Growing up in suburbia, I have a lingering nostalgia for chain restaurants. Unfortunately those memories rarely seem to hold up when I revisit them as an adult, but there's one chain that I still look forward to anytime I'm in Houston with the in-laws. Pappasito's.
We've been ordering their large fajita platter for over 11 years, which never seems to disappoint. Among the ubiquitous steak and chicken, they also throw in bacon-wrapped, jalapeno and cheese stuffed shrimp that are just the icing on the cake.
On paper they seem to represent the excess of eye-catching ingredients chains like to stuff into each dish, but this one actually delivers a combination of flavors I can stand behind, so much that I happily recreated them at home.
Slicing, stuffing, and wrapping the shrimp can be a little time consuming, but the effort is well rewarded as these grill up delicious. They have a nice crisp, salty bacon coating that holds a heat from a jalapeno that's put into check by some creamy Monterey Jack, all delivered in one might tasty crustacean.
- Yield:serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:45 minutes
- 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cut into thin strips
- 3 jalapenos, halved, seeded, and cut into thin slices
- 1 pound bacon strips, halved
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 lime, quartered
- Type of fire: Direct
- Grill heat: high
In a small bowl mix together garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Place shrimp in a large bowl and season with 3/4 of the spice mixture, tossing to evenly coat.
Working with one shrimp at a time, make a slit about 3/4-inch long as base of shrimp. Place one jalapeno slice and one cheese slice in cut slit, then wrap base of shrimp all the way around with half a slice of bacon. Repeat with rest of shrimp.
Thread shrimp onto skewers and season lightly with remaining spice mixture. Brush shrimps lightly with melted butter.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill shrimp over high heat until bacon crisps and shrimp just cook through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and serve with lime wedges.