Grilled Bacon Wrapped Dates with Honey and Goat Cheese
Stuffed with goat cheese, these dates are then wrapped with bacon and then grilled over direct heat. These dates are finished with a smoked honey glaze and create the very best finger food at any party.
Preheat grill for indirect heat or two zone grilling using lump charcoal. Target 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If dates are not pitted, use a paring knife and insert a small vertical slice along the date and remove the pit.
Cut up the goat cheese in small rounds (about 1/2 teaspoon worth) and place into the pitted dates. Put just enough so that the dates can still close around the cheese.
Using the half slice of room temperature bacon, place the date with the sliced side down on one end of the bacon. Roll the date tightly so the bacon wraps around the date. Room temperature bacon will seal without the need for a toothpick or skewer. If using cold bacon you will need to use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Place on a sheet pan until you grill.
For the honey glaze: add the smoked honey to a small dish with thyme and cayenne. Stir and apply a small drizzle to the wrapped dates (approximately 2 tablespoons worth).
Place the wrapped dates on the indirect side of the grill and cover grill. Grill one side for 8 minutes or until you see them slightly crispy. Rotate the dates and grill the other side for an additional 5 - 7 minutes or until slightly crispy. If needed rotate a 1/4 turn if any sides need a little more crisp.
Remove from grill and drizzle again with the remaining honey glaze and serve warm.
Indirect cooking on a charcoal grill avoids the grease from bacon from causing flare ups and burning the bacon. The time it will take to brown the bacon will depend on how hot the grill is. Too hot and they will burn, thus targeting a temperature of 375 - 400 degrees to properly cook for a crispy bacon outer crust.
If using a gas grill use direct grilling and simply keep the direct flame lower and that way the dates don't burn.
You can find the recipe for Smoked Honey here. Alternatively you can use regular honey, mixed with cayenne and thyme.