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May 12, 2006 08:46 AM

Question: How do you smoke your own CHIPOTLES?

  • m

I bought a smoker 3 weeks ago and my neighbor and I have been smoking our butts ( and ribs fish,chicken,veggies and nuts) off. Chipotles are smoked red jalapenos (next stage of ripeness after green) (frolicked in a mountain of them in Nuevo Laredo last year)and I want to know the method for smoking them , time, temp, any other info. BTW, purchased this smoker at a yard sale for $25 and it works like a charm.It's an Oklamoma Joe Smoker and I never knew I could love a big hunk of metal so much!!!!!

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    1. First, congratulations on your smoker. They are the greatest things ever.

      Second, Chipotles... wonderful thing to do on a smoker. I do it every year at the end of my jalapeno crop.

      they take a long time because you are simultaneously smoking and drying them. That's one of the reasons you do red jalapenos - because they have already lost some moisture and the walls of the pepper aren't so thick.

      Some people use a smoker, then finish them in a dehydrator, but you can do them in the smoker the whole time. Plus, they are better done the whole time in the smoker. You just have to be patient and VERY careful with the temps. Too hot and you'll burn them all.

      Anyhow, let me get into it. First, you need something to smoke them on (so they don't fall down the grates). At a restaurant supply store, you can buy mesh pizza screens. they work perfectly and cost only a few bucks. Anything like that will work.

      Second, you want to smoke them at around 175 degrees. Don't go higher than 190 or you will burn them. At that temperature, they will probably take 24 hours to do properly, until they are dried out. To speed up the process without compromising quality, you can use a toothpick and poke a hole in each jalapeno. That will enable some of the moisture to escape a little quicker. Even with that though, you are still looking at 20+ hours.

      If you can't do a full day, smoke them for about 15 hours or so, then bring them inside and finish drying them in the oven. To do that, put the oven at the lowest setting - around 200. Keep it on for about 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven, let a little heat escape, then put in the chiles and leave them in an OFF oven overnight. They will dry just fine.

      Last... don't be shy with the smoke wood. I have learned that you need a LOT of smoke wood to really get them good a smokey. While I never ever use mesquite for smoking meat, I actually find it is the best wood for chipotles. It is strong, but also a traditional wood for chipotles in mexico.

      To shorten the whole process, some folks just cut them in half. They'll finish in less than half the time. But if I'm going to do my own, then I'd rather do it the right way.

      Wow... that was long winded. Here's the recap:

      * Poke a little hole with a toothpick in each one to let moisture escape
      * Use lots of smoke (I like mesquite for chipotles)
      * Smoke at 175-180 degrees (don't let them burn!!!)
      * Smoke for around 24 hours. If can't do that, dry them in a low, low, low oven (warm it up, then turn it off and dry them the rest of the way in there)
      * When finished, they will still be slightly pliable. But make sure they don't have too much "undried" moisture, or they will get moldy eventually.

      Good luck and enjoy!!!!