Smoked Stuffed Poblano Peppers

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers. They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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4 poblano peppers, cut in half lengthwise, membrane and seeds removed
2 lbs fresh sausage, removed from casings
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 strips reduced salt bacon

Preheat your smoker to 225F-250F.
Divide the sausage into eight equal parts. Press the sausage onto each of the poblano halves in an even layer. Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top of the sausage layer. Wrap each pepper half with a bacon strip.
Smoke at 225F for about 2 hours or 250F for about 1.5 hours. Serve immediately.

You can use any fresh sausage you like. Italian sweet sausage, mild or hot, can be found at any grocery store works very well. If you are up for it, you can make your own sausage. For this recipe ideally you want to you pork, or pork/beef combination with fat content of no less than 25%. For lean meats add fat trimmings to bring the fat content up. I like to use pork butt which comes with about 25-30% fat content. It’s perfect for smoked sausage.

Here is my basic recipe for fresh sausage:
2 lbs pork butt
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp (heaping) marjoram
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup ice water

To make Italian sausage, substitute marjoram, fresh garlic, and ice water with ⅛ tsp oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 2 tsp dried parsley, ⅛ tsp dried thyme and ½ tsp ground fennel seed, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp paprika, and ¼ tsp brown sugar. Increase the sugar amount to make it a little sweeter if you like. Add red pepper flakes or more cayenne pepper if you like it hotter.