We use chile peppers year round. Anaheims, Poblanos and Jalapeños are staples in the test kitchen here at All Things BBQ. But this is a special time of year. Hatch chiles and Pueblos offer wonderful flavor and varying levels of heat, and they’re currently flowing out of the Southwest. Their harvest season doesn’t last all year, due to their specific geographic location, so it’s a good idea to process and preserve the chiles in some way so that you can enjoy them for months to come.
One technique for preserving peppers is drying, which concentrates the flavors and eliminates possible bacteria growth by removing the moisture from the chile. This method requires reconstituting the chiles in liquid at the time you wish to use them.
The technique we'll explore today is fire roasting chiles. There are a number of ways to roast a pepper, but the end goal is always the same. The idea is to loosen the skin from the flesh so that the pepper can be peeled and seeded. With only the flesh remaining, the pepper can then be vacuum-sealed and frozen for later use. When the pepper is thawed you have moist, slightly smoky flesh that is ready for use.
You can roast chiles on whichever cooker you have at home. You could even do it in your oven, but that’s not as much fun. Just be sure to have some long grill tongs around to keep your hands protected from the heat. You’ll place the peppers on a hot grill, flipping occasionally to char the skin on all sides. Then remove the pepper from the cooker and place in a zip top bag to steam. The steam separates the skin from the flesh for easier peeling. After about 15 minutes you can remove the pepper from the bag, peel the skin, remove the seeds and stem and you’re left with just the flavorful flesh of the chile.
When using a pellet grill like the Yoder Smokers YS640, preheat the cooker to 425°F with the heat diffuser removed.
If you’re using a gas grill with an infrared side burner, like the Napoleon Prestige Pro 500, you can place the pepper directly on the burner to quickly blacken the skin on all sides.
If you’re using the main cooking chamber of a gas grill, simply turn the burners on high and allow the cooker to preheat before grilling the peppers directly.
If you’d like to use a rotisserie basket, set up the rotisserie, place the peppers in the basket, slide the basket on the rod and start the motor. Turn the rotisserie burner on high, as well as the burners directly below the basket. Allow the peppers to brown on all sides before removing from the basket.