FWIW, I agree with the recommendation to use foil pans or tinfoil to "protect" smoker grill fall-through. The smoke happens at the top anyway. Also do this with soft meats (oysters, crab, fish, chicken livers [yup, I do!]).
Cheers Ryan, and Happy New to you as well! Pepper maggots are pretty nasty for sure. You don't know they're there until it's too late and then half your pods are full of frass. For those of you who don't know about these little bastiges, here's some info... http://ipm.uconn.edu...ggot.php?aid=57
I don't spray my chiles, so my only option is crop rotation... planting garlic in the beds where the pepper maggots were found the year before and planting no peppers for a whole year to let the next generation of pepper flies disperse before planting more. We'll know if it worked for sure in July.
I use an electric smoker too, but have the barrel of another charcoal brinkman that I put on top of the electric smoker, gives me more trays and the peppers and sensative stuff can go up top where it is cooler, but still smoked. Too much heat closer to the pan and smoke wood tray IMHO.
I recently smoked up some yellow onions, garlic, mild red bell peppers, and three red bhut jolokias, on a small brinkman electric smoker using applewood chunks. Then processed it with apple cider vinegar, and a bit of salt, and canned them. Then, about two weeks later, reprocessed and bottled them into 5-oz. woozies. Holiday gifts for unsuspecting victims. Plenty hot, but not unbearable. The peppers are the majority of the recipe, then onions, other stuff.
Three months ago I smoked up a bunch of yellow Jamaican scotch bonnets and make a ferment. Processed that over the holidays, and it's got plenty of bite too, and with some honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, etc, came out killer.
I am on the southern end of Lake City, exactly halfway between Lake City and Fort White.
Chorizo, like most of us in Lake City/Fort White, we end up in Gainesville quite a bit, if you know of any great places to get hot products or seed locally, I'd be glad to check it out!
I have found Jamaican Scotch Bonnett peppers at Wards. Sometimes they have plants outside, but they appeared to be mild. I have several sproutlings started, trying to over-winter them, as well as some other varieties not so hot. Not sure of any seedling sources, but I do have some seeds from a Red Bhut that I could give you. I don't see a need to have 20+ of those in my yard..... PM me and you can come by the next time you are in town.
The bottles I reuse, and the liner in the woozys I have is a plastic-lined foam with a plastic lid. After the initial use, I sterilize everything, flip the liner over, and reuse it one more time, ONLY for home use, and it goes in the fridge. Anything going out the door gets its own new lid and/or bottle set. I am, after all, my favorite guinea pig.
I usually just rinse well with water. Sometimes a cap full of bleach in a sink full of water if i'm worried about it. Never had any problems. I'm more worried about the stuff I get from the grocery store to be honest.
Grocery stores can be very scary. Lunch buffet salad bars even more so. That is what nailed me last time. Never trust the spinach.
Up to now I have used vinegar, lemon, lime, tangerine, orange, etc., and have had no problems. I recently made a pineapple scotch bonnet mash and it is not fermenting. Was then told a family member had an allergy issue with the Pineapple. OK, got other stuff bottled up for Christmas without the pina, we good. I hate waiting, but there it is until February at the earliest if the ferment needs it's time. My other experiments have had enough citrus to land in the safe zone, with vinegar and citrus, but who wants to wait for ever? I am looking forward to seeing what the pineapple addition does.