You’ve heard of the jalapeño popper. It’s definitely a game day favorite. We decided to take this staple recipe and up the ante a bit. Because…why not? Besides, this recipe hasn’t had much in the way of an upgrade in years, so we figured it was time. Our update? Drumroll please…tater tots. Yep, we’ve added a crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside tater tot (we love tots!) into the middle of a popper.

The added crispy crunch makes for a great bite. Prepare for your mind to be blown. And to make things easier, the tots can be grilled beforehand and held in a warm oven in our silicone baking cups. We’re all about making as much as we can ahead of time on game day or any time we’re entertaining.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen tater tots (do not defrost)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (about half a brick)
  • 2–3 jalapeños (can use pickled ones in place of fresh, as desired)
  • 1 pound (about 1 package) thinly sliced bacon
  • Toothpicks (you’ll need one for each ½ slice of bacon)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Hungry Fan Barbecue Organic Spice Blend
  • 1 cup curly leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Ranch or blue cheese dressing, to taste

Directions:

  1. Set up your grill for indirect grilling at a temperature of 350 degrees. To do this (if using a gas grill), turn the outside two burners to medium-low or medium and turn the inside burner (or burners) off. Remember this via the “MOM” pneumonic: medium, off, medium.
  2. Slice the bacon in half the short way, so your slices are about 5-inches long.
  3. Julienne the jalapeño, so you end up with matchstick type vertical cuts that are about the length of a tater tot.
  4. Take one piece of bacon, and use your fingers or a spoon to add about ½–1 teaspoon of cream cheese to the inside of the piece of bacon. Next add 1 frozen tater tot on top of the cream cheese. Lastly, add a slice of jalapeño. Roll up the ingredients in the bacon slice and pin the bacon closed with a toothpick. Continue these steps until you have used all of the bacon slices.
  5. Mix the brown sugar with the Hungry Fan Barbecue Organic Spice Blend and place evenly on a baking sheet, plate, or other level surface. Roll the poppers in the mixture to coat them.
  6. Place the poppers on the grill, careful to not let them flame up too much, or the sugar and bacon can burn. Note: If you have flames, move the poppers away from the flames carefully, and close the lid, so you’re not feeding the fire with more oxygen. Let them cook until the bacon is crispy and the tater tot is warmed through. This will take about 10 minutes or so, depending on flare ups and how consistent your grill temperature is. Be sure to flip the pieces continually, so you don’t overcook or burn one side too much. No one wants a burned tot! Move the pieces around on the grill to ensure they cook more evenly.
  7. Place the poppers in silicone baking cups and hold in a warm oven until they’re ready to serve. To serve, add a small piece of curly leaf parsley to each cup, and drizzle with ranch or blue cheese dressing. (Try using a squirt bottle for this—it makes it much easier!)

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