Grilled wild game jalapeño poppers

Jalapeno poppers

Photo credit: Chris Neville

Summer is here! Well, for some of us at least. One of the best, quick and easy appetizers to bring to a barbeque is jalapeño poppers. These little bite-sized spicy treats are super easy to make. If you marinate your game meat the night before, you can have these prepared in under 20 minutes and rocking on the Traeger in no time. This particular marinade is optional. You do not have to marinate your steaks beforehand although I do because it takes these poppers to a whole other level of flavor. Today, we will be using Lorenzo Sartini's New Mexico bull elk from last year. If you want a little entertainment before this recipe, you can watch how this elk hunt went down in New Mexico here.

The good thing about this recipe is that you can substitute any meat into these jalapeño poppers. Whatever you might have in the freezer works just as good, although my all-time favorite substitute is dove.

Brady Miller’s go-to marinade for wild game:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar (replace with cheap red wine)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar

Elk poppers

  • 20 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 2 pounds of bacon (strips cut in half)
  • 2 to 3 12 oz. packages of cream cheese
  • 4 to 5 mule deer steaks (depending on the size) or 2 to 3 elk steaks
  • Toothpicks

Marinade (optional)

If you want to use the marinade, you want your elk meat soaking in there for at least two hours. I usually prepare this marinade the night before the barbeque. That way, when you are ready to prepare the poppers, the meat is ready to go.

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Let's start off with this marinade. Grab your elk meat and slice them approximately to the length of the jalapeños. Now, add all your marinade ingredients to a plastic bag or Tupperware container. Add your meat and leave in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.  

Step 1

Raw poppers

Photo credit: Jillian Sanford

Note: Be careful not to touch your eyes during this part!

Start by rinsing off each jalapeño pepper, then pat dry with a paper towel. Next, cut the top part off and then slice each pepper in half. After each pepper is cut in half, remove the seeds and center membrane. I find that using a spoon makes this part super easy.

Next, start by filling one jalapeño half evenly with cream cheese. Then, grab your marinated strip of meat and place on top of the cream cheese.

Step 2

Grilling poppers on Traeger

Grab a strip of bacon and wrap around the jalapeño. Then, use two toothpicks to poke through the popper, which will keep the meat from slipping out. Continue this process until each jalapeño is filled, wrapped, and ready to hit the grill.

Step 3

Grilling poppers

Heat your Traeger to 350 degrees. Place your poppers onto the grill cut side up, shut the lid and let them cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the bottoms are charred.

Grilling time will vary depending on the size of the jalapeños. Then they will be ready to come off the Traeger and placed on a pan.


Jillian Sanford poppers

These jalapeno poppers are absolutely delicious and will surely be a hit at your next barbeque, party or family get-together! The goHUNT team here at the Las Vegas office chowed down on these poppers and I am sure your family and friends will, too.

Remember: any game meat you have in your freezer will get the job done!

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