Fire roasted jalapenos are a tasty little addition to many recipes. If you’re wanting a more subtle back heat instead of a tongue blistering heat than fire roasted or grilled jalapenos are what you’re looking for. There are many ways to grill jalapenos but I’m going to focus on fire roasting them on a grill. My current grill is a Pit Boss pellet grill and I absolutely love it!
Roasted Jalapenos Pack A Pepper Punch
You may think all peppers get roasted the same, but it’s not quite true. Jalapenos are a fairly small yet thick walled pepper, so they need to be roasted a little different than some larger, thinner walled peppers such as Poblano or Anaheim Peppers. The main goal of roasting jalapenos is to develop a nice soft texture that doesn’t fall apart, while creating a deep rich flavor.
Preserve the Heat
When I roast or grill peppers of any sort, I like to do a lot of them and freeze some for later. They can be frozen uncut or chop them up and freeze them in small easy access containers or divided up into small baggies. Just defrost in fridge the night before you know you’ll need them.
Light your grill and get it nicely pre-heated. You want a fairly high flame here, you want your jalapenos to char on the outside and roast fairly fast.
While the grill is warming up, it’s time to clean your jalapenos. The outer layer will be getting charred off so they don’t need an extremely thorough cleaning. I just put them in a strainer and give them a good shower to get the obvious dirt off. There is no need to dry them off since they will be getting tossed onto a nice toasty grill fire.
Once your fire is ready and your grill grate is cleaned, dump your jalapenos on top, spread them out in a single layer and leave the grill cover open. We want the heat to come mostly from the bottom of the peppers and start to char them to give that delicious roasted flavor. After three or four minutes, it’s time to take a look at the peppers. This is where you get a good idea of how hot your fire is and how this process is going to go.
Get a pair of long tongs and start turning the jalapenos, you should have a nice dark char on the bottom by now. There is no need to be precise here as they will be turned a couple times again before you are done.
Look for the peppers that are more charred than others; this indicates your hot spots on the grill. Use these indicators to your advantage. Move the jalapenos in and out of the hot spots as they need it. If you see some that aren’t cooking very well…move them to the hot spot. This will be a constant process of moving and turning the peppers, putting the non charred spots down toward the flame.
Mind Your Grill Char
You are looking for the skin to get a moderate level of char, but not be totally blackened to the point it crumbles off. Keep turning and moving them around till you get a fairly even level of char on the entire surface of each jalapeno.
You may see some jalapenos starting to expand. This is due to the heat causing the trapped moisture inside the peppers to expand and steam. This indicates that the actual peppers are roasting nicely and not just burning the skin. Once the jalapenos have started to expand and the skins are evenly charred, you are done with this phase. If you want your roasted jalapenos on the softer side than wait till one or two split from the internal pressure then consider them done. I like them a little al dente with a tiny bit of crunch left in them so I take them off before they get to that point.
Finish your Fire Roasted Jalapenos
Keep in mind that they all do not have to be done at the same time. Pull them off individually as they are done and leave the stragglers behind to finish up.
Start pulling the roasted jalapenos off the grill and put them into a large zip-top bag or a container with a lid. Seal them up in the bag or container, set them aside and…wait. You need to let them sit in there for about 10 minutes to steam. This will cause the skin to release from the jalapeno and make them easier to peel. It also continues cooking the jalapeno’s to get them to their final level of roasted perfection. If you are looking for your grilled jalapenos to be a little more firm and crunchy, just remove them from your container earlier. You are in full control of your jalapenos destiny.
After they are steamed, I highly recommend that you put on a pair of rubber gloves. The juice from the jalapenos will get on your skin and can be quite irritating. They will burn you in places you don’t want to burn. Now start peeling the jalapenos, just rubbing them in your hands should get most of the charred skin off. I usually have one bowl for the skins and one for the finished jalapenos. If there are little bits of skin left it’s not the end of the world. You can cut off the top and scrape the seeds out with a butter knife or your fingers if you want or leave them whole.
How Do You Store Grilled Jalapenos
You can store the roasted peppers whole in a sealed container in your refrigerator for about a week.
You can also freeze your peppers. I usually chop up the finished peppers into 1/4″ to 1/8″ pieces. You can add these chopped up jalapenos into other recipes when you want some spice. You can put the chopped up peppers in little freezer bags in 1/4 cup portions and freeze for later. Just pull them out as needed and use these instead of a can of jalapenos.
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Does Grilling Jalapenos Make Them Hotter?
Grilling Jalapenos does not make them hotter, it does however change the flavor and distribute the heat a little more. The heat distribution may be one reason that roasted or grilled jalapenos seem hotter. The jalapenos heat is set by the amount of capsaicin in that particular pepper. Capsaicin is the compound in the pepper responsible for it’s heat intensity. When you grill jalapenos it starts to break down this compound which can slightly reduce the heat of your peppers. It also releases and spreads that mighty capsaicin to allow it to get into every nook and cranny of whatever food you are putting it in.
What Happens When You Roast A Jalapeno?
Roasting Jalapenos mellows out their spice level and gives the peppers an added depth of flavor compared to raw jalapenos. The texture of the pepper gets much softer. This is due to the direct heat from the flame cooking the outside. It is also due to the natural moisture in the interior cavity of the jalapeno steaming it from the inside once the pepper heats up.
Do The Seeds Make The Jalapeno Hot?
The seeds are not the culprit when it comes to your jalapeno heat transfer. When you cut open a pepper and see the white pith inside, that is where your heat is hiding. If you are wanting to reduce the heat of your grilled jalapenos then the white pith is what you want to remove. When you remove the pith most of the seeds will come out with it. This is probably why a lot of people think the heat from peppers is stored in the seeds. Removing the pith won’t de-heat your jalapenos completely. The flesh has some heat in it still and when you disturb the pith to remove it you are spreading around the capsaicin inside your pepper.
How To Tell If A Jalapeno Is Hot?
The short answer is…stretch marks. If you look at a fresh jalapeno and see it has white lines on the outer flesh then that is a good visual indicator the jalapeno is going to be a spicy one. A pepper with stretch marks on it is more mature and has led a pretty rough and stressful life. This usually causes it to store up a little more capsaicin resulting in increased heat.
What Can I Do With Roasted Jalapenos?
I typically chop up my grilled jalapenos and use it as an addition to other recipes to spice them up. You could sprinkle some on top of this Delicious Carnitas Pizza or sprinkle on these Shredded Chicken Tacos to spice them up a little. You can add some chopped up roasted jalapenos to Cornbread Muffins when you are making the batter to add a delicious spice!