Holy jalapeño- these elk poppers are the bomb! I started making these poppers last year and they are by far my most requested wild game recipe. They’re so easy to make, and they are always a huge hit whenever I serve them so I highly recommend these babies next time you have to make an appetizer! Make sure you make extra because they’re also AMAZING the next day as leftovers too!
This is the first blog that I’ve talked about hunting, which is a huge part of my life, so let’s set the record straight from the start: I am a very PROUD hunter. My dad is a hunter and his father was before him. Hunting is something that’s been passed down for generations in my family, and the reason I love it so much is because I want to know exactly where the meat on my dinner plate comes from. I want to know that the protein I am eating came from an animal that had a wild life, free of cages and hormones and GMOs. I want to appreciate the animal that gave its life to feed my family, and every single time I thaw out elk steak or deer sausage, I do exactly that because I know the hard work that went into getting that meat into my freezer. On top of that, I also love the adventure of being outdoors in the fresh air and the challenge of hiking to the top of the mountain and spending time with my friends and family in the wilderness. All of those things fill my soul with happiness.
I also love the fact that hunters raise more money for conservation and wildlife management programs than any other group of activists on this planet. I love hunting for so many reasons, which I will be writing about in more detail in future blogs, but for now, that’s a summarized explanation of why I hunt and why I prefer eating wild game over store-bought meat whenever possible. In saying this, most of my recipes revolve around wild game because that’s what my freezer is filled with (the elk I hunted last year will feed Tim, Leni, and I for the entire year!). However, I know not everyone has access to wild game year-round, so you can often substitute the meat I use with a similar type of meat, like lean beef, bison, or even turkey or chicken. Leave a comment below if you try an alternate protein and let me know how it turns out!
I love, love, love to cook but with a really busy life (like a lot of you out there), sometimes I find it hard to make enough time to cook a meal and handle all the clean-up that goes along with it. About a year ago I started using a Traeger Grill (the one pictured below is not available at Cabela’s quite yet, but they have a great selection like this one that I love and this one which is slightly smaller) and since then I’ve been cooking way more often because grilling keeps the mess outside, so my clean-up time is much quicker and it’s a healthy way to cook without using butters and oils. These poppers aren’t exactly diet-friendly (Hello, cream cheese and bacon!), but knowing that they’re grilled on my Traeger somehow makes me feel better about eating all of them in one go.
I used to make a more complicated version of this recipe, but I eventually simplified the ingredients and they taste just as good, and take way less time to prepare. Whether you have a Traeger or you’re using your regular grill or indoor oven, these poppers are YUM-NATION! They’re perfect to bring to a party, perfect for dinner with your family, or really perfect for no particular reason other than you want to eat something absolutely delicious.
(Makes 40 poppers)
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 2-4 elk steaks, depending how big they are (optional: can substitute elk steaks for dove breasts or any other wild-game steaks)
- 20 fresh Jalapeño peppers
- 12 oz. Herb & Garlic flavored Cream Cheese (Or any herb-flavored soft cheese will work – I used Alouette because that’s what I had in the fridge!)
- 20 strips of bacon, cut in half
- Honey to drizzle at the end (optional)
Thinly slice steaks into bite-sized pieces so they are approximately the same width and length as the jalapeños. Mix marinade ingredients together in a big bowl. Add sliced steak, cover, and let sit for at least 2 hours (I marinate them overnight).
Preheat Traeger (or regular oven/grill) to 350 degrees. Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise; remove seeds and center membrane, lay on a platter, cut side up. Spoon Cream Cheese equally into all jalapeño halves. Lay one slice of marinated elk on top of each jalapeño. Wrap each jalapeño popper in one piece of bacon. Place on grill, cut side up for 10-15 minutes or until meat is cooked and jalapeños are tender and lightly charred. Once you remove them from the grill, drizzle honey on poppers if you’re feeling extra wild – this gives them a sweet kick that cuts the spice!
I hope you love the recipe as much as I do! What are your go-to wild game recipes? What appies do you bring to parties?? What recipes do you want to see more of? Comment below and make sure you subscribe to my blog so you’re the first to get all the news!