Monday, July 26, 2010

Experimenting with Chili Peppers

I tried something new this weekend without any real knowledge about how to do it, only what I had picked up on the Internet.

Wait, that sounds REALLY bad.

I tried making my own ground chili peppers this weekend. This isn't a "how to", I was just stumbling through this.

This year, Alexis grew a nice cayenne pepper plant that has been quite productive for a single plant.

I supplemented that with a nice selection from Rushy Springs Farm in nearby Jefferson County.

I picked a handful of the cayenne, some of the sweeter green chili peppers, and then those tiny little devil dogs (not their real name), some kind of thai chili pepper similar to a birds eye. I decided to try to cold smoke them first. I loaded my home made cold smoke generator with cherry and apple wood chips.

And smoked them whole for about 90 minutes inside of the Big Green Egg (not lit).

Then I cut them into slices, cleaning out the seeds, and placed them on a $6 garage sale bought dehydrator. I ran it for 14 hours.

Once they were crispy and dry.....

I rough chopped them and ran them through my spice grinder (electric coffee bean grinder, never used for coffee) for about 15 seconds. Too coarse.

I ran it back through a second time for about 30 seconds. Much better. I can use it at this texture or run it through a pepper mill for a more fine texture.

I like the texture and color that the larger green chili pepper pieces add. The heat provided by just two of those thai peppers gives a nice hit of heat but it's balanced by the rich flavor of the rest of the milder peppers.

I'm not sure how much of the smoke came through at the end though. Next time I'd either seed and slice the peppers before smoking them or just smoke the ground pepper at the end. There was a steady thin smoke coming out, I just think the waxy skins of the peppers kept it from getting in.

The aroma of this mix smells unlike any packaged ground red pepper I've ever bought. It smells like....ground chili peppers. Real chili peppers. I can't wait to grill with this stuff.

If you try this at home, let the spice mixer rest for a second after grinding to let the pepper dust settle. I failed to do that and when I opened the top, the whiff of dust burned my sinus cavity for a few minutes. It reminded me of this old joke.

Doctor: So, have you had any odd symptoms since we changed your medications last time?

Patient: No. Well, yes, just one. It's kind of embarrassing. Every time that I sneeze, I have an orgasm.

Doctor: Oh? That's odd. And how have you been treating that?

Patient: By snorting pepper!

Have any tips for dehydrating peppers or herbs?
If you had just a little bit of this red/green pepper mix, what would YOU use it on?


  1. Making slits in the chili's and smoking them longer gives a better smoke flavor. I smoke them for about 8 hours before putting them in the dehydrator.

  2. What a fabulous idea, Chris. I bet the chilie powder is awesome and I can't wait to see what you make with it. Oh, and thanks for the laugh this morning! :-)

    Kim in MD

  3. That joke had me seriously laughing. If only black pepper had that effect on everyone...

    I'm so impressed with your home dried chili peppers. Perfect for when you don't need a whole bag of them but only a few.

  4. I'm pretty sure that's how MacGyver makes chili powder.

  5. Hey mang! MMmmmM, smoked peppers. While I have smoked peppers and red onion slices (great garnish for soups and stews), haven't done the powder, yet. I gutted my barrel smoker, a Hathorn, and installed a cheap dual burner electric hotplate on one side. Grabbed a 6" cast iron skillet, filled with hickory chips and placed on a hot burner. I smoked them for about 36 hours, long I know. But the smoke that was infused was absolutely to die for. OH yeah baby.

    xo Biggles

  6. I've been growing and grinding my own for several years and to me it's unbelievable how much better they are. Good job on the gear you made up.

  7. Good joke!

    Very impressive that you smoked and dried your own peppers! I can't even grow basil!

  8. Ha ha... great joke.

    I think it's great that you made your own dried peppers... I would never think to do that.

  9. Very very impressive... Now you need to find those scotch bonnets and you have a business.

    If i just had a little, it would be on a Cajun chicken pizza. a little more and it would be on chicken wings of course.

  10. YES! I love the spice. They are beautiful too!

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  11. LOL!!! Oh, that ground chili pepper will be great on grilled meat and veggies, great for seafood and fish. My son is growing different types of peppers and experimenting also.

  12. Loved that first line! LOL

    Never dawned on me that chili pepper flakes would come from anywhere but a jar. Great post.

  13. I have never attempted anything like this. In fact I still have those dried ghost chili peppers from last year and am afraid to grind them into powder for some reason... GREG

  14. Love that joke!! Pretty cool how you made your own chili powder. I get lots of peppers every year and trying this has never crossed my mind. Thanks for sharing this because I'd love to try it.
    I think this chili rub would be great on a whole chicken cooked with your new rotisserie spit. I think the chicken would really allow the flavor of the run to come out.

  15. I have a whole ton of dried Anchos I was going to smoke and grind beat me to it. This is far superior to anything you can buy. I bet the flavor is fantastic. Thanks for the tips! And the laugh...

  16. Yes, I cannot wait to see what you do- Buff got me to buy a dehydrator for my chili powder mixes!

  17. I am so impressed with your pepper grinding skills. My feelings wouldn't be hurt if you needed me to sample or take some off your hands.

    You attained a beautiful color in the ground form.

  18. That's awesome! I love dried chili flakes (I would use them in everything), but since my girlfriend won't touch spicy foods I never use them all before they go stale. Course, I don't have a cold smoker or a place to set one up... hm.

    I've dried rosemary and basil before, I just tie them up by the base of their stems and hang them upside down in a paper bag with some holes cut in it. After a couple weeks, they're dry.

  19. Nice looking peppers. I smoked a batch last year and let them dehydrate in the oven. I slit the sides so the smoke got in pretty well. I left mine whole and stored them in a glass jar. Tasty stuff.

  20. LOL about trying things off the internet and the great joke (which I will be sharing). . .

    I love dried peppers. I keep dried chipotle, jalapeno and chile peppers and sprinkle them in so many dishes. If I just had a little, I'd add it to my veggie stir fry, some freshly popped corn or top a slice of pizza. If I had a lot, I'd make a ground chile enchalada sauce and add it to some chicken enchaladas.

  21. I just wanted to chime in. That pepper mixture looks great. I have made my own chipotle and it is far superior to anything store bought.
    The freshness will add to any dish. Barbeque sauces and stews w1ill be blessed with your magic powder. Great Job!!

  22. What a great experiment! I want to try smoking salt....I'm seriously addicted to smoked salt!

  23. You really are just too good Chris. I would have never even dreamed about doing this myself. I saw that cold smoker and thought I bet that's what a crack pipe looks like - I don't know if it really does or not but it "cracked" me up - pun intended. Funny joke too. Can someone pass the pepper? ;-)

  24. Color me IMPRESSED!!


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