We became proud owners of a Big Chief electric smoker this summer, a find we made passing by a yard sale in our neighborhood. Smoking food wasn’t on my radar, but the unit was too eye-catching and the price was too right to pass it up. 15 bucks and it was ours.
It found a home in the basement for a solid two months, with no action. I finally made a move a couple of weekends ago to acquire wood chips, which are sold for $3/bag at Bi-Mart in a variety of woods - hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry. I’d browsed the Big Chief manufacturer’s web site a few times to learn more about what I had on my hands and to spark our first adventure. In their recipes section, a listing for smoked chipotles caught my eye and it was settled.
On Sunday we made a run a few miles north of Eugene to Thistledown Farms for the peppers, as well as pumpkins and apple cider. They had a beautiful selection of peppers, and we went with standard jalapenos and poblanos. A bag full of each.
Preparation was easy. Just a quick wash, cut off the tops and made a few random slits on the side of each. Then loaded up the trays, closed down the Big Chief and fired up the pan of wood chips.
I used apple wood chips, as it was recommended on the website. I ran the smoker about 8 total hours and refreshed the wood chip pan about every couple of hours. After these rounds, the smoky aroma soaked deep into my clothes and skin. My hands smelled so good I wanted to eat them.
At the end of this run it was time for bed and I shut it all down. The peppers had shrunken a bit, but were still fairly solid, about 2/3 their original size and an olive green color. I decided the next day to expedite the process - finish half the peppers on our grill and the other half in a dehydrator, until they were dark brown and very shriveled.
I used two techniques in case one failed (i didn’t want to lose the whole batch after that much effort). Both turned out great. I’ve sliced off a few slivers to sample, but we haven’t put them to the test in a dish yet. Amy plans on making an adobo sauce for some, preserving them that way. And we’ll just keep the others dry.
We’re looking forward to the meals they will spice up this during the cool months ahead.
And looking forward to many more adventures with our smoker.