Re: [CH] Smoking Chiles

The Old Bear (
Sat, 23 May 1998 12:27:32 -0400

In Chile-Heads Digest, v.4 #430, Philip Raath and Hobby Farmer wrote:

} Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 09:13:03 +0200
} From: "Philip Raath" <>
} Subject: [CH] Smoking Chiles
} Could anyone be so kind as to explain to me how to smoke chiles.  
} Should I roll it in brown paper or stuff it straight into a pipe 
} :-) . Seriously though, do you dry them before or after smoking, 
} what is the best sawdust to use, how long do you smoke them?  I 
} plan to use habs and Jalapenos.


| Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 03:39:19 -0400
| From: Hobby Farmer <>
| Subject: Re: [CH] Smoking Chiles
| The smoking process seems to get them dry enough for me, though
| I do double-bag them and keep them in the freezer.  Apple is my
| favorite wood chip to use ( I use an electric hotplate and a
| cast iron pan to char the wood and provide the heat and smoke ),
| but hickory, cherry, sumac and raspberry canes aare OK, too. . .

Here is my reference on this topic:

                    MAKING CHIPOTLES

It is possible to make chipotle in the backyard with a meat 
smoker or a Weber-type barbecue with a lid.  The grill 
should be washed to remove any meat particles because any 
odor in the barbecue will give the chile an undesirable 
flavor.  Ideally, the smoker or barbecue should be new and 
dedicated only to smoking chiles.

The quantity of homemade chipotle will depend upon the 
maturity and quality of the pods, the moisture of the pods, 
the temperature of the smoke drying the pods, and the amount 
of time the peppers are exposed to the smoke and heat.  The 
aroma of the wood smoke will flavor the jalapenos, so 
carefully choose what is burned.

Branches from fruit trees, or other hardwoods such as 
hickory, oak, and pecan, work superbly.  Pecan is used 
extensively in parts of Mexico and in southern New Mexico to 
flavor chipotle.  Do not be afraid to experiment with 
different woods.

The difference between the fresh weight of the fruits and 
the finished product is about ten to one, so it takes ten 
pounds of fresh jalapenos to produce approximately one pound 
of chipotles.  A pound of chipotles goes a long way, as a 
single pod is usually enough to flavor a dish.

First, wash all the pods and discard any that have insect 
damage, bruises or are soft.  Remove the stems from the pods 
before placing the peppers in a single layer on the grill 
rack.  Start two small fires on each side of the grill with 
charcoal briquettes.   Keep the fires small and never 
directly expose the pods to the fire so they won't dry 
unevenly or burn.  The intention is to dry the pods slowly 
while flavoring them with smoke.

Soak the wood in water before placing it on the coals so the 
wood will burn slower and create more smoke.  The barbecue 
vents should be opened only partially to allow a small 
amount of air to enter the barbecue, thus preventing the 
fires from burning too fast and creating too much heat.

Check the pods and the fires hourly and move the pods 
around, always keeping them away from the fires.  It may 
take up to forty-eight hours to dry the pods completely.  
The pods will be hard, light in weight, and brown in color 
when dried.  If necessary, let the fires burn through the 
night.  After the pods have dried, remove them from the 
grill and let them cool.  To preserve their flavor, place 
them in a sip-lock bag.  It is best to store them in a cool 
and dry location.  If humidity is kept out of the bags, the 
chipotles will last for twelve to twenty-four months.

                             Paul W. Bosland
                             New Mexico State University