Editors Note: Thanks to Beer & Pig reader Billy Hanley for submitting this comparison and critique of two different styles of Jalapeño Poppers from two local Virginia establishments: hot and savory from Cowboy Café and sweet and flavorful from the Q Company. Enjoy!
An instant go to appetizer for me will always be the jalapeño popper. However, with this appetizer there has always been big controversy, down to the type of cheese, breaded or un-breaded, bacon wrapped or bacon stuffed. For me, the one question I always ask is, “Are they hot or sweet?”
Love the Heat- Cowboy Café:
If you would prefer the melt your face hot and savory popper; The Cowboy Café in Arlington, VA has the hottest most delicious poppers I have ever tried.
Cowboy Café takes a full pepper and injects it with cream cheese then frys the entire thing, stem and all. Without pitting the jalapeño the capsaicin level stays as high as possible. Asthmatics be warned, I have seen these hot little bad boys bring on coughing fits and take men to their knees. This is one of the tastiest and hottest poppers I have ever had and a go-to whenever we have enough people to share. One plate is too much for this guy to tackle alone.
Some people are not fans of the heat, and prefer the flavor of a jalapeño without being burned by the awesomeness. If this your go to then you should swing into The Q Company in Leesburg, VA. Their bacon wrapped poppers are such an amazing way to gear up for incredible BBQ.
The Q Company has crushed the competition when it comes to the sweet and flavorful Jalapeño Popper. They are halved and cleaned before being stuffed, with a cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. These baked canoes of awesome are packed with flavor and unlike the other type get a plate for yourself, you won’t want to share.
Usually while I’m sitting around waiting for whatever slab of animal product I have sprawled out on the grill to cook to perfection, I am engaged in an abundance of activities. Activities that usually involve a combination of drinking something with an ABV, day dreaming about future denim purchases, yelling at neighborhood children and eating. Yes, eating. Why would I eat while waiting to eat? Did you really just ask yourself that? If so, do all of us a favor and head over to Pinterest and look at pictures of crafts cause this obviously isn’t the place for you.
Of course, I could just sit back, relax and breathe in the aura of natures being like an every day Joe, but I can’t. I just can’t! The whole notion of a “lazy Sunday” is not something I follow. I need to be in the thick of things. Runnin’ around in foliage, belting out lyrics to songs with washboards and gettin’ elbow deep in appetizers. Fist-fulls of decadent appetizers! And there is no better app than one that is not only easy as shit to put together…but one that’s chock full of pork and God damned cheese!
Enter, the EASY SPICY SAUSAGE DIP!
Us fellas get a bad wrap. If you don’t believe me, then just turn on your television and wait a minute. People assume when we say we are bringing a dip to an event that we’re most likely showing up with either a jar of Tostitos queso or a can of Fritos French onion dip. While I would happily take both of those and coat my entire body in their splendor, I demand a bit more reverence, and you should too! So lets get you all set up to WOW the crowd without taking a shit load of time away from your day.
Sometimes a good side dish is just as important as the main attraction. Shit, sometimes I will get in this unexplainable trance where I decimate all my sides before I even take a glance at the Old 96’er. I’ve even been known to make an entire plate composed solely of sides as my meal. Sure, when no one is looking I will then grab a fist full of brats and scurry off alone into a dark corner to shove them down my gullet before anyone is the wiser, but the point here is that I like sides.
This is more than my personal likes though.In case you haven’t noticed, we here at Beer & Pig love ourselves some BBQ. It’s what we think about when we pleasure ourselves in the morning and Its the last thing we think about before drifting off into a beer induced slumber at night. Yea, it’s a big deal around here! And there is no other side that goes with BBQ quite like a fluffy on the inside/crispy on the outside hush puppy!
Little known fact, hush puppies can be made by you. Yes, YOU! You can do so without getting a to-go order from Long John Silver’s, without getting a ready-made mix from Food Lion and *GASP* without a deep fryer!
Inconceivable, you say?! C’mon reader, I thought you knew me better than to question my sovereignty. I’m mildly offended. In fact, if we weren’t separated by this computer monitor, I’d spit in your mothers face. But I’m a good man; someone who can forgive and forget. I refuse to let your ignorance thwart you from receiving yet another secret recipe from me that might as well be hidden in the index of Professor Henry Jones diary. Hit the jump for your shopping list. (more…)
At Beer & Pig, we typically avoid bland things. I’m sure that I have never had anything labeled as “Gluten Free.” I believe that removing gluten from anything is the equivalent of removing alcohol from Scotch, or removing “And the Rockets’ Red Glare” from the Star Spangled Banner. I have never been to a Vegan Restaurant, nor spoken to a Vegan long enough to have reached a third sentence (the second sentence was always “Goodbye”). I have faith that the main result from eliminating gluten from a planned meal or snack, or eating anything so stripped of quality that it can be labeled “Vegan”, is to stab at the heart of America. Fortunately, B&P stands as a shield to these encroachments.
With those thoughts in mind, I received a recommendation from the editorial staff at B&P to try the Frito Pie with 1 Hour Texas Chili, by Steamy Kitchen. Steamy Kitchen is a site run by Jaden Hair, a well-respected chef and food columnist, who has previously appeared on the Today Show, TLC, and many other media outlets. More recently, you could see her as a chef star on ABC’s Recipe Rehab. Her recipes have achieved the reputation of being easy to prepare, extremely delicious, and always made from fresh ingredients.
She describes the Frito Pie as a “Texas delicacy, popular at county fairs, and considered good tail-gaitin’ eats.” If organized correctly, it only takes about 10 minutes of preparation time, then 60-90 minutes of cooking.
Jalapeños can get a bad rap from the majority of people. Ladies hate em’ without even trying ’em simply because they THINK they’ll be too hot. “Pepper snobs” hate ’em just because they want to seem more intelligent than us common folk and insist on eating ghost chilis while mocking us, even though the lower portion of their face is now numb and they are drooling all over themselves.
For the rest of us, we feel the jalapeño love; we feel it deep down in our plums! In fact, jalapeños are one of the only (if not THE only) “vegetables” that we here at Beer & Pig are willing to associate ourselves with. But what do you do with these little firecrackers besides making them an ingredient for another dish or chopping them up to use as some insignificant garnish?
I’ll tell you what you do. You jam cheese and spices in those little f’ers, swaddle them in a bacon burka and make ’em the star of the whole damned show!
The beauty of it all? You have a delicious side dish that even the most powder-puff of taste buds can tolerate. Plus, they are easy enough to construct that a soulless vegan could fashion them while blindfolded.