Chipotle Hot Sauce

There are many articles on the web that describe smoking jalapenos to make chipotle. All of them describe smoking for 12-14 hours to completely dessicate the chiles, or 3-4 hours then transfer to a dehydrator. I found one that mentioned canning the still moist chiles as an alternative.

Since my goal here is to use the smoked chiles for a ferment, I do not dry them. I cut off the stems and cut them in half, smoke them with Apple wood chips for 4-6 hours and then slice the chiles in half lengthwise. I keep the seeds and membranes attached to the peppers because this will be a hot sauce and I want every bit of that piquant flavor. At left, see a bowl of the veggies to ferment. I dry salt them and let them rest in the bowl for 3-5 hours so that the meatier partygoers sweat out some brine and reduce in volume. The natural brine is enough to cover when packed and drawn down to a gentle vacuum. If you are not using the vacuum lids you may need to add some prepared brine.

  • 3 lbs jalapenos, stemmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 1 large red bell peppers cut into 1 in pieces

  • 1 head of garlic peeled and crushed

  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion quartered

  • 4 carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/8 in slices

  • 2 tbsp Natural Salt

Fermenting in large chunks seems to produce the most aggressive fermentation.

I fermented this batch for 26 days when fermentation petered out. It looked and smelled amazing so I went ahead and processed it into sauce. My half-gallon batch filled the blender. I pureed the batch until no seeds were visible. (Your home blender is not designed to run non-stop for thirty minutes, so run it for not more than three minutes and let is cool down between runs).

The result was a wet paste that was easy to work in a strainer with a wooden spoon for a nice rich sauce. I strained the whole batch onto a bowl, cleaned out the blender (reserved the tailings to make salsa) and put the sauce back into the blender and added a tsp of Xanthan gum. I blended this into the sauce.

I actually needed to thin the sauce with some water in order to make it work well in a woozy bottles. I hot-water canned the sauce and let it cool to room temperature before putting it away. One bottle I used to sample, and then put it straight in the fridge — ready for tomorrow morning's eggs.

It became 7 bottles of hot sauce. We love the flavor. It is mild and smoky, somewhat sweet. I can see making a unique barbeque sauce with the same method, leaving it thick enough for this application. I think I'll try that next.