If all you’ve ever used is the store bought ‘wimpy excuse for real ingredient’ chili powder from the usual boring name brands you are in for a real treat!
Not only will this stuff fill in for the generic brands in any of your favorite recipes you’ll find that adding it to any number of other dips, marinades, dry rubs or just an accent on your favorite roasted vegetables it will bring every dish to life.
I discovered this one by accident when my local farmers’ market had bushels of ripe jalapenos available for pennies on the dollar one year. The first thing to try was making my own chipotle in adobo. The first mistake I made was being impatient and allowing the heat to rise to 200 degrees or so in the smoker. The second was that I didn’t realize how long the cooking process would take and ended up canning the chipotles at 4am the next morning.
For the next batch of peppers I decided to just cold smoke and taste to let them tell me where to go next.
WOW! These peppers are incredibly tasty and I’m adding them to everything… Several of them came out dried to a crisp and I immediately put them in the spice grinder and created my own chili powder. This stuff gets added to every dip I make, sprinkled on homemade chips, fish filets, etc. The flavor is deep, smokey and like nothing else you’ve tasted. I’m going for another bushel tomorrow…
Some of the softer ones I sliced and added to my ‘ugly pepper’ liquid after I used the original pepper slices for sandwiches. These also came out with an incredibly deep flavor.
If you’ve never tried this awesome treat it’s time to jump into the pool. The taste is incredible!!!
Most of us have some kind of hot smoker that we use to do the ‘low and slow’ BBQ masters method to maintain 200-250 F heat source. I’m looking to move into the preservation arena (peppers, meats, veggies, cheese, etc) that requires ‘cold smoking’ in the under 120 F range.
I’m a DIY guy so I went looking for a way to build this setup and found some excellent resources. I love sausage, ham and large cuts of meat so I wanted a setup big enough to hang large cuts of meat in as well as smaller items.
This is the absolute killer setup for anyone who is serious about their smoking…
Perfect BBQ Cold Smoker
See the full article and construction design at Cowgirls Country Life Blog
Caution: when working with chili peppers, be sure to wear disposable food gloves since the oils from the chili peppers is very difficult to get off of your hands and will burn your eyes and other sensitive body parts.
Get Your Jalapeno Peppers
Choose ripe jalapeno peppers that are firm, fresh, and red and wash and dry them thoroughly. You will get about 1 pound of chipotles for every 10 pounds of jalapeno peppers you use.
Prepare the Jalapeno Peppers
You can leave the jalapeno peppers whole, or if you’d like to reduce the drying time you can cut off the stems and slice the jalapeno peppers open, being careful not to lose too many of the seeds. If you’d like to take away some of their heat, you can remove the seeds and membranes since that’s where a lot of the jalapeno heat comes from.
Smoke the Jalapeno Peppers
Put the jalapano peppers in a smoker and cold smoke them for 8 to 16 hours. If you don’t have a smoker, there are many good kinds available. Or, if you want to make your own smoker, you can find directions here or here.
Make sure your smoker is very clean before you start smoking the jalapeno peppers, otherwise it may impart stale food flavors into your chipotles. You want the peppers to end up black, dry, leathery, and brittle to make sure the flavor will be preserved. Since this can take a long time, many people will finish off the peppers in a food dehydrator or oven (below 200 degrees) over night.
Use or Store Your Chipotles
Store the peppers in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to 6 months. You can also make chili powder by grinding up the dried peppers.