My ripe peppers are just trickling in so I've been seeding and freezing them. Can I thaw and smoke them when I get a supply?
Yes you can, I tried it this year with pods I froze last season.
The following is probably obvious to everyone else but I learned it the hard way... based on my experience I learned that you should freeze your individual pod halves on a tray and then bag them ie. not tossed into a bag and frozen as a lump of pods. Then, when you're ready to smoke, place your pod halves on your smoker tray while they are still frozen. Thawed pods, especially thin skinned varieties, are pretty mushy when thawed and it's easy to loose soggy flesh when handling them thawed.
My pods were frozen as a lump in a bag. I normally break off what I want to use in recipes over the winter and reseal the bag. Because I decided to smoke them I had to thaw the lump and over handle the pods separating them and placing them on the smoker rack. I ended up with some pods that had little flesh left, just skin. If you're hot smoking and finishing off in a dehydrator you won't be able to avoid loosing some flesh moving previously frozen pods to the dehydrator but initially handling them frozen while loading the smoker helps.
Here's a shot of some lightly smoked paper thin halves (bottom right, top left) fresh out of the smoker and on a dehydrator tray.
I recently picked up a cold smoke attachment for my smoker so next year when I smoke my left over frozen pods I'll be able to smoke them on the plastic dehydrator racks and avoid handling any thawed pods.
Primitive peoples would smoke and dry their fish to preserve it (since refrigerators were reserved for European nobility and space aliens).
Does smoking preserve peppers enough so that they can be air dried without them going off?
I don't have a dehydrator and can't really justify one for the small number of pods I'm dealing with. (Fortunately we managed to steal refrigeration technology from the space aliens, so that's covered.)
Thanks for the good advise, Bill. I do, in fact, stem, seed and freeze the halves on a tray before bagging them. My smoker has a side fire box, and I have a little propane burner in the fire box. I just put my wood chunks in a coffee can on the burner, so it's very cool and easy to clean up.
Dennis: Yes, you can air dry the pods, but it takes a long time. I have read that you can use your oven at a low temp as a dehydrater, although I've never tried that. My dehydrater is a very simple one that I got at Kmart. I think it was about $15. It serves my purpose fine.
You're welcome John.
One more thing, call me a nut bar (most people do), I'd ditch the coffee can thing. You never know what toxins you're releasing by burning chips/chunks in any can. The lining alone was never intended to be burnt off never mind any other can components.
I suggest you seriously consider a relatively inexpensive cast iron smoker box like the one linked below.
Signed (nut bar) Bill
Here is a link that might be useful: Cast Iron Smoker Box
Look what I got for my birthday. A stovetop smoker. You put shavings in the bottom, arrange the food on a perforated tray under the dome, and set it on the stove on med-high heat for about an hour (depending on the food). It's supposed to be able to smoke/cook whole chickens.
I'm thinking peppers (obviously).
INSIDE ?....Better have a damn good vent hood/fan......
I do indeed. Several times I've burned food to cinders without smelling it in the next room. (One downside of having a good hood.)
Besides, they claim the unit doesn't leak much smoke. You use only a tablespoon or two of their fine wood chips. We'll see.
after smoking a batch of pods i try to put them in the dehydrator indoors just to fine dry them out and it was a no no the whole house smelt like it burned down .... so it all got moved outdoors been working in the chill the last few evenings with it hitting just under 40 degrees while that batch was drying i went out and picked another 5 lbs of bhuts gonna get them ready to smoke for tonight should be a bit warmer in the 50s
What temperature is best to smoke them at?