The time has come to introduce the uninitiated Puffins of this world to one of the best kept secrets of the culinary world: Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs). Don’t ask me how they got their name or who invented them, I just don’t know.
- Romano peppers
- Jalapeño peppers
- Cream cheese
- Grated hard cheese of your choice
Ideally these should be made with Jalapeño peppers, however it’s hard to find these fresh in the UK so I use Romano peppers instead. Halve the peppers lengthways and scoop out the seeds and pith and set the peppers to one side. You can use any pepper you like but bear in mind a bell pepper is going to take longer to cook than a Romano. Some people make their ABTs with baby peppers as an hors d’ouevre.
Now it’s time to make the stuffing. Mix the grated hard cheese of your choice (a stronger cheese works best) with the cream cheese and add some chopped Jalapeño peppers from a jar.
The idea of the ABT is to get the chilli heat, so add as little or as much according to your taste. You can also add Tabasco sauce to the mix to make it spicier, or finely cut Scotch bonnets or Naga chillies to really blow your socks off.
As a rough guide I used 8 Romano peppers to make 16 ABTs and used 1kg of cream cheese, but the amount of filling depends on the size of your peppers and how much grated cheese you bulk out the cream cheese with. If you buy smaller tubs you can quickly make up more stuffing mix as you need it, rather than make too much to start with. If you fancy a game of Russian Roulette you can vary the chilli heat with each mix as well.
Once you’ve filled your peppers you need to add the sausage to the top. I bought some skinless sausages for my ABTs and cut them in half lengthways laying these along the top of the stuffing, however I could equally have used twice as many whole sausages. Some ABT chefs use chorizo or Italian sausages but you can use any fresh sausage you like, just take the skin off before you cook with them. The ABTs now need to be wrapped in the bacon to hold the stuffing and sausage inside the pepper. I usually use streaky bacon that I’ve stretched using the back of a knife in order to lengthen the rasher. This allows it to more securely wrap round the pepper, however if you fancied a gourmet ABT you can equally use thick slice bacon.
Now it’s time to cook them. You can cook them in an oven but they’re better smoked. You can get smoking kits for covered charcoal grills or gas grills but I smoke mine in my Bradley electric smoker. If you are using a charcoal or gas grill don’t let them get too hot. You’re looking for a slow cook rather than searing the outside of the ABTs.
Lay the ABTs out on a tray and get the smoker to about 230F. My smoker struggles a little these days to get to that temperature. I suspect I need to modify it and add another element to get the temperature regulated better. I smoke my ABTs for about an hour, some people smoke their ABTs for longer but I find the smoke flavour can get a little too acrid for ABTs. Varying what you smoke the ABTs with also impacts their flavour, I used mesquite for my last batch.
The cooking time can vary but you’re looking for a reasonable colour on the bacon as an indicator of whether they are cooked or not, at a low heat about 1.5 to 2 hours should do. Because I can’t quite get my Bradley temperature high enough I finish them off in my oven. The key is to get the smokiness first though. Once they’re cooked serve hot, although in the unlikely event you have any left over they also taste delicious cold the next day.
© text & images Captain Black 2020
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