Tue Aug 14, 2012
The Meatwave Team's last competition of the season is coming up this weekend. Not only is this the biggest event we've been in to date, 50 teams total, but also the longest—spanning three days. On top of the eight different categories I have to cook, this long weekend also has me considering keeping the team well fed, especially before the leftovers start piling up. So while I haven't made anything beyond the required categories in the previous two comps, this time around I'm bringing some extra treats with me, which include a mess of armadillo eggs—that's cheese-stuffed and sausage-wrapped jalapenos.
I'm no stranger to stuffed jalapenos, I've been making them for many years, but they've pretty much always been of the bacon-wrapped variety. Considering a new, heftier sausage wrapper though, I decided I needed to up the flavors in the filling to stand against the stronger meat better. To do this, I added grated sharp cheddar and cilantro into the mix with the required cream cheese.
On my first try at armadillo eggs, I tested out both hot and regular breakfast sausage as a wrapper. The overall consensus was the hot was too much when paired with the spicy jalapeno, but the regular added a nice mild, herby touch that was perfect. Of course, you can use whatever fresh sausage your heart desires, I just started with breakfast sausages because they seem to be the most popular for making eggs.
I first tried to wrap the entire cheese-stuffed jalapeno in a sausage wrapper, but found it was beyond the nice single serving these should be. So I ended up slicing each stuffed jalapeno in half, then wrapped them in flattened patties that were in the 1 1/2 ounce range. This made the perfect, bite-size egg I was looking for.
At this point, I saw no reason why I couldn't add even more flavor and gave the eggs a sprinkle with barbecue rub before taking them to the grill.
Over indirect heat, they took about 30 minutes to cook and brown nicely. While I was expected these to have a little more heft than their jalapeno-wrapped brethren, I was unprepared for the powerhouse of flavor that was about to unfold.
The sausage was meaty, smoky, and moist, with a great caramelized crust. That alone is enough to make them excellent, but the bite into them brought out an explosion of fruity heat that was tempered by the oozing, creamy stuffing. So much meat, so much flavor, and so filling, these are going to be the perfect treat for team snacking as we sit for hours waiting for those briskets, pork butts, and ribs to be turned in, so we can then go to town on the leftovers.
- Prep Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 1 Hour
- 24 eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded
- 2 pounds loose breakfast sausage
- 1 tablespoon favorite barbecue rub
- 1 small piece of light smoking wood, like apple or cherry
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and cilantro.
- Place one spoonful of cream cheese mixture into each jalapeno half. Cut each jalapeno into two equal pieces.
- Break off a ball of sausage about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Flatten sausage into a 1/4-inch thick disc and place stuffed-jalapeno piece in the center. Wrap sausage around jalapneo, pinching sausage closed to completely encase jalapeno. Gentle roll sausage in your hands to create a smooth egg shape. Repeat with remaining sausage and jalapeños.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place smoking wood directly on top of coals. Sprinkle barbecue rub all over armadillo eggs, then place eggs on cool side grill and cover, with top air vent positioned over cool side of grill. Cook until sausage is cooked through and browned all over, about 30 minutes, flipping eggs halfway through. Any eggs not thoroughly browned can be quickly seared on hot side of grill, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.