This is my second time smoking dried red peppers. This isn't smoking with heat to cook, nor quite cold smoking. The peppers come out crispy but not toasted.
First, the smoker awaits with a new heat deflector duct. That's HVAC duct, drilled for ventilation and heat distribution. It just slips right in.
The peppers on the left were from a Mexican store; they must have been weighed out from a bigger bag because the individual bags had nothing on them but weight and price in marking pen. The peppers on the right were from a Burmese store. They're a little bit larger and a darker red, and much hotter.
I started a fire of chunky mesquite with a stick of maple. I was shooting for more smoke than heat.
This is the kind of thick white plume I avoid for smoking meat, but for this job I wanted a strong, tangy, heavy smoke flavor to stand up to the pepper heat. BTW this was handy for keeping the flies away.
I let the peppers smoke for about 45 minutes, which left them crisp but not toasted (much).
Here's the final result, after breaking the pods open to spill the seeds (they went to a bird feeder mix) and running them through a blender and a coarse sieve. The sieve lets the powder through but captures most of the seed and coarse flake.
The powder makes a smoked paprika with a kick. I used some of the coarse to flavor a bottle of vinegar, turning it dark red like tomato juice.