Move over jalapeño, there’s a new party popper in town. Okra’s mild, grassy flavor works beautifully in place of the usual jalapeño pepper in these bacon-wrapped party bites. (Okra also makes a smart substitute for folks who don’t like too much heat.) The filling, made with sharp Cheddar, cream cheese, cayenne pepper, and garlic, is a little reminiscent of pimento cheese. (You can even substitute your favorite store-bought pimiento cheese to save time.) For this recipe, you’ll want slightly longer okra pods than you’d typically seek out. You definitely do not want woody, overgrown, tough pods—so avoid any that look pale or that feel dried out. If they are fresh and vibrantly green, they should still be tender even at 4 to 5 inches in length. Regular, not thick-cut, bacon is also best here because it will wrap easily around the pods. Because the poppers are cooked quickly on a grill, they maintain a pleasantly crisp texture and pick up a little smoky char from the grill. Serve these Stuffed Okra Poppers as a memorable bite at your next get-together or game day.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Stir together Cheddar, cream cheese, cayenne, garlic, and salt until well blended.

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  • Cut a slit lengthwise in each okra pod to form a pocket, starting about 1/2 inch from top and stopping about 1/2 inch from bottom. Stuff about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture into each pod. (Use a 1/2 teaspoon measure to stuff 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the top part of the slit and 1/2 teaspoon in the bottom part.) Wrap 1 bacon piece around each pod.

  • Place poppers, bacon seam down, in a single layer on oiled grates. Grill, uncovered, turning occasionally, until bacon is browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.