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  • Serves: 1 Servings

Chipotle Chiles

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Mexican, Quick Breads, Breads

 Ingredients List

  • 1 lb Ripe jalapenos


Americans who love the smoky taste and fiery bite of chipotles have
recently been hit with high prices and a scarcity of product. With prices
for these smoked jalapenos reaching $15 a pound wholesale, home growers
yearn to smoke their own. But the Mexicans have been fairly secretive about
their techniques, and none of the books on chiles describe home smoking.
After a trip to Delicos Mexico, I think I have solved this mystery but
the process takes some dedication. First, let's look at how the Mexicans do

They use a large pit with a rck to smoke-dry the jalepenos. The pit
containing the source of heat is underground, with a tunnel leading to the
rack. The pods are placed on top of the rack where drafts of air pull the
smoke up and over the pods. The jalapenos can be whole pods or pods without
seeds. The latter are more expensive and are called "capones", or castrated

It is possible to make chipotle in the back yard with a meat smoker or
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 quality of homemade chipotle will depend on the maturity and quality of
the pods, the moisture in 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 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 differenc 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 pepperrs in
a single layer on the grill rack. Start two small fires on each side of the
grill with charcoal briquets. 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 wil 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 zip-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.

Buen apetito!

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