Smoked Armadillo Eggs

OK. So these aren’t actual armadillo eggs.

*cue some random person hitting the back button*

And “smoked armadillo eggs” might sound like something exotic you’d rather not try.

Stay with me.

They are an upgraded version of jalapeno poppers. Ohhh yeah. So if you love the spicy, creamy appetizer, you have got to try these!

The added ground beef makes these much more substantial. Depending on the size of your peppers, 3-4 can even suffice for a meal! Plus, unlike other smoked recipes, these tasty morsels only take about two hours to smoke. Sign. Me. Up.

serving armadillo eggs
Image by Hope Davis.

Ingredients List

  • Ground beef (I used 90/10 because I like lean ground beef, but 80/20 will work as well!)
  • Fresh jalapeno peppers
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cream cheese (we have a lactose allergy in our house, so I used a vegan alternative, and it worked great!)
  • Bacon slices
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed chili pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
smoked armadillo eggs ingredients sitting on the counter
Image by Hope Davis

How to Make Smoked Armadillo Eggs

Preheat the Smoker

Smoked armadillo eggs take a bit of prep work. So if you haven’t stuffed peppers before, maybe hold off on starting the smoker until you’re ready.

But when you are ready, set the smoker to 250°F. I used cherry wood pellets (but charcoal pellets would also work) and cooked on my Pitboss Navigator 550.

Make the Filling

making armadillo egg filling
Image by Hope Davis.

Start by adding the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and spices to a large bowl. Use a spoon to mix them together until combined. Set aside.

Clean the Peppers

coring jalapeno peppers
Image by Hope Davis.

Next, take the jalapeno peppers and cut off the stem, then, using a knife, go carefully around the inside to remove the seeds.

**Editor’s Note: If you plan to make these frequently, then consider investing in a jalapeno corer to make this step easier!

Stuff the Peppers

stuffing jalapeno poppers
Image by Hope Davis.

Once the peppers are hollowed out, use a spoon to stuff each with the cheese mixture until full. I recommend also using a grill skewer to gently press the stuffing to the bottom of the pepper.

Wrap the Peppers

encasing the peppers in ground beef
Image by Hope Davis.

After all the peppers are stuffed, gently encase them in ground beef, rolling them on your cutting board to get an egg shape. This part can be challenging, so take your time—just make sure the pepper is fully encased in meat.

Wrap in Bacon

wrapping armadillo eggs with bacon
Image by Hope Davis.

When you have several of the beef eggs ready to go, the last step is to wrap the eggs in a strip of bacon. Some of our peppers were quite large, so we put two slices of bacon around some eggs.

Place on the Smoker

armadillo eggs on the smoker
Image by Hope Davis. (Don’t mind the pork belly and regular jalapeno poppers we also made!)

Put the eggs on your smoker, setting a timer for 60 minutes. It’s best to start them on the bottom rack.

Check Back

checking in on the armadillo eggs at the halfway mark
Image by Hope Davis.

After 1 hour, check on your armadillo eggs, rolling them if one side is getting crispier than the other. You can move them to the top shelf at this time. Set the timer for another 60 minutes.

When that timer goes off, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature carefully, keeping the probe in the meat (don’t pierce the pepper!). Once the hamburger meat is at least 145° (we prefer to wait until 160°F), your armadillo eggs are done!

Rest and Serve

serving armadillo eggs
Image by Hope Davis.

Allow your armadillo eggs to rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve! They are tasty on their own, but you can also serve with a little of our favorite BBQ sauce for dipping.

Some Different Variations

  • Skip the bacon: The bacon isn’t necessary to keep the armadillo eggs together, it can be skipped if you want!
  • Use snack peppers: For kids who are spice-adverse, you can make a kid-friendly version with snack peppers, skipping the chili flakes as well!
  • Roll in Grill Rub: We think these are flavorful enough as is, but many people like to roll their armadillo eggs in grill rub after the bacon wrap stage.

I Made Too Many and Have Leftovers

In our experience, smoked armadillo eggs don’t reheat well, but if you do have some leftovers, place them in foil in the fridge after they cool. To reheat, place them in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes.

When Should I Serve Them?

I mean, do you really need an excuse for making something delicious on the smoker?

But if you insist… smoked armadillo eggs make a perfect gameday app! Or just for a get-together. They’re quite fun to show off to guests.

Need some other ideas? Check out these smoked appetizer recipes:

close up of smoked armadillo eggs on a plate

Smoked Armadillo Eggs

Eat one as a snack, or a few as a meal!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 2


  • 6 whole fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 8 oz cream cheese (can use vegan alternative)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper


  • Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
  • Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and spices in a medium bowl.
  • Core the jalapenos.
  • Stuff the peppers with the cream cheese mixture.
  • Gently encase the stuffed peppers in ground beef, using your hands to form an egg shape.
  • Wrap the beef eggs with a slice of bacon.
  • Cook on the bottom grate of your smoker for 60 minutes.
  • Move to the top rack and smoke for an additional 60 minutes.
  • When the hamburger meat reaches a temperature of 160°F, remove the armadillo eggs from the smoker.
  • Rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve!
Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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