My Most Popular Appetizer: Dragon Claws


Baby bell peppers stuffed with a combination of hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, beer brats, or even ground beef, turkey, or chorizo. Wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection, then glazed with your favorite barbecue sauce! (I like Sweet Baby Rays, thinned with a little apple cider vinegar.)

Dragon Claws at RibfestThis is one of my signature recipes, and it never fails to rock my customer’s worlds! I had great fun preparing these at the Kenmore booth at the 2013 Ribfest in Chicago, as a Sears’s Grilling in Happiness blogger , with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition superstar Ty Pennington (who is an awesome, funny, crazy guy, btw!)

Sticky sweet, spicy goodness…with just a breath of fire! And…trust me on this, MUCH easier to make when there isn’t a live audience and 3 television cameras in your face!

Even so, it’s totally worth it!

Oh, sooo good…

Dragon Claw BBQ AppetizerChef Perry’s Dragon Claws

  • 24 whole baby bell peppers
  • 12 slices (thin sliced) bacon
  • 1 lb. Johnsonville Beer Brats


  • 1 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted

Slice the tops off each baby bell, and remove the seeds and veins from each pepper, and rinse again.

Mix glaze ingredients over medium low heat, and keep warm.

Remove the meat from casings (if using bratwurst).

Stuff each pepper with sausage, and packing it tightly.

Drgaon Claws grilled peppersWrap each pepper with 1/2 slice of bacon, and secure with a pre-soaked toothpick, or pre-soaked skewers.

Repeat with all remaining peppers.

Fire up your grill and prepare for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. About 25 briquettes in a Weber Smokey Joe.

For gas grills: have the two outside burners on high, and the middle on low.

Add a few chips of fruit wood to the fire about 10 minutes before adding the peppers (optional). If you’re using a gas grill, use a smoke box.

Dragon Claws

Grill the Dragon Claws over direct heat, 8-10 minutes, turning as need,  until the bacon begins to crisp.

Dragon Claws AMNW2

Move grilled peppers to indirect heat, glaze one side of each pepper, flip and repeat. Keep brushing with glaze, and turning until the glaze is set (about 5 minutes).

Dragon Claws on the grill

Remove, allow to rest at least 15 minutes, and then serve warm.

To make these on the Traeger:

20 minutes on “Smoke”, then grill 15 minutes at 300F (lid down), brush with glaze and flip, brush with glaze and grill 10 more minutes (lid down).

For a full-meal-deal, try this same recipe using larger Anaheim Peppers! (This was the original recipe, hence the name “Dragon Claws!”)

Sausage Stuffed Anahiem Peppers wrapped in Bacon

Now, get out there and grill!

~Chef Perry

PS ~ For even more BBQ and grilling articles and recipes, check out my outdoor cooking blog at




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