Traditional Dove Popper Recipe with a Twist

Wild Game Cook • September 20, 2023

Serves 3-5 people as appetizer. Prep Time: 10mins. Cook Time: 30mins

America’s favorite way to prepare dove recipe is hands down dove poppers, and for good reason: they are delicious! The combination of bacon, jalapenos, and cream cheese with any wild game is probably the number one consumed wild game preparation out there. This recipe is pretty traditional, although it has an Asian twist with the marinade, and we are adding in some apple for a nice crunch and a bit of added sweetness to balance out the bacon. Honey crisp is the recommended apple. If you aren’t familiar with honey crisp apples, get ready for the best-tasting apple out there! Pineapple would also work as a nice alternative to the apple.


  • 10-12 Dove Breasts (increase marinade for additional doves)
  • Jalapenos (halved & seeded)
  • ½ Block of Cream Cheese
  • Bacon (half piece per popper)
  • 1 Honey Crisp Apple
  • 1 tbsp of Steak Seasoning


  • 2-3 tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • ½ tbsp. Garlic (Minced)
  • ½ tbsp. of Steak Seasoning

Mix together the marinade, stir to incorporate the honey, and pour into bag, then add in your dove. Shake and massage the bag before putting in refrigerator for at least an hour (4 hours or more is recommended).

As your dove is marinating, start prepping your jalapenos, apple, bacon, and cream cheese. Open package of bacon and slice pieces in half and set aside. Ideally, we want the bacon to be room temp as we put it on the smoker, so that it cooks faster and doesn’t overcook the dove. I prefer cooking these on our Camp Chef Woodwind Pro Pellet Grill as it eliminates flare ups, which can cause your bacon to burn very fast if you aren’t careful. The dove shouldn’t be removed from the fridge until you are ready to assemble and place on your pellet grill (smoker, grill, or oven). Slice your jalapenos in half and remove seeds and veins, and set aside. Chunk up your cream cheese and add in ~1 tbsp of steak seasoning (per half block). I recommend RELOAD Magnum Steak Seasoning. Stir to incorporate. This adds some flavor to your otherwise plain cream cheese. Add the cream cheese to your halved jalapenos until they are filled to the edges. If you have larger jalapenos, you may want to cut your halves in half. This will allow the dove to shine more and not be drowned out by the large pepper and large amount of cream cheese. Slice up your apple so that you get rectangular pieces like a Wendy’s french fry.

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Now you are basically ready to assemble once your marinade is done. If you are going for a longer period of time, do not start the prep until you are about an hour out from pulling the dove out of the fridge. Just before you are ready to assemble, preheat your pellet grill to 400 degrees. Remove your dove from the fridge and drain.

Start assembly by taking a half piece of bacon and laying it flat on your cutting board. Add your stuffed jalapeno to one end of the bacon, cream cheese facing up. Add your dove breast on top of the cream cheese. Then add your apple to the side of the jalapeno and begin rolling the pieces up in the bacon until it is fully wrapped. Once wrapped, push a toothpick through the overlapped end of the bacon and go through to the other side. When you have wrapped all of the poppers, you are ready to put them on the grill. Place them on the lower rack. Close the lid and check back in on them in about 20 minutes*.

*If you are using open flames, you will want to stay with the grill and monitor them closely to prevent burning from flare ups. After approximately 20 minutes, look to make sure the bacon is cooking nicely and that your jalapenos are starting to sweat down. When bacon is ready nearly done, flip them and cook until the bacon is cooked on both sides, this may take an additional 8-10 minutes.

Pull from the grill and allow them to rest! This will allow them to cool down, allow the juices to redistribute throughout, and allow the jalapeno and apple to keep sweating down. Make sure to remove any toothpicks before eating, remember to chew softly as there may be shot in the breast meat, and remember to share with others! Enjoy!

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--Wild Game Cook