For the last few years I have been smoking both sweet and hot peppers from our garden. I usually turn the sweet ones into smoked paprika, while I do several things with the hot ones. Sometimes I smoke whole jalapenos, then dry them to turn into chipotles. They can also be ground up after drying to make chipotle powder. And one of my favorite things to do is to turn smoked Anaheim type peppers into smoked chile powder. We’ve got lots of pepper on our plants right now, so it’s time for me to start processing some of them for later use.
I use both green and ripe peppers for smoking, and both work well for this treatment. I find that peppers with thicker walls tend to stand up to the smoker process better than thin-walled ones which can burn more easily. Last week I smoked several batches of hot peppers, including the green Biggie Chile peppers which are a hybrid Anaheim type I’ve been growing for years now. After those were done, I put them in the dehydrator to dry for use later.
I use my Weber charcoal grill to smoke the peppers, building a small fire on one side then adding a foil packet of wood chips on top of the hot coals. I place the peppers on the other side of the grill, and choke down the air supply to keep the heat level as low as possible. My goal is to make smoke, not to heat the peppers up enough to cook them.
I smoked a second batch which included Honeypeno peppers. That is a hybrid jalapeno variety with moderate heat and a sweet flavor when ripe. I also smoked some of the ripe Senorita peppers, another jalapeno with moderate heat. I was able to smoke two batches of peppers using the same coals, though I used a new batch of wood chips for the second batch. My favorite wood to use is apple, which makes a mild smoke that doesn’t overwhelm the peppers like hickory smoke might do. I poke holes in the foil package to let the smoke get out.
After smoking, I fermented the smoked red jalapenos for about 10 days. I plan to make a smoked sriracha sauce with them. I made a batch of that last year, and it proved to be one of my favorite hot sauce creations. The combination of smoky, sweet and hot works well in a number of dishes, and I have also mixed it with yogurt to make a smoky salad dressing and dip.
For more information on smoking peppers, check out my 2016 post on Smoking Peppers, and one from 2015 on Smoked Peppers. I hope you have enjoyed at a look at how I smoke peppers here and how I use the finished peppers. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!