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cooking I got a smoker!

Siv

Extreme Member
I asked a buddy of mine, who has a new outdoor kitchen with built-in smoker, if he could smoke some peppers for me. Turns out he still had his old smoker and was going to toss it - he gave it to me instead!

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He showed me how to use it yesterday so I did my first smoke today: Guero (with pears, onions and lemon to make sauce), Manzano and Habaneros. The majority of the Manzano and half the habaneros will be dehydrated and made into powder.

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And here's what it looked like after 3 hours at 150:

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I loaded up the dehydrator so we'll see what the powders turn out like...

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Siv

Extreme Member
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Recipe 1:
2 large white onions
4 pears
1 large lemon
20 orange habs
4 Guero

All smoked at 150F for 3 hours.

After smoking I blended all together, added about a cup of vinegar, 2 tsp salt and 1 tbs sugar. Incidentally, when checking pH before adding vinegar, it was 4.2! All that acid from one lemon?

Cooked, strained and bottled. We'll see how it tastes in the morning.

There was also a lot of pulp left over - this is in the fridge and will go in the dehydrator once I have some room again!
 

Siv

Extreme Member
After straining and bottling, the sauce is very thin. Could have done with some potato! It tastes pretty smoky by itself but when added to food it's quite nice. I was initially worried that I had over-smoked the ingredients but thinking about it a bit more, as sauce is a condiment, you don't add so much so it doesn't get a chance to dominate.

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The smoke can definitely be too much sometimes. I like to give ingredients a short but hot grill on charcoal to get me some maillard reactions and then finish with just a few minutes of smoke with high ventilation. This way the smoke never dominates and the maillard reaction adds a lot of flavor to your ingredients too!
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
Congrats on the smoker @Siv. Nice friend! Curious as to what wood chips you used? That can definitely have an impact on flavor/intensity.

That's a good looking sauce. I'm curious about the bottle on the far right. Is that an "eye dropper" cap, or a nipple for overnight use? :P
 

Siv

Extreme Member
Congrats on the smoker @Siv. Nice friend! Curious as to what wood chips you used? That can definitely have an impact on flavor/intensity.

That's a good looking sauce. I'm curious about the bottle on the far right. Is that an "eye dropper" cap, or a nipple for overnight use? :P

I used hickory as that's what my friend gave me but there's also a box of cherry. I just cut down a mulberry tree and have kept a bunch of that for future experiments - it'll need a year to get dry first.

As for the bottle - it's a 2oz boston round that I got eyedropper caps for. A few years ago I did a tabasco style sauce (ferment and then lots of vinegar & stirring) but with scorpion peppers resulting in a very hot product. The eyedropper seemed the right vessel for dispensing but I bought 150 of them so I use them occasionally when I have smaller quantities of sauce left over.
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
I used hickory as that's what my friend gave me but there's also a box of cherry. I just cut down a mulberry tree and have kept a bunch of that for future experiments - it'll need a year to get dry first.

Funny, I did some heavy pruning on a fruiting mulberry last Summer. I saved several thick branches and put them in the pole barn to dry. Hope to use some this year.

I use "fruit" woods for things that I don't think can handle the stronger smoke generated by "nut" woods. I use a lot of apple for things like fruits, veggies and chicken. Cherry and peach are good for pork. Hickory and pecan are good for red meat like beef, venison, etc.

Just my experiences. Keep playing with it and find what works for you. Maybe that mulberry will turn out to be the go-to fruit wood!
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
@Siv and @Downriver, mulberry is a great choice for smoking pods! It’s a nice fruit wood, but slightly milder than apple wood. I’ve even used it on ribs 👍🏻

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Siv, I find hickory to be a pretty “strong” and pungent wood to use on peppers, although it’s not bad if you use it in moderation. I find that it can easily overpower the flavor of more “delicate” foods, like vegetables, fish, or poultry (the same way that mesquite can). In the end, it all boils down to personal preference. Like DownRiver, I also like to use fruit woods for smoking peppers, especially cherry ;)

Here’s the most comprehensive list of smoking woods (and the foods they’d best compliment) that I’ve ever found. It’s definitely worth skimming though 🍻

 

Siv

Extreme Member
That's a great list @MikeUSMC and I'm a little sad now that I didn't save the wood from the orange, lemon, bay and avocado trees that we lost in the last Houston freeze. We also lost all our olive trees but I haven't taken them all down yet so I'm gonna keep some of that.

I also have some maple in the wood shop so I'll have to give that a try but I think I'll stick with cherry going forward for chillies.

I'll leave the hickory for my wife's cooking :)
 
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