Preparation / Directions:
Prepare a smoker according to the manufacturer's directions, using the wood chunks and achieving a steady temperature of 275 to 300F. Place the chilies directly on the smoker rack (or use a shallow disposable foil pan) at the cooler end of the smoking chamber or on the upper rack if your smoker has one. Lower the cover and smoke the chilies for 2 1/2 hours, or until they are soft, brown, and slightly shriveled.
Remove the chipotles from the smoker. In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine them with the chile puree, water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and salt. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the sauce is very thick, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Transfer the chipotles to a covered storage container and refrigerate
for at least 24 hours before using. They can be refrigerated for up to
2 weeks or frozen for up to 2 months.
UNSAUCED DRIED CHIPOTLES: After removing the chilies from the smoker, place them on a rack and leave them, loosely covered, at room temperature, until crisp, light, and dry, 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the humidity. Store airtight at room temperature