While Armadillo Eggs may not be fine dining, they taste amazing. There are many different stuffing options, but since this is fun food I like to keep it simple. Some people wrap the sausage with bacon before smoking. I prefer to simplify and just use sausage.
Breakfast sausage is seasoned with sage and takes on a wonderful flavor when smoked, however if you have another bulk sausage you prefer, go with that one. When I smoke brisket, ribs or pork shoulder, I throw in several other foods to offer variety and utilize the smoker as much as possible.
Control the Heat
When using jalapenos, you can control the level of heat easily. Remove all of the pith and seeds for a less spicy result. Alternatively, spice up the dish by chopping up the pith and seeds, and adding them back into the cheese stuffing. If I have some of my Southern Style Pimento Cheese made up in the fridge, I will stuff the peppers with that or (as in this case), mix in a bit of goat cheese and sharp cheddar. Additionally, if you don’t have a smoker, the Armadillo Eggs can easily be cooked in an oven.
Wine and Beer Pairings.
While beer is the obvious choice (Pilsner, Kolsch or Bavarian Marzen) for sausage, if you prefer wine, try Pinot Noir, 2017, Sebastopol Ridge, Russian River Valley, CA , Prosecco,2015, Veneto, Italy
This is a great fun food. I often make these when I have an extra open rack in my smoker that is too small to accommodate anything else. Once they are smoked they can be frozen and used later, like on game day or when someone unexpectedly drops by and you need a quick snack. There is relatively little work here but it offers a super flavorful payoff.
- 6 whole jalapeños, stemmed and cored
- 2 lbs sausage, breakfast roll
- 8 oz goat cheese or cream cheese
- 4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
- 6 slices bacon (optional)
Prepare a wood smoker to 240 degrees. Alternatively you can make these in a regular oven without smoking. Just bake the Armadillo Eggs at 240 degrees for around 40 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through.
Remove the goat or cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes). This is an important step when mixing and stuffing the peppers so that the cheese is soft enough to work with.
Cut the stems off of the jalapeños. Using a pairing or small thin knife, remove the pith and seeds from the chili. While holding the chili, gently knock out any remaining seeds onto your work surface.
Option 1 (spicy): Chop up the pith and seeds to add to your cheese mixture.
Option 2 (mild): Remove and discard the jalapeño seeds.
In a small mixing bowl, add room temperature goat cheese or cream cheese. Mix with shredded sharp cheddar. The cheddar gives the yolk color to the eggs when they are cut open. This is optional, but it does look and taste great.
(Options): You can add more flavors to the cheese mixture if you desire, such as finely minced garlic or roasted garlic, fired roasted diced red pepper, dry ranch dressing mix, and for a California style version, add diced black olives. Personally I like the original version best.
Add the cheese mixture to a pastry bag or a plastic gallon Ziploc bag (snipped off on one corner), to make it easy to pipe the cheese mixture into the jalapeños. Alternatively, I stuff the peppers by hand with a flexible spreading knife, but if you are going to make very many of these, go with the piping bag technique since it will make quick work.
Once the jalapeños are all stuffed, measure out enough of the bulk sausage to wrap around each jalapeno. Use the heel of the palm of your hand to make a thin-ish layer of sausage on your work surface. Use the jalapeño to determine the size.
Next, use a knife or spatula to scrape up the sausage from the work surface and, with your hands, form the sausage around each jalapeño covering the entire surface.
Place the Armadillo Eggs on a smoker safe pan (preferably a cooling rack sprayed with oil) and place into the smoker at 240 for approximately 40 minutes. Alternatively you can do these in a regular oven for the same amount of time.
Check the Armadillo Eggs often towards the end of the cooking cycle. Since you will be eyeballing how much sausage you will be using, and the size of the jalapeños may differ, the cooking time may take longer or shorter given these variations.
Once the Armadillo Eggs are thoroughly cooked, remove them from the smoker or oven and allow to rest. They are best served warm (not hot). If you have any leftovers or you made extra, refrigerate promptly or freeze them for later use.