Peppers are such a fantastic way to brighten almost any dish. The colors, and the flavors elevate each plate they are added to.
We’ve enjoyed dicing them, sautéing them, and stuffing them with cheese and then grilling them wrapped in bacon. Once the season for harvesting them is gone, you have to use them quickly before they go bad or get eaten.
Our family has a better way to make peppers last all year long and make them even more delicious without losing their healthy nutrients. We like to smoke them on our electric smoker.
So, in this article, I am going to show you step by step, how to smoke peppers in your preferred smoker.
Also, by using this smoking technique, you can make them last all year and enjoy whenever you want.
Table of Contents
How to Smoke Peppers in a Smoker
Each spring, our small lovely garden begins with each family member picking their favorite seedlings and then taking care for them to raise enough to be harvested through the late summer.
I personally prefer to combine smoked peppers with smoked sliced brisket. Everytime I am smoking a brisket on my backyard, I grab some peppers from my small garden and throw them into the smoker.
I have never failed to impressed my guests with the combination of a delicious and juicy brisket with the taste of fresh peppers and other vegetables.
But, if you are wondering what's my secret, then I can guarantee you that the smoking process is the key to make a perfect smoked meal.
We all know that vegetables in general are very delicate and eveytime you try to grill or smoke them, they can be quickly burned or taste bad if you don't follow the steps carefully.
That's why I am going to show you step-by-step how I make smoked vegetables.
What You Need to Smoke Peppers
We always plant jalapenos, serrano’s, bell, chili and habaneros, just to keep it interesting and diversify the taste.
I have personally tried only the upper-mentioned kind of peppers but if you are planning to grill some other kind, then our friends from ChefsPencil have a complete guide to cook capsicum peppers in three different cooking methods.
As for our smoking guide, here is a complete list of what you’ll need to get started.
After you make sure that you have all the required items, you have to prepare them.
Preparing Peppers for Smoking
The first thing to do to prepare your peppers for smoking is to clean them by placing under running water.
After you make sure that they are clean of dirt, you can remove the seeds or if you like, you can keep them. The seeds and the veins inside will add to the overall heat.
If you want to reduce the scoville scale temperature then cut these out. However, this will not increase how long it takes to smoke them.
Preparing the Smoker
For the best results, peppers need a continuous and gentle heat for a long period of time. Exposing them to direct fire/heat, will probably burn them and make them taste not good.
We recommend you to use a smoker which is easier to control the temperature. This way, you won't have any issue maintaining the recommended temperatures during the cooking process. We think an electric, offset or pellet smoker will work great but if you feel confident using a charcoal one, you can give it a try. Just make sure to check the cooking temperature often using a smoker thermometer.
Also, make sure you have a clean smoker. Any grease or leftover oil from your previous smoked meat will leave a nasty flavor on the peppers, so make sure the grates are clean.
Smoking Your Peppers
After you prepared your vegetables, now it is time to start smoking them.
If you are using an electric smoker, just turn it on and set the cooking temperature at about 200°F and wait until it reaches the temperature.
If you don't have an electric smoker, you need to start your fire, add your wood, and bring the temperature of your offset smoker to no lower than 200°, and no higher than 225°.
After the smoker has reached the recommended temperature, lay out some aluminum foil on the cooking surface, away from the fire, and carefully lay down your peppers on them.
Note: If you want a bolder taste on your vegetables, use a mesquite or hickory wood. For lighter taste, pecan or a fruit wood like peach might be better to enhance the flavor.
After you start smoking, keep checking the temperature frequently to maintain it at the recommended levels.
After 2-3 hours of maintaining the recommended temperature, your peppers should be soft, not to wrinkled, and ready to come off.
The Best Wood for Smoking Peppers
Since peppers are very delicate, the type of wood you use has a major impact on the overall flavor and the end results.
When making smoked peppers, and when smoking vegetables in general, you want to use a pretty mild wood. Fruit woods, such as apple works great but hickory and oak are fine too.
In Mexico, especially when smoking chipotles, the pecan wood is their traditional and go-to choice. However, you are free to use whatever you like and have a good supply to last all long the cooking process.
How Long to Smoke Jalapeno Peppers
Since jalapeno peppers are probably the most popular type, a lot of people want to know how long should you smoke them.
For jalapeno peppers, it's recommended to be smoked at 200-225°F for around 2-3 hours.
If you manage to maintain the recommended temperature for 2-3 hours, then you will notice the peppers become soft, not too wrinkled. This is the perfect moment to remove them from the heat and serve.
Also, one thing to have in mind which will impact the duration of cooking, is the moisture levels in the peppers. If your peppers are large and very green color, then probably it will take a little bit longer to reach the preferred soft texture.
Two Ways to Serve Smoked Peppers
Even though there might be a lot of different ways to serve smoked peppers, I prefer to serve them in one of two ways shown below:
The first way to serve them is to take and sear their skin off over a fire.
Brush the skin keeping a little sear on the peppers and after you remove their skin, slice them into strips, and pack in garlic infused olive oil. You can decide to jar them for later and eat them on sandwiches, pizza or your preferred smoked meat.
The second way to serve them is to take them to a dehydrator or your oven. Set the temperature between 140° to 150° and dehydrate for 12-14 hours. After you take them off the oven or the dehydrator, let them cool for a while and then grind coarsely, or fine and sprinkle on your favorite dishes.
Storing Smoked Peppers
If you are planning to store the peppers after you finish cooking them, then it is recommended to store them in plastic bags or jars and keep in a ambient dark place like your pantry. You can find reusable containers at restaurant supply stores or you can even use a mason jar.
If you want to store them for a long period of time, you can even try freezing them. Freezing will slow down the decomposition and will help to keep the freshness, even after a long period of time.
Just have in mind that once you defrost them, they should be used immediately for the best results. If you don't do such, the moisture on the peppers will eventually make them vulnerable to mold, just like on a spoiled steak.
Also, one last thing to have in mind when storing is that if you plan to turn them into powders, then it is probably a better idea to do before freezing. The perfect time to turn them into powder is just after you dehydrate them and they are completely dry.
Smoking vegetables in general should be an easy and enjoyable experience but it can be quickly transformed into an issue if you don't know how to properly do it.
Two main things to have in mind when smoking vegetables are the the recommended temperatures and the amount of time needed to smoke them.
The temperature should be about 200° to 225° and make sure to maintain it for about 2-3 hours. That's also the time needed for peppers to get properly smoked even though it is based on your preferences.
That's a quick and effective guide on how to smoke peppers.
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