At the end of garden season when we have a bunch of extra jalapenos we preserve them by making chipotle peppers.
It is a great way to use up those end of the season, over-ripe jalapenos.
What is a Chipotle Pepper?
A chipotle pepper is a dry, smoked jalapeno pepper. They are most commonly made from red jalapenos. However, you can also use ripe green jalapenos as well.
Chipotle peppers are added to any dish that could use a smoky flavor with a little heat.
During the drying and smoking process, most of the natural heat of the jalapeno is retained.
When compared to other chiles, a chipotle pepper is considered to hold a medium level of heat. Typically it is about 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units.
However, you can take out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno to make a milder version of the chipotle pepper.
How to Make Chipotle Peppers
To make your own chipotles, start with jalapeños without bruises or surface cuts. They can have cracks down the surface, but they shouldn’t be soft.
Then thoroughly wash them and remove the stems. However, if you are wanting mild chipotle peppers, you must split them open and remove the seeds and ribs.
Then place them on the rack in your smoker in a single layer.
Adding Wood Chips:
Now it is time to add the wood chips to smoke your jalapenos to make chipotle peppers.
Fruit wood chips are best to use such as apple wood. However hickory, oak, and pecan (the Mexican traditional wood) works well also.
We find it best to soak our wood chips before adding them to the smoker. This allows the smoke to slowly penetrate the peppers, leaving them with a nice smoky flavor.
How Long To Smoke:
You want the temperature on the smoker to remain between 180 – 200 degrees F. Just keep the airflow low so that the fire doesn’t get too hot.
Then continue smoking until the peppers are complete dried. For whole, over-ripe, red jalapenos, it will take approximately 10-12 hours.
However, don’t worry, if you don’t have all day to watch the smoker, there is another solution.
You can make chipotle peppers by smoking them for 3-4 hours so that they can absorb the smoke.
Then use a dehydrator or oven to dehydrate the pepper completely. Just be aware that your oven or dehydrator may smell smoky for a few days.
How To Use
Typically, chipotle peppers are used to flavor soups, salsas, stews, sauces, and even an occasional dessert.
So what do you do with all of your chipotle peppers? There are countless ways to use them, but here are some of our favorites:
A few spice companies offer a chipotle powder. This is simply the dried whole chili, ground up into a fine powder.
Use as you would any chili powder for a spicy, smoky flavor. We love our Krups Coffee Grinder which grinds the peppers down into the perfect consistency.
Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
Normally canned with a sauce made of spices, vinegar, tomato sauce and sometimes other chilies. You can use the chilies, the sauce, or both in common recipes.
Here is our recipe for making Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce.
Chipotle Chili Salt
The salt is a combination of chipotle chili powder and table salt. Use on meats or vegetables for a light smoky flavor.
Chilies are dehydrated and blended into a paste with oil or water. Then combine it with cream cheese or sour cream and a few fire roasted diced tomatoes.
Use the dip for chicken fingers, wraps and with veggies or chips.
If you have any other ways that you enjoy chipotle peppers, please let us know!
Mary and Jim
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