Gluten-Free Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers

Sometimes you like things hot. Really hot. But this weekend I quickly discovered that my garden’s peppers are, yes indeed, an example of something that is just way, way too hot.

So what is a girl to do with a garden-full of way, way too hot peppers?

And then suddenly a super-cool idea popped into my mind. Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers.

The saltiness of the smoked bacon, the creamy smoothness of the cream cheese and the blackened grilled peppers are sure bets to offset the spicy capsaicin, the stuff that makes peppers wicked hot.

The key to reducing the spiciness of the peppers in this recipe is the removal of the ribs, membranes and seeds in the peppers. This is a sure way to reduce, but not eliminate some of the heat. Also the casein in the cream cheese helps ease the burn, while the fat, mixed with the oils from the peppers helps neutralize the heat. I also think that blackening the pepper skins helps lower the Richter Scale of hotness.

Oh… and a word of caution – please (pretty please?) make sure that you wear plastic disposable gloves when preparing this recipe. Hot peppers are serious stuff.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers

5-6 medium sized hot peppers, (such as Italian, serrano or similar)

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

One 8-ounce package of cream cheese – softened

10-12 slices of smoked bacon

1-2 pairs of plastic disposable gloves (important when handling peppers!)

Wearing a pair of disposable plastic gloves, slice each pepper lengthwise, leaving the stems intact.

Using a paring knife, a small fork and your fingers, carefully remove all seeds, ribs and membranes from inside the pepper (basically all of the white stuff inside the peppers). Brush the sides and inside of the pepper with olive oil.

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat, and place the peppers onto the grill, turning occasionally until slightly blackened. (Note: you could also use a broiler to do this too).

Remove the peppers from the grill and carefully stuff the peppers with the cream cheese. Wrap each stuffed pepper with one to two slices of bacon, and place back on grill and cook, carefully turning occasionally, until the bacon is slightly crispy and cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3-6 as an appetizer.

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