WORDS BY REBECCA HANLON – Harrisburg Magazine
Appalachian Brewing Company Jalapeno Poppers
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to sweat a little because the Bacon-Wrapped Poppers at Appalachian Brewing Company mean business. While these stuffed jalapenos seem like an innocent-enough appetizer, their fresh, never-frozen attributes paired with other quality ingredients leave some patrons reaching for one cold beer after another to wash it all down.
Chef Kyle Mason started serving the poppers just last year, and they are consistently one of the best-selling dishes on the menu, he says.
“People are familiar with the concept of poppers, and if they’re looking for something with a decent kick, it’s usually their go-to,” Mason says.
The fresh jalapenos are cut in half and de-seeded to cut back on some of the heat. A little culinary tidbit, Mason says, is that the bulk of the heat in these peppers is often found in the seeds. But because these peppers are fresh, he adds, they never really mellow out the way frozen peppers would.
The peppers are filled with a cream-cheese stuffing that features a mix of Applewood bacon, sautéed onion, tomatoes and panko bread crumbs. The jalapenos are then wrapped with a piece of the same Applewood bacon. Instead of being breaded and tossed in the deep fryer, the way many traditional poppers are made, Mason likes to simply bake his in the oven.
An order of six is served up crispy and fresh with a side of homemade ranch sauce.
“Every pepper is different, so you’re looking at peppers that typically fall between medium and hot on the heat scale,” he says. “It’s a labor-intensive appetizer, but the guests just love them, so we’ll keep making them.”