While Armadillo Eggs may not be fine dining, they taste amazing. There are many different stuffing options, but I like to keep it simple since this is fun food. Some people wrap the sausage with bacon before smoking.
Breakfast sausage is seasoned with sage and takes on a wonderful flavor when smoked; however, if you prefer another bulk sausage, 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 jalapeños, you can control the level of heat easily. First, remove all of the pith and seeds for a less spicy result. Alternatively, spice up the dish by chopping the core and seeds and adding them to 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.
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.
- cutting board
- Sharp Knife
- mixing bowl
- gallon zip lock or pastry bag (optional)
- smoker (optional)
- 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 the Smoker or Oven
- Prepare a wood smoker to (240°F or 115°C) degrees. Alternatively, you can make these in a regular oven without smoking. Just bake the Armadillo Eggs at (240°F or 115°C)for around 40 minutes or until the sausage is cooked.
Prepare the Jalapeños
- Remove the goat or cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes). Warming the cheese is crucial when mixing and stuffing the peppers so that the cheese is soft enough to work.
- 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 pith and seeds.
Prepare the Stuffing
- 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.
- Next, 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've stuffed the peppers by hand with a flexible spreading knife.
Wrapping the Jalapeños
- Starting with the filled jalapeños, measure out enough bulk sausage to wrap around each jalapeno. Next, 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 off the work surface and, with your hands, form the sausage around each jalapeño, covering the entire surface. (If you wish to wrap the eggs with bacon.)
- Place the Armadillo Eggs on a smoker-safe pan (preferably a cooling rack sprayed with oil) and place them into the smoker at (240°F or 115°C) 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.
- After 40 minutes, remove the Armadillo Eggs from the smoker or oven and allow them to rest for 8 minutes. Armadillos Eggs are best warm (not hot). If you have any leftovers or you made extra, refrigerate promptly or freeze them for later use.
- 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 chopped black olives. However, I like the original version best.