For years I have grown various types of hot peppers as a hobby. We don’t have a very big yard now, so I’m lucky to have 3 or 4 pepper plants. We had a mild winter here in North Florida last year and much to my surprise, the same Habanero Pepper plan that I planted last year is growing habaneros this year!
In summary, I’ve got more habaneros that I know what do to with. So, today I am going to show you how to smoke habanero peppers. You can use them smoked in various dishes or you can completely dry them, grind and use throughout the year. The smokiness is really a nice touch to the habanero.
What I am doing today is first smoking the habaneros and then moving them over to my dehydrator to finish them. The last step is to grind them up so the smokey habaneros can be enjoyed for months to come.
1. Bring Smoker to Temperature
Bring your smoker to 200 degrees. I recently purchased an electric smoker so, this is really easy. You just set the temperature and time and in less than 20 minutes you are ready to go.
2. Add Smoker Wood
For these habaneros, I went with mesquite. I think mesquite just provides that extra smokiness when it comes to peppers. I recommend staying away from fruit woods such as apple when smoking peppers (a fruit).
Okay, learn from my mistake on this one. As you can see, I placed thehabaneros in the smoker direct on the racks. The problem was as the peppers smoked, they shrank and then the smaller peppers fell through the grates. A better way to do this is first spread out some foil and then poke holes in the foil with a fork or knife. This will allow the smoke to surround the peppers, while preventing them from falling through the spaces in the racks.
If you are planning on taking these all the way to completely dried and then grinding, you will need to smoker longer, perhaps twice as long. I’m a bit impatient, so I smoke for 2 hours and then move to mydehydrator. Just takes about 1 hour longer.
This takes about 1 to 2 hours depending on the type ofdehydrator you have, how long you smoked the peppers and how many you are smoking. I have a simple, electric-powereddehydrator with 5 racks. I think is around $40 from a big box store. You will know when the peppers are done because they become hard (no soft spots) and will darken in color. You can see from the picture that they are much darker than just after smoking (first picture above).
The final step is to grind up your smokedhabaneros. You can use a blender for this. Two pieces of advice here:
- Use gloves as you do not want to handle these guys
- Don’t breathe directly over the blender or whatever device you are using to grind these habaneros.
You can certainly use a full size blender. I’ve done it many times. With that said, we recently got a Cook’s 5 in 1 Power Blender. It is small, approximately 1/4 the size of a regular blender. I find using this is much quicker and less work to clean up. (I have no affiliation with this company. We received the product as a gift and it works great for grinding small batches of peppers.) It took me less than 1 minute to grind the smoked habaneros.