tater tots, cream cheese, jalapeños, bacon, toothpicks, brown sugar, Hungry Fan Barbecue Spice Blend, parsley, ranch dressing
The jalapeño popper is definitely a game day favorite. But this party staple hasn’t had much in the way of an upgrade in years, so we figured it was time. Our update? Drumroll please…tater tots. Yep, we’ve added a crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside tater tot into the middle of a popper.
Prepare for your mind to be blown, because the added crispy crunch makes for a great bite. And to make things easier, the tots can be grilled beforehand and held in a warm oven in our silicone baking cups. We’re all about making as much as we can ahead of time on game day or any time we’re entertaining.
1 bag frozen tater tots (do not defrost)
4 ounces cream cheese
2–3 jalapeños, pickled or fresh
1 pound thin-sliced bacon*
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Hungry Fan Barbecue Spice Blend
1 cup curly leaf parsley, for garnish
Ranch or blue cheese dressing, for serving
Set up your grill for indirect grilling at 350 degrees F.*
Slice bacon in half the short way so your slices are about 5-inches long.
Julienne the jalapeños. You want matchstick-type vertical cuts that are about the length of a tater tot.
Take one piece of bacon and use your fingers or a spoon to add about ½–1 teaspoon of cream cheese to the center of the edge of bacon. Next add 1 frozen tater tot and a slice of jalapeño on top of the cream cheese. Roll up the ingredients in the bacon slice and pin the bacon closed with a toothpick. Continue these steps until you have used all of the bacon slices.
Mix the brown sugar with the Hungry Fan Barbecue Spice Blend and spread evenly on a baking sheet, plate, or other level surface. Coat the poppers in the brown sugar and barbecue mixture.
Place the poppers on the grill. Be careful to not let them flame up too much*, or the sugar and bacon can burn. Let them cook until the bacon is crispy and the tater tot is warmed through. This will take about 10 minutes or so, depending on flare ups and how consistent your grill temperature is. Be sure to flip the pieces and move them around the grill so you don’t overcook or burn one side too much.
Place the poppers in silicone baking cups and hold in a warm oven until they’re ready to serve. To serve, add a small piece of curly leaf parsley to each cup, and drizzle with ranch or blue cheese dressing. (Try using a squirt bottle for this—it makes it much easier!)
1. Use thin sliced bacon to make sure it gets crispy. If using thicker bacon, partially cook it before proceeding to Step 4.
2. To do this (if using a gas grill), turn the outside two burners to medium-low or medium and turn the inside burner (or burners) off. Remember this via the “MOM” pneumonic: medium, off, medium.
3. If you have flames, move the poppers away from the flames carefully and close the lid so you’re not feeding the fire with more oxygen.