Strictly speaking, a chipotle is a dried, smoked red jalapeno but I had a load of green jalapeno available and I thought I'd see if I could make 'green chipotles' from them.
The result, as can be seen above, was excellent. The green jalapenos have been turned into deeply smoked chipotles that are properly dried and have that 'crinkly' look of proper chipotle.
Read on to see how I made these green chipotles.
In a previous attempt I had made chipotles on a covered barbecue with mixed results - the theory was good but I needed more smoking time and probably more heat.
This time I decided to use the controlled low heat of a bullet smoker to allow for a long smoke that dries the chiles without overcooking or burning them.
The bullet smoker has a water pan that you use to regulate the heat inside. This generates humidity inside the smoker, which is good if you are cooking meats but not desirable if you want to dry chiles. To address this problem I filled the water tray with broken terracotta plant pots (see below).
Then I lit a small batch of charcoal, as I didn't want the internal temperature to be too hot, and assembled the smoker, without the chiles inside, and monitored the temperature.
The temperature quickly climbed to 250F - too hot for smoking - so I added extra broken plant pots to the heat sink. I also closed the bottom airvents to allow only a tiny amount of air into the smoker, thus making it burn cooler.After about 15 minutes the temperature was pretty steady on 195F to 200F.
I washed, dried and destalked the jalapenos. Then, using a sharp knife, I made a single slash at the stalk end and also stabbed each one through the middle. This was to allow smoke to penetrate the chile more easily and also to speed up the drying process.
The green jalapenos were placed on a rack at the top of the smoker and the lid was closed. Then the first batch of dry apple wood chips was thrown over the hot coals to generate smoke.
Over the first 2 hours I regularly topped up the wood chips and charcoal. After that I topped up every hour or so for another 6 hours. I turned the chiles a couple of times to ensure even smoking.
At the 5 hour point they had changed appearance considerably.
By 8 hours they were dark and shrivelled but not fully dry. I could have left them in the smoker to complete the drying process but, for convenience,I brought them indoors and finished the drying in a food dehydrator.
I'm so pleased with the results that I have another 2kg of jalapenos, red and green, being delivered so that I can make another batch.
Technically, because I used green jalapenos they aren't chipotles. However, in terms of look, smell and, most importantly, taste I think they are almost identical to the authentic chipotles that I buy for cooking.