapenos…all 3 – 4″ and hottest you’ll find. Used herb and Garlic, cream cheese with tex-mex shreds, roasted red pepper and garlic and some with pulled pork and all bacon wrapped. Have them in bags of 12 (12 bags in all) and put in the freezer. Just have to thaw and smoke. A lot of work but well worth it.
I have made these several times. Always popular. I use a melon baller to remove seeds like another on here. Make a single slit and you can make these from an intact pepper. I leave the stems on for handles while eating for convenience. i am experimenting with some changes to see if I can improve this already great recipe. Thanks for all you do. My smokers are of the cheaper varieties.
I used a half slice of bacon and use a plain wood toothpick to skewer. It holds the bacon and is handy for eating.
I also brush on BBQ when they are done slow cooking then put them under a broiler or torch them to caramelize BBQ sauce.
Great recipe, but I cooked them on my Green Mountain pellet smoker at 230 degrees for 2.5 hours and burned them up. Learned a valuable lesson to check them periodically.
Sounds like your smoker is cooking hotter than what it is saying.. you might consider placing a temperature probe inside in several locations to see how the temperature compares to what the controller says it is. I have been making these for years and 3 hours at normal smoking temperatures should not burn them up unless the temperature is higher than it should be or the heat is not indirect. Post back and let us know if you test the heat.
A trick I use when doing these is that I add the cream cheese mixture into a ziplock bag and cut one of the corners off. I use it like a pastry bag to “pipe” into the jalapeños. It works for both whole peppers and halves.
One thing I’ve found to be helpful when making these is to wear gloves! I’ve made them in the past without gloves, and even after washing my hands a few times I would still experience burning when touching my face or eyes! We learn as we go…..
made these for the guy’s super bowl party. they were gone almost right away. I had my wife try one beforehand and she even liked them. when they come off of the smoker, they actually look like a turd, but boy, are they delicious. I use a melon baller to clean out the seeds.
I use a jerky cannon with the attachment that makes meat sticks to stuff my jalapeño peppers. just fill with cheese fill.
For memorial day weekend going to smoke a brisket, in a kettle grill my first. Hope all go’s well. And those ABT’s as well.
Jeff, very nice write up. I’ve been making the ABT’s for the last 10 years on our annual “boys weekend” rafting trip. They’ve always been a big hit and have become legendary! I’ve been modifying them a little each year and one year I used some Serrano peppers along with the Jalapenos. They had good flavor, but didn’t work as well, due to their much smaller size. I used to use little smokies as well, as a lot of people use them in their recipe. Last year, I decided to use sauceless pulled pork instead of the smokies and also switched to thick cut peppered bacon. I cook mine in a small gas powered tailgate grill in an aluminum foil pan and use apple wood in a smoker pack or tube. They seem to take about 30-45 minutes to cook (depending on how many beers I had prepping the peppers) at about 300 degrees (as low as the grill will cook without lifting the lid). Keep up the good work! See the link below for some of my work.
Made these on Weekend. I added some green onion and crab to the mixture. They were a hit, everybody want the recipe.
Added a slice of smoked brisket nestled in the cheese before we bacon wrapped. Wow!
I am just wondering why you never talk about the masterbuilt smoker. I know its cheaper than the bradly and some of the others, but I’m wondering if you don’t like it or what? since I follow your advice in all matters smoking. am I doing something wrong using the masterbuilt or what? thanks for a great website for us wanabe smokers.
I like the Masterbuilt and I think it’s a great line of smokers. We talk about them a lot on the forum at smokingmeatforums.com but I personally do not have one so it limits my first hand knowledge. I need to pick one up eventually or get the company to send me one for experimentation.
I make the same thing as these with one slight addition.
Put the cheese mix in the half pepper, then add a Lil Smokie sausage on top of the cheese, then wrap the bacon.
This looks yum. I have a question. I am Australian and over here a turd is another name for a poo. Is it the same in America?
Karen, You are correct. I didn’t name these and that probably would NOT have been the name I would have chosen but alas the name has stuck.. really well I might add. That’s what they are called in barbecue circles all over the United States and perhaps beyond. I am guessing a 12 year old named these or perhaps a 12 year old in a 40 year old body.. some of us boys revert to being that 12 year old occasionally =) Regardless, these are insanely good no matter what you choose to call them.
Jeff: I’ve really enjoyed the effort you put in on this blog (or what ever you may call it, as I am both old-school and fairly old, so not sure of the terms). I’ve been a good customer as I paid for your beginner’s tutorial and your rub recipe. BUT; when you advocate and praise a $600 smoker when cooking $20 worth of ingredients, I’ve just got to wonder who’s paying you off! For you to not mention the price of that unit is extremely odd as you used to be balanced in providing both the low end and high end options for equipment. What’s up?
Chris, I’m not sure that i’m understanding the meaning in your comment.. I use a lot of different smokers and only recommend the ones that I like to use and feel are worth the money. In this recipe, I used the Bradley smart smoker, which I have been using for several months now and I think it’s a great smoker and worth what they charge for it. Furthermore, everywhere that smoker is mentioned, is a link for you to click on. When you click on the link it takes you to amazon where you can read all the details, see the current price, read hundred of reviews and even purchase it if you like.
The price changes periodically on amazon so, of course, I’m not going to hard key the price into the recipe on my website. There again, it’s just a click away if you are interested =)
NumNumNum… how i love these!!!! Thought I’d share a few tips i’ve found along the way too. When halving the peppers, I’ve found using a grapefruit spoon works very well in de-seeding and veining. Also ,last time i had way more peppers than bacon as my co-worker brought me a huge bag from her garden. It worked fine to quarter the bacon slices and lay a piece right over the top of each pepper. And least i forget how much I like to dab a bit of Jeff’s bbq sauce right on the bacon. Can’t get enough of these things !!
i just did these with a little difference. I made pimento cheese for the stuffing, and pickled the jalapenos, and they turned out great!