Fire up these mouth-watering Bacon Wrapped Sausage Popper Boats in your smoker, filled with creamy pimento cheese and crispy jalapenos. Very simple to make, these are a guaranteed hit for your next feast.
Who doesn’t love simple treats wrapped in bacon? These bacon-wrapped sausage popper boats are obviously super tasty, and thankfully very simple to prepare.
Try out the Original Sausage Popper Boats for the classic jalapeno popper flavor, also very tasty!
Why This Recipe Works
Pork on pork – If you love sausages and bacon, this is the recipe for you. However, let’s not ignore the fact that chicken or beef sausages would also work, so choose your weapon!
Pimento cheesy – Stick with the Jalapeno Pimento Cheese and you’ll really enjoy every bite. These sausages are piped with a generous portion, adding multiple flavors into the middle.
Prep ahead – These work even better if they have time to rest in the fridge, allowing the bacon to set into its shape. Make them ahead of time and pop them in the smoker (or oven) 30 minutes before your guests arrive.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fresh Sausages – This is absolutely key, the sausages have to be fresh with a casing. Pre-cooked sausages will not work, as the process involves slicing open the casing and spreading out the meat (see image below). Feel free to experiment with brats, chorizo, or any other type of fresh sausages. Bun-length sausages will be the best size.
- Pimento Cheese – You could use cream cheese, but that’s not nearly as delicious as Jalapeno Pimento Cheese. Use this creamy mixture of cheddar, pimentos, cream cheese, and pickled jalapenos for a boost of flavor in the middle.
- Jalapeno – On top of the cheese I recommend adding thin slices of jalapenos. You can use any type of fresh (or pickled) chiles you’d like, but that spicy crunch really adds to the experience.
- Bacon – Obviously the sausage needs to be wrapped in this pork bandage. Use regular bacon, not thick cut, for the best results. Thick cut tends to not crisp up as well, and it also doesn’t wrap around as neatly.
- BBQ Seasoning – Dust the outside of the bacon with a little Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub and it will transform every bite. A touch of spicy sugar and aromatics goes a long way with this cook.
Step 1: Slice Open the Sausages
Using a sharp knife, slice into the casing on one side of the sausage (see the image above for reference) and open it up with your hands. Be careful not to push the meat out of the casing, you really just want to open it enough for the fillings.
Push the meat so it creates a little ridge on the sides, making sure the pimento cheese has a place to sit.
Step 2: Fill with Toppings
Fill the center of each sausage with some pimento cheese, just enough to fill in the void.
The easiest way to do this is to add the pimento cheese to a resealable zipped plastic bag and cut off a corner. If the cheese is somewhat room temp, you can simply pipe it into each sausage.
Otherwise, a spoon works just fine!
Add a few slices of fresh jalapeno to each one. You can also use more pickled jalapenos, roasted red peppers, or anything to help contrast the rich flavors of sausage, cheese, and bacon.
Step 3: Wrap with Bacon & Season
Starting from one side, carefully wrap the filled sausages with bacon. These are large enough, they will require 2 strips of bacon per sausage. Use your preferred BBQ spices and season all sides as desired.
Tips for bacon-wrapping
Use regular, or thin-cut bacon. Thick bacon is harder to stretch and doesn’t render down as well, meaning that it could potentially be a little chewy on the inner surface.
Toothpicks are your friend. Stab a toothpick in each end once you’ve wrapped the sausages. Don’t worry about piercing the sausages, you won’t lose any moisture.
Chill the bacon-wrapped sausages. After they are wrapped up, chill them in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps the bacon to firm up and form its new shape. There will be less of a chance for the bacon to unravel itself on the grill.
Step 4: Cooking the Sausages
Place the sausages in a smoker, or indirectly in a charcoal grill preheated to about 350°F for about 50-60 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.
There are many factors that can play into this timing: Types of sausages, bacon, grill/smoker, etc. The most important thing is to cook it to your preferred doneness.
Can I cook these in an oven or air fryer?
Yes, absolutely you can.
For the oven: To prepare these bacon-wrapped sausage popper boats in an oven it will be the same time & temperature, just make sure you monitor the bacon. I highly recommend using a wire rack on a baking sheet to elevate the sausages.
For the air fryer: Cook the sausages at 350°F but monitor the timing – It should not take a full hour. Likely the bacon will be crispy much earlier, closer to the 30-minute mark. Air fryers do a great job of crisping up the bacon quickly.
Variations of Flavor
Mix it up and feel free to experiment with these bacon-wrapped sausage popper boats. Learning the process is one thing, but making it your own is the most fun. Here are some awesome combos:
- Chicken sausages, cream cheese with garlic, roasted red peppers
- Chorizo sausages, Jalapeno pimento cheese, serrano peppers
- Beef brats, cream cheese with blue cheese and garlic, jalapenos
More Appetizers You’ll Love
- Smoked Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Little Smokies
- Grilled Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- Grilled Chicken Fajita Wings
- Using a sharp knife, slice into the casing on one side of the sausage and open it up with your hands. Push the meat to the sides so it creates a little boat for the filling. Be careful not to push the meat out of the casing, you really just want to open it enough for the cheese.
- Fill each of the sausages with some pimento cheese, just enough to fill the void. Add slices of jalapenos. Carefully wrap 2 pieces of bacon over each sausage. Use toothpicks if you need to hold the bacon in place. Season all sides generously with the spice rub.
- Place the bacon-wrapped sausages in the fridge for at least an hour, uncovered. This helps the bacon set to its new shape, lowering the chance of it unwinding itself on the smoker.
- Preheat your grill or smoker for indirect cooking at 350°F.
- Place the bacon-wrapped poppers in the smoker. If using a charcoal grill, place the poppers away from the coals using a 2-zone method of cooking. Add wood chunks or chips as desired.
- Cook them for 45-60 minutes until the bacon is crispy. This timing can vary depending on the bacon and grill, so use your eyes.
- Remove them from the grill when they are ready to go. Make sure you claim yours before taking them inside to serve!
- Use regular bacon, not thick-cut. Regular bacon will stretch better around the sausages, and also crisp up more during the cooking phase.
- For the oven: To prepare these bacon-wrapped sausage popper boats in an oven it will be the same time & temperature, just make sure you monitor the bacon. I highly recommend using a wire rack on a baking sheet to elevate the sausages.
- For the air fryer: Cook the sausages at 350°F but monitor the timing – It should not take a full hour. Likely the bacon will be crispy much earlier, closer to the 30-minute mark. Air fryers do a great job of crisping up the bacon quickly.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
- Category: Pork
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: sausage popper boats, bacon-wrapped, smoked sausages, pimento cheese, bacon-wrapped sausages, smoked pork, bratwurst, jalapeno poppers