This is the wildly popular appetizer that will be first to go. In full honesty, they are a bit labor intensive—though very easy to make—and definitely well worth it.
One large chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
20 fresh jalapeño peppers, shorter peppers preferred
One can of sliced water chestnuts
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
One pound package of your favorite bacon, Daily’s peppered bacon preferred
1/2 cup soy sauce or Braggs Amino Acids, preferred
1/2 cup real maple syrup
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, roughly the size of a quarter. Put soy sauce/amino acids into a gallon-size Ziploc bag with the maple syrup. Mix well and then add the raw chicken.
Set aside, no need to refrigerate.
Open and set the cream cheese aside, allowing it to come to room temperature.
Next, cut the stem end of the jalapeños off and then cut the peppers in half, length-wise. If the peppers are really long, cut them in half a second time. They should be about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long, max. If desired for a milder flavor, wear gloves to remove all seeds and membranes from the jalapeños.
Open the can of water chestnuts and drain.
Pour the marinating chicken and the marinade into a glass bowl. Set aside.
Take the jalapeños and smear approximately 2 teaspoons of cream cheese into each jalapeño, filling the open center of the peppers with cream cheese.
Take the pound of bacon and cut in half. Organize all ingredients to begin assembling the poppers.
Take a slotted spoon and remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken in another bowl. Reserve the marinade.
Add a piece of chicken to a cream-cheese-filled jalapeño. Next, add a slice of water chestnut on top of the chicken. Then wrap the popper with a slice of bacon. Wrap from top to bottom, making sure to turn it into a small bacon pack wrap. Take a toothpick and secure the bacon by inserting it diagonally from the top end of the bacon to the bottom end. Place the poppers back into the marinade, turning them slightly so each side is covered with the marinade.
When you have finished assembling all the poppers and they are all in the marinade, give them a final stir to make sure each popper is thoroughly covered.
Either cook the poppers on a baking sheet in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes or on the smoker rack on high. Brush more marinade on them and turn them every ten minutes. As you continue turning the poppers and applying more marinade, you will notice when they are done. They may finish cooking before or after the 30 minutes, depending on your oven or smoker. When fully cooked, remove from the heat and place on a serving platter. Serve hot.