Appetite For Instruction: Texas Rumaki

Demonstrated by Susie Buck of Jack's Backyard

We had a hunch that this week's lesson might find you scrounging snacks for yet another Super Bowl extravaganza. And after last year's debacle, you'd better get your act together. To be honest, it's a wonder anyone's coming back after you left them bobbing for cocktail weenies in a vat of barbecue sauce. But even if you're still scrambling with only three days to go, no worries--here's your Hail Mary pass.

Susie Buck knows a thing or two about entertaining a fun-loving crowd. At Jack's Backyard in Oak Cliff, she and partner Kathy Jack serve up frosty beverages and wicked sliders (even though we hate that word) to party people and laid-back loungers alike. An accomplished private chef and caterer as well, Buck's got a sure-fire Super Bowl strategy. Her secret? In a word, bacon.

Her Texas Rumaki, aka Jack's Bites, are a twist on a classic cocktail snack that pack a spicy punch. And they're wrapped in every sports fan's favorite pork product. Score.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients: pickled jalapeño slices, sliced water chestnuts, chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces and sliced bacon, halved cross-wise. Chef Susie: "We use a nice, hickory smoked bacon. Thinner cut works really well."

Step 2: At one end of each half-slice of bacon, stack a piece of chicken, a water chestnut and a jalapeño.

Step 3: Roll and secure with a toothpick. Repeat as desired; number of rolls will depend on the size of your crowd. Uncooked rolls can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 24 hours.

Step 4: Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn and bake for 5 more minutes, or until bacon is crisp and browned. You have no excuse to serve a mushy weenie ever again.

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Lisa Petty