By Mandy Tanner
Move over jalapeño, there’s a new popper in town. Pickles! If you use a colored chip for the coating, the result can turn out wild. Because pickles tend to be salty, you’ll want to serve the poppers with a creamy dip like chipotle ranch.
|(1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened
|finely shredded cheddar cheese
|cooked bacon, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
|jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
|Traeger Anything Rub (or dry ranch dressing mix), divided
|32-oz jar whole dill pickles
|canola oil or other neutral oil, for frying
|panko breadcrumbs or your favorite crushed chips
|Chipotle ranch dressing, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, the jalapeño, if using, and 1 teaspoon of the Traeger Anything Rub until well blended. Transfer to pastry bag for piping or use a large zip-top bag with a ½-inch opening in one corner.
Cut each pickle in half crosswise. Insert an apple corer or a straw into the cut side of the pickle and carefully twist to hollow out the center (alternatively, you can use a butter knife but be gentle). It’s ok if you cut through the skin as the coating will hold the filling in place. Repeat with remaining pickles.
Holding a pickle in one hand with the open end up and placing a finger on the bottom to plug up any holes, pipe the filling into the center of the pickle. Repeat with all pickles. (The filled pickles can be covered and refrigerated for a few hours before frying.)
When ready to cook, fill a heavy-based pot halfway with oil heat over medium heat on the Traeger Induction cooktop or on the stove until it reaches 375°F on a candy/deep fry thermometer. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Line a second rimmed baking sheet with paper towel.
In a wide shallow bowl or rimmed plate, combine the flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Traeger Anything Rub. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In another wide shallow bowl or rimmed plate, add the panko or crushed chips. Working in batches, coat the filled pickles first into the flour, shaking off any excess. Next, dip them into the eggs, turning to ensure all sides are covered. Then place them in the panko, turning to coat on all sides. Place the coated pickles on the foil-lined baking sheet.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully place 3 to 4 pickle poppers into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poppers to the paper-towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pickles, frying in small batches, and adjusting the heat as necessary.
Serve warm with chipotle ranch for dipping. Enjoy!
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