Peppers and pepper poppers

TURNING PEPPERS INTO (VENISON) POPPERS

TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR HARVEST AND CATCH 
By Albert Quackenbush

While we must eat to live, I live to eat! Of course, food is something that can be eaten alone or shared with others, but the best part is being able to masterfully create recipes on your own and chow down. This month I decided to share just a sample of my favorite wild game and fish preparations. There are many more, but these make my mouth water and are very easy to make – you just have to have some wild game in the freezer to make them too. Let’s get cookin’!

GRILLED VENISON POPPERS

You can start with jalapenos for a spicier popper, or if you are in the company of others who do not like spicy, start with a sweet pepper and kick in the flavors you want later. I have made both, and they both rock, but for this recipe I used the sweeter peppers.
I like to add marinated venison strips to my poppers. Cut about a pound of venison into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Sprinkle them with some garlic salt and set aside. (It’s too bad I ate all of my venison already – I had to make plain grilled poppers on this day!)
VENISON MARINADE
Garlic salt
Balsamic vinegar
I always do this to taste. I don’t want to overpower the entire appetizer, so I add just enough vinegar to coat the meat, add a few sprinkles of garlic salt and cover. Set them in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but overnight is best.
POPPER MIX
One 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, softened
6 to 10 sweet peppers (3 inches or better, if you can find them)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 pound of bacon, cured
Crushed red pepper (chili flakes)
Wooden skewers
Aluminum foil

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and brown sugar.
Fill each pepper with the mixture. Lay a strip of venison the length of each pepper. Take your pound of bacon and cut the layered strips in half. Wrap each pepper in a half strip of bacon, then skewer it to keep the bacon in place. I try to get five or six peppers on each skewer, but no more.
You want to be able to grab each wooden skewer from both ends. I use wooden skewers so as not to burn my fingers. The peppers are naturally sweet, so these might need a kick. I like to sprinkle some crushed red pepper over the top of the bacon right before I put it on the grill.
Set all the skewers on a piece of aluminum foil. This will help block flare up from the bacon grease as they cook.
Fire up one side of the grill (or barbecue) to 300 degrees. On the opposite side, put down the foil-protected poppers. Now it’s a waiting game. The indirect heat will help the venison cook through and the bacon to crisp up. Once the bacon is crisp, remove the poppers and serve! This dish feeds three to four people, depending on how hungry you or your friends are.Peppers and pepper poppers

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