HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Buckets of Habaneros

I've got somewhere around 300 habaneros coming off of my plants in the next week. I already plan to freeze a lot of them, smoke dry a bunch of others and make a huge batch of jerk paste to freeze. But... looking for other ideas too. I frequently make a black bean/grilled corn salad with habs. Also love them in certain mexican dishes (mango salsa with habs is great). but would love your creative ideas for how to use them.

Any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I make Chinese chile oil with them. I wonder what a chile oil made of smoked habaneros would taste like, hmm this calls for an experiment

    9 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      Cheryl - Great minds think alike:) That oil would have to be very flavorfiul. And of course blistering. But thats a "good thing" I believe you helped me with some smoking advice a while back. (Thanks again.) If I remember, you said you have a smokin'tex? My homemade garbage can smoker is OK on calm warm days but can't produce enough heat in windy or cool conditions. I was thinking about the S.T. but because I have a house in Brooklyn with no backyard I'm forced to do this on a terrace. How big and how heavy is it? Good Luck with smoking the Hab's

      1. re: Chas

        Hi Chas, glad you're still smokin' along. The S.T. website is here:

        If you click on the two models, you'll go to the page which lists the specs on each. We have the 1400 model which I found on ebay! According to the website it weighs 93 lbs and measures around 18" x 18" (width and depth) x 29" (height). It looks like a smallish cube but can take a surprising load. We do our Thanksgiving turkey, normally around 20+ lbs, in it every year.

        We just replaced the coil in it and in the process my husband spent some time talking to their customer service. He was told there are only two parts which can fail, the coil which supplies the heat, and the thermostat. The design is adapted from commercial units which are their main business, so the smoker will run for days at a time. The coil costed $25.50 including shipping so replacement pieces aren't outrageous.

        There are other electrical units around, and the BBQ purists turn their noses up at anything but a charcoal rig, but we've been more than happy with the ST. We smoked a whole wild salmon and 60 lbs of plum tomatoes in the past few weeks, so it's useful for more than ribs and brisket.

        Oh, the neighbors can smell the smoke but it's not at all obnoxious, they usually ask if they can have a taste of what we're making.

        1. re: cheryl_h

          Thanks again Cheryl. The ribs(Beef Short Ribs and Pork Ribs) as well as small butts have turned out pretty well. My best results were with the outside temps being in the hi 80's and fairly calm which allowed the inside temp of the can to get somewhere around 215-225. But now that its going to get colder out I'll have to stop unless I get something insulated which The ST is. Hey if its good enough for The Today show (I wonder if Al Roker uses theirs cause he competes in BBQ contests.) And of course with your glowing recommendation this sounds like the one to get. And it shouldn't be a problem geting it into the house and on the terrace. The site says the coil is guarranteed for 2 years. That'll work for me. I'm already planning the brisket and turkey I'll be able to do. Cheryl thanks again for the info. I'm going to shut up now cause I'm carrying on and the original topic was Habs and what to do with them. By the way I have a jar of smoked habanero Powder that adds good taste to what I've used it with so far. So fresh smoked Habs should be really good. That chile oil idea sounds really tasty. Thanks again

        2. re: Chas

          chas - if you have a garbage can smoker, then I presume you can use charcoal? on a terrace, you need space. Use a vertical smoker - get a weber smokey mountain. It is as hands free as a charcoal smoker could be. I can smoke as low or high as I want.

          cheryl - how are you making your chile oil? do you use dried or fresh chiles?

          1. re: adamclyde

            It's just peanut oil infused with chopped, fresh chiles. I heat the infusion until it stops sputtering so I know the moisture is cooked out. That's it. You can add extra flavor from garlic and/or black beans which makes it similar to the commercial oils but I prefer to add those later when I'm cooking the actual dish.

            How is the kitchen redo going?

            1. re: adamclyde

              Hey AC I posted below the recipe for the Pepper sauce. And thanks for the advice on the WSM.My outside space (really not a terrace but the flat roof of my 2 car garage) would allow for the charcoal or gas if I wanted. The thing is the convenience and I have to say that with this "stinky" (No Pun intended:) little garbage can set up with a hotplate on the bottom I see that I can get good results. Every person that I gave some to looked at me with surprise and wonderment as to how I did it. With something like the Smokin Tex, I can get probably even GREAT results and convenience of thermostat as well as the moisture staying in with no water pan. Thats something that I can start very early in the morning and have food ready by afternoon without me having to stay there to watch it. Charcoal or gas flame I wouldn't leave alone. Plus I wouldn't want to argue with Cheryl and her husband who say its all good :) Thanks again for the info.

              1. re: Chas

                I don't doubt you or cheryl will get wonderful results for the smokin tex. kudos to you all for smokin, I say.

                for what it is worth, I leave my WSM alone for 12 hours at a time. doesn't need any tending. And water pan doesn't do anything for moisture - it's just a heat sink. you can use it or leave it out - whichever you want. but go with what you feel best about.

                Thanks for the pepper sauce recipe!

                - Adam

          2. re: cheryl_h

            Cheryl - I hate to bother again but Just wanted to ask: Do you have any idea what temp the ST can maintain on a cold day? I started a small (3 1/2 lb Pork Butt in the "can" this morning and have had trouble all day getting the temp up. It is drizzling and outside temp is around 62 or so. Breezy too. I just pulled it off the smoker and put it into the oven to finish. This is why I want to do an electric. Just want to make sure the ST can do its thing in the cold. The site says its insulated all around except the bottom.

            1. re: Chas

              The smoker maintains whatever temperature you set it to. The range is from 175 to 250, I think. I usually set it between 200 and 225 for most foods. The sides are double-walled steel so it's well insulated. We have done ribs in mid-winter when temps were below freezing (I'm in Boston) without difficulty. And as I said above, we do the Thanksgiving turkey in it.

              The temperature inside isn't even so there are hotter areas (near the coil at the bottom, at the back) and cooler ones (top, and around the door) so you may have to move food around so it all gets evenly smoked.

              I'm happy to answer your questions about ST, but perhaps we should start a new thread?

          3. I make a Caribbean Mustard based Hot Sauce that it pretty good. It uses quite a few habaneros depending on how much you make. I think it was a Trini recipe but I'm not sure. If you are expecting a red or tomato based sauce this isn't it. Oh and it is all uncooked ingredients, yet will keep for over a year in the fridge. It still has most of its heat which is, I guess, why nothing will grow in it :) Very easy to make in a food processor. I'll post it if any one wants it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chas

              please do post it. that would be great. thanks...

              1. re: adamclyde

                Sure thing I'm glad to share:

                MAKES EIGHT 4-OUNCE JARS

                10-12 habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles
                15 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
                15 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
                1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
                1 cup water
                3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
                1/2 cup yellow mustard (Additional 1⁄2 cup is optional)
                2/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
                2 tablespoons thyme leaves
                2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

                (TO MAKE EIGHT 8-OUNCE JARS)

                20-24 habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles
                20-25garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
                30 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
                2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
                2 cups water
                1 1⁄2 cups distilled white vinegar
                1 cup yellow mustard (Additional 1⁄2 cup is optional)
                1 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
                4 tablespoons thyme leaves
                4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                1. In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the chiles for 1 minute. Drain and let cool. Discard the stems.
                2. In a blender or food processor, pulse the chiles with the garlic, scallions, carrot and water until finely chopped. Add the vinegar, mustard, cilantro, thyme and limejuice and pulse just until combined. Season with salt. Transfer the sauce to jars and refrigerate.

                The sauce can be refrigerated for 1 year

            2. Not sure if this would work for habaneros, but my mom grows assloads of Hungarian hot peppers (sweet and hot)--she seeds them, cooks them in olive oil, chops up chicken breasts, and then braises the chicken breasts in the peppers. When the chicken's done, toss it with angel hair pasta.

              Again, it might not work as well with habaneros, but you might try it in a small quantity!

              1. This doesn't necessarily use buckets of habaneros, but I too just made some hot sauce--mexican style--that came out pretty well.

                Even my non-cilantro-liking hot-sauce-wary friend tasted it and exclaimed "This is really good!"

                It is somewhat similar in flavor to Cholula sauce (the cumin, and chiles de arbol, I suspect), but more piquant (from the fresh cilantro and habaneros).


                1. It'll only use up one or two, but I'm starting a habanero tequila infusion. I just dropped one habanero in a bottle of blanco tequila, and I'm going to wait two weeks before I start tasting it to see if it's getting spicy enough. Once it's just starting to taste too spicy I'll pull the pepper out.

                  Hounds on the spirits board say it's great for oyster shooters and bloody marys!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Pei

                    There's a Cajun Rest out in Long Island NY that makes a Cajun Martini with Jalapeno infused vodka. It's so good you almost wish that the vodka wouldn't affect you so you could have a few of them they are THAT good. The sensation of heat (for me anyways) was not felt on the tongue as much as it was in the back of my throat. Even then it was totally tolerable and pleasant. I'm curious to find out how the Habs, which obviously are much hotter than Jalapenos, in the Tequila turn out.
                    "I start tasting it to see if it's getting spicy enough." Hey Pei what ever you do please don't "taste" so much you forget to post back!!!:) :) :) :)

                  2. I make a condiment from lime juice, lemon juice (equal portions) pickling salt (c 2 tablespoons for 1 litre/quart) and as many habaneros as I can stuff into the jar. Leave it on the counter to ferment for a month. It keeps forever ( I find) and is great sprinkled on baked or grilled fish, pork chops, etc. Good for making hot and sour soup too, or for anything that needs to be perked up. ( sometimes I have a problem getting the jar open after a while, as the combination seems to corrode the metal lid!)

                    The recipe I originally used called "Bahamian Old Sour".
                    You can use any hot pepper, but, having tried a variety of combinations of peppers, I think that habeneros make the best flavour.

                    1. I've always been tempted to give this Habanero Cheesecake Recipe at try... Good reviews too...



                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Dommy

                        Thanks for posting this Dommy. Some of the other recipes from the same episode look pretty good too. I'm about to make some hummus, I might try the kick-butt recipe.

                      2. Hard to believe that no one's mentioned this yet, but...

                        Send some to fellow Chowhounds!

                        1. buckets of habeneros? May I say I would like to have party with each and every person on this board! I think the hab is probably the most flavorful and wonderful pepper out there, but few people I know enjoy it due to the heat. I love going to the Caribbean where if you get off the beaten path every local joint has a bottle of homemade on the table (yes big wide eyes when I slather it on, respect when I savor it). I have also infused my sauce, similar to Chas' w/o mustard, with fresh ginger. I am thrilled to learn it can last a year. that is part of what is keeping me from stocking up on all the habeneros that are showing up at farmers markets now. Maybe a nice Christmas gift for chili heads would be a bottle of vodka or tequila with a few whole peppers plopped inside?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lyn

                            you are right - there is an irreplaceable, unique flavor that you only get from habaneros. I can't describe it... it's like an fruity earthiness, if that makes sense. So good.

                            I'm definitely going to make a bottle of sauce. Can't wait. I can use it to accompany my beef patty on coco bread. mmmmmm.

                            1. re: adamclyde

                              AC - It kind of reminds me of how its difficult to describe the taste of Cilantro to someone who hasn't had it.

                            2. re: lyn

                              That ginger sounds like it could add an extra something I'll have to give it a try. But as far as the sauce lasting that long: keep in mind the mustard I think has some preservative qualities. I don't know if the heat alone from the Habs will keep it that long. I guess you'd want to try it every so often to check if its gone south or not.

                              Oh and Cheryl Thanks again for the info on the ST. I wasn't exactly sure how to word a new thread when I really had what I needed anyways. Thanks. I'll post a new one if I have any other questions or after I get the S.T.

                            3. I make your black bean corn habanero salad all the time now -- thanks from last year! It's perfect.

                              In the creative category, try candying strips of habanero. Someone brought me artisanal dark chocolate with flecks of candied habs from Italy. It was crazy! You do the pepper just like you would citrus peel.

                              Last year I made the mustard based Trini hot sauce Chaz posted above -- and added commercial ketchup to it. We love it that way - and it indeed kept well in the fridge.

                              As soon as mine get ripe, I'm trying a simple fresh salsa:
                              red onion, white vinegar, salt and cilantro. Habs and maybe garlic. Nada mas - a friend made this and it rocked.

                              here's a couple other hot sauces I'm trying this year . . .
                              Belize-style Habanero sauce:

                              Stogie's Belize Hot Sauce

                              1 small Onion(s), chopped
                              6 clove(s) Garlic, chopped
                              1 tablespoon Oil
                              1 cup Carrot(s), chopped
                              1 cup Water
                              30 Habanero chiles, minced
                              3 tablespoon(s) Lime juice, fresh
                              3 tablespoon(s) White vinegar
                              1 teaspoon Salt

                              Saute onions in oil until soft.

                              Add carrots and water, bring to boil and cook until carrots are soft.

                              Remove from heat and add habs, lime juice, vinegar and salt.

                              Puree in processor until smooth.

                              Pour into sterilized jars and refrigerate when cool. Be careful when tasting this sauce. We often use it as a base and thin it further to mellow some of the heat.

                              FROM JASON, ANOTHER HOT SAUCE RECIPE

                              fresh chiles (cayenne, habenero, jalapeno, whatever) for heat
                              dried chiles (ancho, pasillo, etc) for smokiness
                              regular white vinegar


                              other spices to experiment

                              Get a pan and cook the chiles for a little while (3 minutes maybe) in some vinegar. Dont get too close to it, cause the fumes will seriously clean out our sinuses, no joke.

                              Put the chiles cooked in the vinegar in a blender or food processor, add salt and pepper to taste. Blend it up to a fine liquid.

                              That is a basic Louisiana hot sauce. For green hot sauce simply use the unripe cayennes instead.

                              Modifications on this basic sauce are the addition of garlic and other spices as well as fruits and fruit juices (mango is a cool one to use) to fit your taste and personality. To add smokiness, re-hydrate the dried chiles and blend that up into the mixture.

                              To make this sauce into a jerk sauce, you simply add molasses plus jamaican allspice. To make it into a barbeque sauce you can add tomato paste.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pitu

                                Jason - That Belizean Hot Sauce lookds like it could be good. One question: do you saute the garlic with the onions or add it to the processor in the end?

                              2. Chas
                                The hot sauce recipe is from Jason, but I'm not Jason - sorry I didn't catch his sign off
                                : )
                                I read the recipe to mean raw garlic
                                but I plan to cook the garlic with the onions for a more mellow flavor, taste it then add some raw if that was needed in the rejiggering process. My habs are running seriously late this year (still lots of flowers and only a couple of fullsize peppers, still green) or I'd be able to tell you know that actually worked out . . .

                                thanks for your initial Trini mustard recipe from last year - we got a lot of mileage out of that one mixed with a little ketchup for with Xmas presents and burger parties . . .

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pitu

                                  Wow Pitu - I'M the knuckle head!!! I just now hit the link and realized I HAD already posted it last year. I forgot but am glad to havce shared and of course that it worked for you. I'll have to try a little ketchup mixed in for a different taste. Thanks for the clarification on the garlic. Oh and Habs/Scotch Bonnets which I'm pretty sure originated in a tropical climate need ALOT of sun and very warm weather. If there's alot of cloudy/rainy days and or even a slightly cool summer they can run late. But then its like they try to make up for lost time and they keep coming until frost.

                                2. Chas pt2
                                  I'm a knucklehead today
                                  That Stogie's Belize Hot Sauce is from

                                  the second sauce is from Jason

                                  My browser doesn't allow me to edit posts here on C'hound

                                  1. Instead of Tequila use a bottle of Vodka and a dozen Habaneros.

                                    Prick the Peppers with fork before adding to the Vodka and keep the bottle in the freezer for emergencies(!)

                                    1. from another board- (I slimmed it using only 1.5 tb butter,and 3/4 cup chicken broth + 1/2 cup cream instead of one cup and OF COURSE more habenero-1.5)this soup is awesome.
                                      thanks Marcia!

                                      1 28 oz. can tomatoes (I use San Marzano or plain Muir Glenn) You want whole tomatoes with juice, nothing else.
                                      2 finely minced shallots
                                      2 medium cloves garlic, roasted in foil for about 20 min., then peeled
                                      1/2 to 1 habenero pepper, roasted with the garlic
                                      4 oz. unsalted butter (see my note above)
                                      1 cup heavy cream (see my note above)
                                      salt to taste
                                      Cook shallots in butter until softened but not brown. Add garlic, habenero and salt and simmer 15-20 min. Blend thoroughly (I like an immersion blender for this),add cream and heat.
                                      See, I told you it was rich. :)

                                      link to this post posted by Marcia M. D'A. on Aug 10, 2005 2:14 PM

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lyn

                                        Lyn, I'm so glad you posted this recipe (the habenero tomato). I've made the soup, loved it, and then lost it. You actually upped the pepper. Brave of you. Thanks.

                                        I also use habeneros in Jamaican patties.