Friday Fuck Up: The Failed Unitasker and Nuclear Peppers

Maybe they were just doomed from the start.

My mom’s colleague in Texas sent us this pepper holder for the grill. I went over for dinner last night and she decided we’d try it out with some grilled jalapeno poppers. She cored the jalapenos (with the jalapeno corer) and stuffed the peppers with manchego cheese.

What you can’t see in the picture is how many times the damn things fell out of the holder. First, my dad put it on the grill the wrong way, so the legs of the holder fell through the grates and the peppers went everywhere.

Even after that though, every time we moved it, another one tumbled down onto the grill. All three of us kept scrambling to pick them up before the cheese melted onto the grates. As soon as one went in, another would fall out. We chalked this up to the peppers being too big for the holder (TWSS?) or our Pennsylvanian inability to figure out this device.

We left it on the grill for 30 minutes and the peppers remained pretty crunchy. I tried one and my mouth was on fire, like, running into the kitchen to drink milk out of the carton, on fire. We gave up on the grill and put them on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for another 20 minutes.

They looked delicious. SO DELICIOUS. The skin of the peppers got a little blistery and the cheese was bubbling and browned. I bit into one…it was alright, but still pretty fucking hot.

And then my dad ate one. He was doing alright for awhile, but suddenly spit the pepper out all over the table and yelled, “THESE ARE FUCKING NUCLEAR PEPPERS.”

The rest of the night he raged to my mom about her “produce failure.” We dissected a few of them and found some seeds, but they were still SO. FUCKING. HOT.

What went wrong here? Were we supposed to do something else to the peppers before we grilled them? Were these just unusually hot jalapenos?

P.S. Here’s a way to make some pretty awesome grilled jalepeno poppers, no unitasker needed. 


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  • unsightly September 16, 2011  

    When you make these you really need to get everything out of the pepper before stuffing it. Then a good rule for cooking goes like this: 30 minutes for spicy peppers, 40 minutes for medium peppers, and 45-50 minutes for mild peppers. Always do it in the oven, it delivers more consistent results. And you were right to use very large peppers. They cook down a lot and can slip through the bottom of the holder. Also, place a rimmed cookie sheet lied with aluminum foil on a rack underneath the holder, as cheese and juices are sure to drip down towards the end of cooking. (I bought a ‘chile grill’ for my dad several years ago, and it took me about 4 tries to get it right). You should definitely try it again, these are really tasty when you get it right.

  • mary lou September 16, 2011  

    I am Madeline’s mom & must admit another product failure that night when I purchased Korean corn. It was god awful .

    I will now stick to my tried and true recipes and not listen to my daughter telling me I cook the same things over and over. At least they are edible.

  • ML September 16, 2011  

    But if you don’t try new things I’m not going to have any material…

  • LeCreusette September 16, 2011  

    I tried to recreate your poppers this summer and found those to be incredibly spicy too. I decided that splitting the jalepeno down the middle worked out nicely heat-wise–that seemed to be the perfect ratio of heat to cheese…plus you end up with twice as many!

  • Nick (Macheesmo) September 16, 2011  

    Wrap them in bacon and throw them right on the grill until the bacon is crispy. Ship back that silly device. 😉

  • Taylor September 16, 2011  

    I’ve noticed that some jalapenos are more equal than others. You sometimes just get a batch of scorching hot ones. So far as I can tell, there’s no way to determine if they are scorchers unless you eat them.

    As for that grill thing…maybe you could stick some of those little metal skewers through them to give them a bit of stability?

  • Shirley @ gfe September 16, 2011  

    Sorry to laugh at your dad’s expense, but OMG, his outburst made me laugh out loud! I’m still laughing at the FNP term, but trying to be quiet since I’m at work. 😉 I am very timid when it comes to peppers and now I’ll have this incident in mind to keep me especially safe. And I’ve found that grill accessories like pepper holders are usually a good way for a company to make money, but are not usually helpful.


  • erica September 16, 2011  

    maybe you could find another use for it? like… holding rolled napkins vertically? there’s got to be something this is good for.

  • gansie September 16, 2011  

    i like erica’s angle. maybe it can display silverware for a party?

  • Carly September 19, 2011  

    I found this absolutely hilarious mainly because this happened to me about a year ago. We grilled home grown jalapenos so they were small and fell through the bottom. Every 5 minutes someone else would try them and that would usually be followed by “OMG they ARE hot!!” That’s saying something considering we’re from south Lousiana and almost immune to the heat.

  • ohmygoose November 30, 2011  

    Once upon a time, the boyfriend and I were craving jalapeño poppers. Except we didn’t have jalapeños, and it was snowing, hard. (This is Canada.) So, I decided to work with what we had in the fridge: some hot peppers we’d just bought and had never tried. They were about the same size as jalapeños…

    They were Scotch Bonnets.

    I wasn’t surprised when they turned out a bit floppy and gooey. Nor was I surprised when my fingertips burned more than usual after cutting them. The expressions on our faces after trying them, however, were expressions of COMPLETE surprise.

    I got through half of one and was doubled up on the bed for half an hour, in agony.

    Death metal concert in the stomach, FTW!

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