I don’t know about you, but I love smoking food. If you can smoke it, you best believe I’m going to try every recipe known to create the perfect smoky taste! And peppers are no exception.
There’s already so much that you can do with peppers, but why stop at stuffing when you can smoke them? I know, it sounds hard, doesn’t it? I wasn’t even sure that it could be done, but then I tried it, and it changed my life.
It’s why I couldn’t sit on it, and I needed to share it with you today! So buckle up, and prepare to have your peppers changed beyond recognition!
How to smoke peppers
When it comes to smoking peppers, you’ve got two options that will make for a delicious and smoky vegetable. Whether you’ve got some vegetarians you need to cater for or are trying to hit your five a day, smoked peppers will rock your world!
You can smoke a stuffed pepper, adding a smoky flavor to an already tasty meal. Smoking stuffed peppers is the most successful way to smoke bell peppers, poblano peppers, and other medium peppers.
Or you can use a dehydrator or your oven to smoke your peppers! Dehydrating, for those who need reminding, removes the moisture from the pepper to extend its shelf life!
You pop them in after being smoked for a delicious and long-lasting smoked pepper!
It takes longer than smoking a stuffed pepper, but I think it’s worth the extra time! Now that we’ve covered some basic pepper smoking points let’s get into how you smoke these bad boys and transform your spice platter!
What you need:
To smoke your peppers, you will need the following:
Smoker – a propane or electric smoker is best for pepper smoking and are ridiculously easy to use without over-smoking the peppers
Wood for your smoker – hickory, cherry, or applewood is your best wood for smoking peppers. Other hardwoods are great, but I found these to be the best when it comes to peppers. You’ll want either wood chips, chunks, or logs, depending on the smoker you have!
Peppers – dealer’s choice! All colored bell peppers, jalapeno, chili, and habaneros have all worked well for me in my experience.
Food dehydrator – or you can use your oven! The step isn’t needed if you make peppers for dinner or eat soon, only when you want to preserve them.
Spice grinder – if you plan to smoke your peppers for homemade spices, a grinder is sure to revolutionize your life!
Got your items? It’s time to start smoking!
How to smoke peppers step-by-step
You can follow the steps below to smoke your peppers! Remember, you can change it up if needed; this is just what works for my smoker and me!
Preheat your smoker while you prepare your peppers. Ideally, 200-225F is the perfect temperature for smoking peppers.
You don’t want it any hotter! Before your smoker reaches the maximum temperature, you can add your wood for flavoring.
While your smoker heats up, you can prepare the peppers. There’s not too much to do, but these steps do help with the taste of your pepper!
Wash the peppers under running water to remove any dirt or fertilizer that could be present. You don’t want anything on them that could affect the flavor of your peppers.
Once the peppers are washed and dried, you can trim them and remove the seeds if you want to.
Trimming them doesn’t impact the smoke time but can change the time spent grinding them once smoked. You also don’t need to remove the seeds, but it does affect the flavor.
If, like me, you love the spice, leave them in and grind them up for spicy and smoky peppers! If you’ve got guests who can’t hack the heat, it’s best to remove the seeds now.
As always, take care when you are handling the peppers. Hot peppers release spicy oils, and the last thing you want to do is accidentally get chili oil in your eye! It’s best to wear gloves to avoid this!
Now it’s time to place your peppers on the smoker! You will want to cook this low and slow so the peppers can absorb the smokey flavor that we crave! If you cook the peppers too hot, you will end up griddling them, which is not what you want.
Keep an eye on the temperature to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Electric or propane smokers are handy here as they maintain the temperature throughout the smoking process.
You are looking at 2-4 hours for your peppers to smoke properly. The time varies depending on the size of your peppers and how smoky you like them. The longer they spend smoking, the more flavor they absorb and the smokier they will be!
You will notice that the peppers will have darkened, and the skin will be softer. It shouldn’t be particularly wrinkled, but you’ll see some change.
The peppers are now complete and smoked! You can bung them on a plate, let them cool and eat them, or you can move them to a food dehydrator to remove any moisture.
This step is your personal choice! Set your dehydrator to 140F and place the peppers into the dehydrator. How long it will depend on how much time they need to dehydrate; usually, they need 8-10 hours to dehydrate fully.
After this time, you can remove the peppers and leave them to cool to room temperature. Once cool, you can grind them to the coarseness you desire!
Once done, it’s time to store these pepper spices to ensure they have a long and happy shelf life. Resealable plastic bags are an excellent choice, or glass jars for those seeking a sustainable solution!
Keep them in the dark and cool space, too, like your pantry. This goes for whole smoked peppers as well as ground peppers. You can see a month of shelf life for refrigerated whole smoked peppers and three months in the freezer!
And there you have it! Smoking peppers in a few easy steps! The method has worked successfully for me every time I have used it!
Experimenting with the woods used can change the flavor of your smoked pepper, so why not go crazy and see what you can come up with? Before long, smoked peppers will be on every meal you make!