Have you ever heard of Texas Twinkies? If not, you might be surprised when you see them for the first time. They aren’t like the soft and gooey confections in the Hostess box.
In fact, they aren’t desserts at all! They’re tender, roasted jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and smoky brisket.
They also come wrapped in salty, delicious, thick-cut bacon.
So they certainly won’t satisfy your sweet tooth. But they’ll still hit the spot. After all, they’re jalapeno poppers dialed up to an 11. Who wouldn’t love that?!
What Are Texas Twinkies?
Texas Twinkies are Texas’ take on jalapeno poppers. They’re spicy, smoky, and full of yummy BBQ flavor.
They combine all the best parts of Texas cuisine. There’s biting heat, smoky BBQ flavor, zingy peppers, gooey cheese, and more.
Of course, cream cheese, bacon, and jalapenos are pretty much just jalapeno poppers. The brisket and BBQ sauce are where the ‘Texas’ part comes in.
You know that saying Everything’s bigger in Texas? Well, it’s certainly true of their appetizers.
You need the following ingredients to make Texas Twinkies:
- Jalapeno peppers – Medium-sized jalapenos work best for this recipe. They give you just enough space to add the correct amount of cream cheese and brisket. If you want larger poppers, go with bigger peppers. You’ll need to increase the amount of cream cheese and brisket for the filling, though.
- Cream cheese – Full-fat cream cheese provides the best flavor. A regular block of Philadelphia is always a safe bet. For more flavor, you could use flavored cream cheese.
- Cooked brisket – Be sure your brisket is fully cooked before adding it to the peppers. It WILL NOT have time to cook in this recipe. Leftover brisket is perfect.
- Bacon – Your bacon should be raw when you wrap it around the peppers. It’ll cook in the oven. I like thick-cut bacon, but you can use something else if you prefer.
- BBQ sauce – Use whatever brand/flavor you like best.
- Salt and pepper – Season the poppers to suit your tastes.
How to Make Texas Twinkies
See the recipe card below for the complete instructions on making Texas Twinkies. For now, here’s a brief overview.
1. Preheat. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut and de-seed the peppers. After you’ve cut them, remove the seeds and membranes and discard them.
3. Bake. Bake the jalapenos on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.
4. Blanch. Transfer the peppers straight from the oven to a bowl of ice water. This serves the dual purpose of stopping the heat and extracting the oil from the seeds. Dry them on paper towels.
5. Increase the oven temp. Bump it up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Make the poppers. Place a tablespoon of cream cheese and 2 ounces of brisket inside each pepper. Then, wrap them in bacon and return them to the baking sheet. Season them with salt and pepper, then bake them for 30 minutes.
7. Add the BBQ sauce. Remove the poppers from the oven and cover them with BBQ sauce. Then, return them to the oven for a final time. Bake them for another 5 minutes to warm the sauce.
8. Enjoy! Remove the Twinkies from the oven and serve them while still warm.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
This jalapeno popper recipe is simple and almost impossible to mess up. The hardest part is cutting the peppers. (And that’s not difficult, either!)
Here are a few tips and tricks to make the process smoother.
- Have the correct tools for the job. You won’t need much for this recipe. You want a super sharp paring knife to cut the peppers. Don’t try using a dull blade. You also need a cutting board, a small spoon, a rimmed baking sheet, and a pastry brush. Toothpicks and a wire cooling rack can also make life easier.
- Wear gloves! It may seem silly, but I ALWAYS wear gloves when dealing with jalapenos. I’m bad about wiping my eyes with my hands later in the day. And if I don’t wear gloves, my eyes will burn even hours later from the jalapeno juice on my hands.
- Eliminate the heat. You don’t have to stick strictly to jalapenos for this recipe. You can just as easily make them using serrano or even bell peppers.
- Vary the meat. Brisket isn’t the only option for your filling. Shredded chicken, beef or pork BBQ, and other meats also work.
- Combine the filling ingredients. Mix the ingredients instead of adding the cream cheese, followed by the brisket to each pepper. Combine the cream cheese and brisket in a bowl first. Then, spoon the filling mixture into the peppers.
- Use flavored cream cheese. Plain cream cheese is all the recipe requires. However, I sometimes swap that out for flavored cream cheeses. Try garden vegetable cream cheese or cream cheese with chives. Either will add an extra depth of flavor to the poppers.
- Don’t overfill the peppers. If you stuff too much in them, the filling will spill out while they’re baking.
- Add spices, cheese, and other add-ins. Mix some garlic or dill with the cream cheese before adding it to the peppers. Or add a little shredded cheddar into the filling for extra cheesy treats. For hotter poppers, try cayenne or some jalapeno juice.
- Use toothpicks for stability. If you can’t keep your bacon in place, stick a toothpick through the poppers. They hold everything together and make serving a breeze.
- Rotate while baking. After you add the bacon, rotate the Twinkies in the oven. The bacon won’t cook evenly on all sides if you don’t.
How to Store
If you have leftover Twinkies, here’s what to do so you can enjoy them again.
To Store: Place them in an air-tight bag or container and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
You can eat them chilled or warm them in the oven (350 degrees/5-10 minutes) or the microwave (high power/1-2 minutes).
To Freeze: You can also freeze leftover Texas Twinkies for 2 to 3 months. Place them in a freezer-safe container and pop them in the freezer.
Let them thaw in the fridge overnight to enjoy them.
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