Monday, June 29, 2015

Turkey Popper Recipe

I found this recipe somewhere on the HuntingPA forums a few years ago, and it quickly became a camp favorite. I figured it was worth sharin' the recipe with y'all. Bear in mind, it works for just about any dead critter, not just turkey.

First off, a few notes. It's not really following a recipe so much as it is slapping some stuff together. A lot of the process is open to experimentation. Also, while they're not hard to make, it does take some time to prepare. If you can rope another person or two into helping, it goes much quicker.

The following recipe will make about 30-35 poppers.

Here's what I gather to start:

1 turkey breast
- Some folks marinate the breast prior to making these. I don't think it's necessary. Also, it's a lot easier to cube the meat when it's still 3/4 frozen.

1 pound of bacon
- Get the good stuff, otherwise it'll fall apart when you try to wrap it.

1 package of cream cheese
- It helps the cutting process if you throw it in the freezer for a half-hour to help firm it up. You can substitute other cheeses, but be advised that most of it will melt and fall off during the grilling process, whereas cream cheese doesn't.

1 jar of pickled jalapeño slices
- You can slice fresh jalapeños, but they turn out a lot hotter than the pickled slices. If you like hot stuff, give it a try. Your guests may not share your enthusiasm.

A pack of wooden skewers
- Soak these in water while you gather everything together. This will help keep them from burning up on the grill.

Next, I'll slice the bacon in half. Most bacon has 16-20 slices per pound, so this will give you 32-40 slices to work with.

Then I will cut my block of cream cheese into 35-40 slices.

I pick out 35-40 decent jalapeno slices from the jar and put them in a separate bowl, as to not expose the whole jar to raw turkey.

Then, I will cube the turkey breast into around 1" chunks.

Once all that's done, you can start assembling. Simply place a slice of cream cheese and jalapeño on your cube of meat, wrap a slice of bacon around it, then run a skewer through it to hold everything in place. I can generally get five or six poppers per skewer.

IMPORTANT: Once you're done, do not return any of the ingredients to their containers. Raw poultry, illness, etc. Some folks throw it away, but I just throw what's left on a skillet, scramble a few eggs and mix it all together. Makes for a good appetizer until the poppers are done.

I typically grill mine on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, then flip them and cook for another 5 minutes. YMMV depending on your grill. I've also heard that throwin' 'em in the smoker for a few hours is even better still, but I don't have a smoker to test that theory myself. Cookin' them on the stovetop would work to, in a pinch. If you have to, cut one open and make sure it's done, or get it to around 140° on a meat thermometer. I've been known to brush on some spicy BBQ sauce as they cook, but again, it's not really necessary and I don't worry with that much anymore.

The only bad thing about these is that they usually disappear in a lot less time than it takes to prepare them!

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