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How do you smoke chillies?

We are new to smoking chillies and have found it to be a learning experience, so this is a introduction to smoking chillies and how we have approached it, rather than a comprehensive guide. However we hope you find this useful.

If you have a glut of chillies (not just the traditional Jalapeno), then smoking your chillies is a great idea, as you can then add barbecue seasoning to your meals. Try it with burgers or chicken.

Originally we tried to hot smoke our chillies but found this was not suitable as too many pods were burnt. So it was back to the drawing board. Cold smoking fresh pods is better as it seems to suck in more flavour than hot smoking.

We purchased a cold smoker unit called a ProQ which is a small square metal base which looks like a maze. You fill it with wood smoking dust (such as Apple wood or Hickory) and then light a tealight and place it under the unit. The wooddust catches fire and smoke is produced.
We moved onto a upturned metal dustbin with racks inside for the chillies. This worked ok BUT too much smoke was lost into the polytunnel. We smoke our chillies inside a polytunnel as it is an open area but outside. It also means that no wind can affect the smoker.

smoking chillies
 


We then moved onto trying to find a fridge instead which we successfully found on Freecycle. The fridge was steam cleaned. It is an undercounter unit designed for use in a trade kitchen such as a chip shop. It has no freezer compartment and therefore just has four trays.


We drilled holes in the top of the fridge, sides and door. Fresh chillies are sliced and put on the shelves.  We do not de-seed the chilli pods.

The ProQ is then put on a baking tray and lit. Because it is a fridge and has metal sides, floor and inner roof, there is no chance of fire. The door seal keeps the smoke inside the unit and the drilled holes allow some smoke to escape but also allows for air circulation.

Fridge Smoker 


We tend to triple smoke the pods which takes about 15 hours. We then use the freshly smoked pods straight in our Hickory Smoked Chipotle sauce.  We also have a Smoked Apple Sauce which uses Applewood dust.

There are lots of other smokers available. Some of the best are Bradley Smokers in Totnes, Devon. These smokers allow you to regulate the heat/amount of smoke. Unfortunately due to the fact we are offgrid, we simply do not have the power for a conventional smoker unit.

The ProQ cold smoker is available from MACSBBQ along with lots of other interesting item ( www.macsbbq.co.uk ). The ProQ unit has an extra accessory which is essentially a cardboard box with flaps and trays, so you don't need to get a fridge! 

We have found a very helpful website for wood dust which is www.smokedust.co.uk  and another is www.hotsmoked.co.uk 

 In a proQ the dust needs to be very fine particles, so you need to buy dust and not chips for this type of smoker. 


Picture of ProQ cold smoker unit

Cold Smoker 


Once you have smoked your pods, we recommend storing them in a airtight plastic container for a few days to let them stew before use. If making chipotle sauce, you need to dehydrate the pods after smoking them.  

We also blend the smoke pods to make what is essentially a smoked chilli mash.  We do this for 2 reasons. Firstly we can regulate the heat of the batches and secondly, mashed chillies take up alot less room in the freezer than whole pods.  Add a teaspoon of smoked mash to a sausage casserole for a new level of flavour.

Once you have your smoker, you aren't just limited to chillies. Try cold smoking some cheddar with hickory wood. Delicious!