Rob Polishook was the founder Chile Today-Hot Tamale, a company that introduced smoked habanero chiles to American chileheads. When we asked him about his technique for smoking the hottest chiles in the world, he wouldn’t reveal his exact trade secrets, but he did give us some general techniques. “Producing the smoked habanero chile is an intricate and time-consuming process,” he wrote. “The habaneros are smoked over a medley of exotic woods, herbs, and spices. The habaneros are smoked for sixteen to thirty hours and must be turned and sorted depending on their density and size at least once an hour. This process ensures that the habaneros do not burn and will have a rich, smoky, citrus, incendiary flavor. Chile Today-Hot Tamale’s homemade habanero smoker has smoked thousands of pounds of habaneros. Similar to a chef’s favorite pan, it has seasoned perfectly.” Rob’s final comment is good evidence for devoting a smoker strictly to chipotles.
Pasta de Chipotle (Chipotle Paste)
Pasta is the Spanish word for paste, not macaroni. This paste, which keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, is added to soups and salsas and to vinaigrette dressings to perk up the flavor of the salad. It’s also great as a marinade or basting sauce for roasts, ribs, chicken breasts, and shrimp.
2 cans chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (or one cup chipotles rehydrated in wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Transfer to a clean jar, cover, and store in the refrigerator.
Yield: About 2 cups
Heat Scale: Hot