The chipotle pepper is nothing more than a smoke-dried jalapeño. It’s often mispronounced by people, and I wish they would stop doing that. It really bothers me. Why would anyone call it a chipolte, when it clearly ends with the letters “t-l-e”?

It’s pronounced CHIP-OAT-LAY, not CHIP-O’L-TAY.

My goodness.

Chipotles are a relatively mild chili, mainly used in Mexican cuisine. You can find them in most grocery stores either canned or in powder form. They have a distinctive smoky flavor about them.

Indeed, I like chipotle peppers when they are incorporated into a well designed meal, but I’ve always equated the flavor to that of leather. Like maybe eating a shoe. But not as chewey…

As the author of this page, it’s my opinion that chipotle peppers rose to fame and became quite popular just prior to the sriracha craze that (thank goodness) finally seems to be coming to an end.

The flesh of the chili-pepper is thick and lends itself well to slow-cooked dishes as opposed to being eaten raw. They are also good in various types of salsa. Another great use for chipotle peppers is in adobo; a meat marinade where it is ground up and combined with other spices.

Jalapeño peppers, (remember, that’s all a chipotle is) naturally turn bright red as they ripen, and since there is a market for them, these are the ones that are used in the drying process which makes chipotles. The unripe green jalapeños get picked and sent to market.

The ripe red jalapeños, having lost most of their moisture are either spread out over metal grills, or loaded into large gas dryers. Wood smoke then fills the chambers and the ripe jalapeños get smoked for several days while being periodically stirred to allow the smoke to mix.

After a period of time, the dried jalapeños will have made the transformation to their final form: the mighty chipotle pepper. Due to the smoking process, they might now resemble giant raisins, but looks can be deceiving. What makes these peppers stand out is the blending of the spiciness from the jalapeños along with the earthiness of the smoke.