Filson Food: Roasted Pheasant Jalapeño Poppers with Bourbon Red Pepper Jelly

dish of candied, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers in circular metal dish

A version of this recipe can most likely be found in every single hunter’s recipe rolodex from the Florida Panhandle to the Olympic Peninsula and everywhere in between. It is a go-to no matter where you hunt your fowl, and works equally well with ducks or doves.

This is a simple recipe, not winning any culinary awards, but it is delicious, and a good option if you are looking for a way to introduce someone to wild fowl or need to bring an appetizer to your next dinner party.

This recipe can be made with any game bird: grouse, duck, goose, or pheasant. If you don’t have access to any of these game meats, chicken will work in their place or you can just omit the meat.

Serves 2-3


1 Pheasant Breast, skin removed

8 Jalapeños

8 Strips Bacon. Use thin bacon for this application

8 Toothpicks

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Finishing Salt


Cream Cheese Filling:

½ Cup  Cream cheese. Some of the flavored cream cheeses work really well

1 Clove Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 Sprig Rosemary, plucked and chopped

1 Sprig Thyme, plucked and chopped


Bourbon Red Pepper Jelly:

2 fl oz Bourbon

½ Cup Hot red pepper jelly. Be sure not to get the sweet version

ingredients for bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeno poppers with candied glaze laid out on kitchen counter


Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Taste the filling and adjust the herbs and garlic to your taste. Be aware the garlic flavor will bloom as the filling sits.

Bourbon Red Pepper Jelly: 

  1. In a small pot, heat the bourbon over high heat until it boils.
  2. Ignite the alcohol by holding a match to it or, if you are using a gas stove, tilt the pot until the alcohol ignites from the burner. Be very careful as the flames may not be visible when they burn.
  3. Reduce the bourbon by half and add the red pepper jelly.
  4. Bring the jelly to a simmer, remove it from the heat, and allow it to cool.

Jalapeño Poppers: 

  1. Cut the jalapeños down the length of the peppers and remove all the seeds and white ribs from the inside. Make sure to keep the both halves of each pepper together so they match properly once stuffed. Leave the stem on the pepper; this helps keep the filling inside.
  2. Smear a small amount of cream cheese into each half jalapeño, making sure to leave room for the pheasant meat. 1 tbsp per half is more than enough.
  3. Slice the pheasant breast into strips that will fit inside the jalapeños.
  4. Place one slice inside each jalapeño and close the peppers.
  5. Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon, overlapping the bacon onto itself by ¼”.
  6. Trim any excess bacon and use the toothpick to secure the bacon on the jalapeño.
  7. Add the oil to a heavy bottom pan; arrange the poppers in the pan and roast in a 375°F convection oven.
  8. Roast the popper for 15-20 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes until the bacon is well cooked, crisp, and browned. Depending on the oven, this may take longer.
  9. Baste the jalapeños with the bourbon red pepper jelly and continue to roast and turn them for another 5 minutes or until the poppers are nicely glazed in jelly.
  10. Season the poppers with a good sprinkle of finishing salt, pull the toothpicks out, and serve.
the last fire roasted jalapeno popper wrapped in bacon left in a metal bowl with a knife and toothpicks on the side

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