Reminiscent of a lazy, sultry Savannah afternoon, the humidity is lessened only by the gentle, swaying breeze that hints at a change of seasons around the corner.
I am sitting on the deck, somehow, inexplicably thinking about cornbread. Not just any cornbread, mind you. The cornbread that is dark, crusty and slightly sticky around the edges. The kind of cornbread that yields to a warm, moist middle, leading one to that perfect taste of a sweet honey butter glaze on top. “Maybe even a little Jalapeño”, I thought to myself.
I continued my daydreaming, simply gazing out over the yard, not really looking at anything in particular, but just looking. That’s when I noticed the gentle movement of the leaves in the garden, reacting to the breeze like small flags, begging for my attention.
I walked over to those plants, and started picking. The peppers cascading from the plants were just right, some Jalapeño, others the Dancing Spirits. I gathered my harvest and went inside to start planning some sort of cornbread concoction to satisfy my craving. Out of this brainstorming came my Inside Out Cornbread Bites.
The ingredient list is simple and basic, and consists of several, meaning as many as you want or can get your hands on, fresh peppers. I used mostly Dancing Spirit Peppers, a mix developed for salsa that can vary between mild and sweet to very hot within the same plant. I did also have a couple large jalapeños available, so I grabbed those as well.
A cornbread batter is prepared from a store-bought mix, adding in a fair amount of shredded cheese, milk and a beaten egg.
I think I will wrap these beauties in bacon, because, well, I think bacon makes most everything better, including cornbread. The tops of the peppers are cut off, and the core of seeds discarded. Then the peppers are gift wrapped in bacon, held in place with toothpicks. If you have in your possession one of those little stands/holders for peppers, it will be much easier to stuff them when they are already standing at attention for you.
Take your cornbread mixture and simply start filling each pepper until the mixture crests just to the pepper’s rim. Remember, this is cornbread, and so it will rise a bit over of the top of the pepper.
When all of the filling is completed , go ahead and put them on the grill, which should already be set up for indirect grilling, charcoal all stacked to one side of the grill. Try to steady your grill at or near 350 degrees. Put the peppers on the indirect heat side, close the lid, and let the grill do it’s job.
Don’t check, or lift the lid for at least 20 minutes, when after that you may have to rotate the pepper rack to make sure the peppers cook evenly.
When the bacon is crispy and the cornbread filling has finished rising out of the peppers, your Inside Out Cornbread Bites are complete.
But wait. No serving of cornbread, in any form, is true without some sort of complementary beverage to complete the mood. And when I’m thinking southern and having cornbread, it’s only right that I look to wash it down with a cool glass of sweet tea, or something similar. And well, with no fresh tea around, I found the next best thing.
After the Inside Out Cornbread Bites cool for a bit, take them out of the rack and prepare them for presentation. And it’s totally okay if this presentation is for you and you alone. Make that drink, grab that good-looking plate that you’ve prepared, and sit down to some “you” time…
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired.