Pork-Bellied Poppers

Total Time:
1 hr
Prep:
25 min
Cook:
35 min

Yield:
1 dozen
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 12 jalapeno peppers (about 3 inches each)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup prepared pulled pork
  • 11/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Barbecue sauce, for dipping
Directions

Slice each jalapeno open lengthwise, then make a small crosswise cut at the stem end to form a T. Gently open the jalapenos and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a knife. Put the jalapenos, milk and 2 cups water in a large bowl and soak 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, mix the cheddar, cream cheese, pulled pork and chili powder in a bowl with your hands until combined. Drain the jalapenos and pat them dry. Stuff 1 to 2 tablespoons cheese filling into each pepper.

Put the flour in a shallow dish. Whisk the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another dish. Put the breadcrumbs in a third dish. One at a time, hold the peppers by the stems and dredge in flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, letting the excess drip off, and roll in the breadcrumbs; dip in the eggs again and reroll in breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until the coating sets, about 20 minutes.

Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Fry the jalapenos in batches, turning, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve with barbecue sauce.

Photograph by Charles Masters


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