These flavorful BBQ stuffed peppers are loaded with seasoned ground beef, tender onions, and tangy barbeque sauce. Top them off with a layer of melted smoked cheddar cheese and you have a low-carb meal worthy of any smokehouse.
I love this recipe because of how easy it is to customize this main dish. You can switch out the cheese, add spicy peppers, or even load them with pulled pork instead.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Bell peppers - Sweet bell peppers are best. Specifically, red bell peppers are my favorite, but any color bell pepper works. Green bell peppers are the least sweet, so red, yellow, and orange would be my first choices. You can even use poblano peppers instead for a little heat.
- Ground beef - I recommend lean ground beef for this recipe. You don't want fat pooling in the bottom of the pepper. You could even use other ground meat such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or venison instead.
- Red onion - Yellow onions and sweet onions can be substituted.
- Garlic cloves - Garlic powder can be substituted.
- BBQ sauce - Use your favorite sauce or click the link to make a homemade BBQ sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Seasonings - Kosher salt, smoked paprika, ground black pepper.
- Smoked Cheddar cheese - This can be hard to find, so regular sharp cheddar, or a smoked cheddar will also work.
How to make it
The best way to make stuffed peppers is to bake the pepper separately while making the filling on the stove top. Cut off the tops of the peppers. The pepper tops can be discarded. Then the peppers should be set on a rimmed baking sheet to contain any juices and baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, add beef to a large skillet along with the chopped onion. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook until your beef has browned and the onion is tender. Add the minced garlic to the meat mixture and cook for an additional minute. Finally, stir in your barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings.
Tip: If you have burnt on fond in the bottom of your frying pan you can deglaze it with a little water prior to adding the BBQ sauce, just be sure to cook out the water so it isn't runny.
Remove the peppers from the oven and fill the cooked peppers halfway with the BBQ beef mixture. Add a layer of shredded cheese and fill with more beef. Top with an additional layer of cheese.
Set your broiler on high heat and place the BBQ stuffed peppers on the upper rack of your oven. Let broil for a couple of minutes, or until the cheese is melted and peppers have a slight char. Be sure to watch it closely because it will burn quickly.
Tip: If your peppers don't want to stand up properly pierce the bottom of the peppers with toothpicks for added stability.
Your stuffed peppers can be served whole or sliced in two pepper halves.
Ways to customize these stuffed peppers
- Although this is a BBQ beef stuffed peppers recipe, swapping out pulled pork would be incredibly delicious and an amazing way to use up any leftovers!
- Add hot peppers such as sauted jalapeno or poblano peppers for a little bit of heat.
- Sharp cheddar cheese isn't very gooey. If you want a meltier cheese you can use mild cheddar or even pepper jack cheese.
- For added smoky flavor, make these on the grill over indirect heat instead of baking them to add a flavorful smoky char.
- My BBQ stuffed pepper recipe is fairly low carb, but you can add cooked brown rice or black beans as a hearty filler if you want to load up on some carbs and fiber.
Any leftover stuffed peppers should be stored in an airtight container, or covered in plastic wrap and set in your refrigerator. For the freshest flavor, I would enjoy within three days.
You can reheat the leftovers in a microwave. However, due to their thickness, they will have a difficult time reheating evenly. The best way to reheat them is to scoop out the filling, placing it in a small bowl, and reheat the pepper and BBQ mixture separately.
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BBQ Stuffed Peppers
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the top of the bell peppers so they become a bowl. Trim out the white membrane as well if it is thick. Place peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
- While the peppers are baking prepare the filling by browning the beef and sauteing the onion together in a large skillet set over medium heat. Crumble the beef as it cooks.
- Once the beef is browned add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Then stir in BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, paprika, and pepper.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and fill half way with the beef mixture. Add a layer of cheese, and continue to fill. Top with an additional layer of cheese.
- Set your broilers on high heat and place the stuffed peppers on your top rack and broil until the cheese has melted.