Smoked Chiles


I was moved to create this section because there are so many people growing their own chiles. I have eight assorted chile plants (potted) which produce way more than I can use just for myself and family.

So, what do you do? You can freeze fresh chiles or roasted chiles for months. You can dry chiles in a ristra, or, you can smoke them! Here's how I do it...

Cages

You need something to hold even small chiles in the smoker without having them drop through the grill. I made cages from 1/4-inch wire mesh I got at the local hardware store. Just cut a square about twenty inches on a side. Then, cut a 4-inch square from each corner, so that you have something like the figure to the right. Fold each side up, and wire together about three inches up. Then fold the last inch over towards the inside, forming a lip to keep stuff in when you can shake the contents about.

Smoking

Prepare chiles by cutting off their stems. Additionally, you can puncture them or slit them in half. It's only necessary to expose their insides for the smoking process; this allows the smoke in and the moisture out. Put chiles into cage(s) about 2 inches deep. (You can make a cage out of aluminum foil, if you like, but I prefer the rugged and re-usable.)

Build a coal bed in your smoker. I have a single-barrel style, so I build a small {mesquite,oak,pecan,hickory}/charcoal bed at one end, and put the cages at the other. I soak wood brickettes or split limbs in water for an hour. After I have a small bed of hot charcoal, I enclose it with the wood. As time goes on, I add charcoal to the center and wood to the edges. I size the coal bed to keep the smoker at about 200-225 degress. Every time you add to the coal bed, shake the cages about to mix the chiles.

Smoke until the chiles are almost completely dry. This takes about six to eight hours in my smoker, and I check the fire every hour. If you have a multi-compartment smoker, then you probably already know more about this than I do! :-)

Anyway, do it slow, invite friends over to watch it happen, and give them a little baggie of the result. They'll be so impressed!

Smoked jalepeno is called chipotle, and if you search Google you'll find that this is a very hip and popular ingredient for hundreds of recipes. (Fiery foods has a wonderful section on all things chipotle.) Other chiles also work well with smoking. Chile pequins are small round chiles which make a great smoky ingredient. You just crush one between your fingers over your dish and voila! I just recently smoked a hugh batch of ripe (red) anahiem chiles; they are not very hot at all, but make a delicious sauce. You can smoke just about any chile, as others have shown:

Home-Smoked Chipotle Chiles
Pepper Profiles: Chipoltles
Experiment, have fun, and let me know about the results!

Preparation

Cut the smoked chiles in half to remove the seeds, if you like. Then, you can powder them in a blender (don't get the dust in your face!), or you can re-hydrate them by steeping in hot water for 30 minutes or so, then blending into a sauce. (For peppers with tough skins, like New Mexicos and Anaheims, you must re-hydrate, then scrape the pulp from the skin before blending a sauce.)

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