How to Prepare Smoked Atomic Buffalo Turds - Backyard Boss
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How to Prepare Smoked Atomic Buffalo Turds

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. What the heck is an Automatic Buffalo Turd (ABT) and where did that name come from? I can’t say for sure where the name came from. Rumor has it that this tasty appetizer was named by a guy who had polished off a few cans of beer while eating them. I’m good with that, given their shape and color.

Despite the unappetizing name, Automatic Buffalo Turds are delicious. This finger food is a stuffed jalapeno pepper wrapped in bacon and smoked. It is basically an amped-up jalapeno popper. Let’s start with a pretty classic take on the recipe and then we’ll explore some options to spice these puppies up.

An electric smoker works great for ABTs. You could also use a charcoal or gas smoker. If you only have a grill, set it up for indirect grilling and soak your wood chips before adding them to the fire.

Automatic Buffalo Turds Recipe

Preparation of the buffalo turds
Image Credits: bbum on CreativeCommons

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Serves: 8 people


  • 12 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 1 package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 24 cocktail franks
  • 12 slices of bacon, sliced in half


  1. Take a rack out of your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Add water to the bowl. Place desired wood chips in the tray. Open the top vent of the smoker, if there is one.
  2. Trim the stems off of the jalapeno peppers.* Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds and white pith. Fill each half with cream cheese. Top the cheese with a cocktail frank. Wrap each stuffed pepper with a half slice of bacon. You can place a toothpick through each ABT to hold the bacon in place. Put these on the smoker rack.
    *It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves when working with jalapenos.
  3. Place the rack inside the preheated smoker. Smoke the ABTs for approximately 2 hours until the bacon is fully cooked. Replenish the water and wood chips as needed, approximately every 60 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with plenty of napkins.

Spicing Up Your ABTs

Buffalo Tards on a wooden desk
Image Credits: Michael Salazar on CreativeCommons

These Automatic Buffalo Turds are terrific just as they are. They won’t last long. However, you can take these to the next level by switching up some of the ingredients and adding some others. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Can’t stand the heat? Use red or yellow bell peppers that have been sliced into wedges that can hold the cheese and franks.
  2. Jazz up the cheese by combining 1/2 cream cheese with 1/2 shredded Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese. Sprinkle a bit of chili powder on the cheese and fill the peppers with this cheese mixture.
  3. Instead of mild cocktail franks, try little smokies (smoky, seasoned cocktail franks) or cooked chorizo sausage.
  4. To add another dimension and a glistening exterior, coat the wrapped bacon with your favorite barbecue sauce. You can brush more on halfway through the smoking process.
  5. Serve ABTs with a mustard or barbecue dipping sauce.

The Last Word

Whether you are a smoking pitmaster or a weekend griller, Automatic Buffalo Turds are an easy appetizer or party snack that you can prepare for a crowd. Feel free to double the recipe. Once everything is prepared the smoker does most of the work for you. Just crack open a cold one and relax until the ABTs are cooked and ready to serve.