James Bednar 6/28/09
Day 1. What do I like? What do I want to copy? For uncounted minutes, I searched my thoughts to no avail. I'll sleep on it.
Day 2. Waking brought no answers to my quest. Breakfast will help. As I sat down to eat, I thought I saw the answer before me in the form of Morningstar Sausage Links. I had a good grasp on the basic mixture, yet a detail remained: How do they get the links in that smooth, cylindrical shape? The problem continued to dog me, whereupon I felt a nudge on my thigh. I looked down and there sat Ajax.
Begging. Or so I thought. For when I broke off a small bit of vegetarian sausage link to feed him, he let out an uncanny half-bark half-moan. It sounded like this: "El Diablo."
And there it was. Forget the sausage links. I'll make Diablos instead.
Day N. (At this point the days become blurred.) The Diablo is a jalapeno stuffed with shrimp and Monterey Jack cheese and then wrapped in bacon. I became acquainted with Diablos at Judge Bean's Barbeque in Nashville, TN.
The implements are as important as the ingredients. Both are pictured here:
NOTE: rubbing your eyes while handling Jalapenos is not recommended. Gloves are not necessary, but if you don't use them, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when you're finished. More important is the chopstick. After cutting off the Jalapeno stem, use the chopstick to remove the seeds and such. Then cut a slit in the pepper and insert shrimp:
Next, pack the pepper with Monterey Jack cheese, wrap with half a strip of bacon, and secure with a toothpick, like so:
Cooking Methods. I explored two methods. Oven: I baked the Diablos at 400 for ten minutes, then turned on the broiler until they were crisp (about 5 minutes). Grill: toss 'em on and stand back. As you can see, they live up to their name on the grill:
Observations. Cooked in the oven, the Diablos were rather mild. Cooked on the grill, the Diablos most definitely were not. What explains the difference? As we pondered this mystery through our tears, a friend from Texas opined "The higher the temperature at which you cook peppers, the hotter they get." True, higher temperatures make things hotter, but I didn't find this remark particularly expositive. Alas, the mystery remains. And so too remains the mystery of how Morningstar Sausage Links get that smooth, cylindrical shape.