Chipotle Steak spice

With it’s deep smoke, heat and sweet, chipotle is a natural ingredient to make a great steak spice. In this post, I’ll give you inspiration for making your own steak spice blend using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle along with our Sweet Smoked Paprika and other herbs and spices.

Don’t be afraid to tinker with the quantities and build your own custom blend. I like the texture of the dried minced onion and garlic but you can use powder if that’s what you have on hand. If you’re not a cumin lover, cracked black pepper is also terrific.

Season the meat an hour or so before you start cooking. This allows it to come up to room temperature and also lets the salt work it’s magic. I like to add some extra salt – the recipe is low salt by design. Put a generous coating of seasoning on both sides and the edges too. Use your fingers to press the seasoning into the steak.

filet with mushroom-pepper sautee and baked potato
Filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and peppers with a baked potato

Whether you’re cooking on a BBQ grill or on the stovetop, be sure to start out with high heat to get a nice sear on both sides for about 2 minutes each. Finish it off at a lower temperature, either on a cooler part of the grill or in a pre-heated oven until the steak reaches your desired level of doneness. A cast iron pan works great by the way.

Finally, take it off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before tucking in. It will cook a bit more while resting, so take it off the heat a few minutes before it’s completely cooked to your liking.

Chipotle Steak Spice

Chipotle and smoked paprika combine with herbs, salt and spices to make a delicious steak seasoning
Keyword Hot Smokey Chipotle powder, steak spice, sweet smoked paprika
Prep Time 5 minutes


  • 1 tbsp Hot Smokey Chipotle
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt substitute any coarse grained salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion onion flakes or powder are great too
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated dried garlic use garlic powder instead if you like


  • Blend all the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • Store in an air-tight jar or spice bottle. This recipe makes about a 1/4 cup.


Treat the recipe as a guideline. This makes a mildly spicy seasoning. Adjust the heat by adding more or less chipotle powder.
The salt in this recipe is intended to be low so you’re in control. Add a little extra when you season the meat if you like.
If you’re not a fan of cumin, sub in cracked black pepper instead. 
You can also include dried herbs like Mexican oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary or whatever you like.
Season your steaks an hour or so before cooking, and allow them come up to room temperature. 
While it’s tempting to start eating them right away, let them rest for 5 minutes or so after taking them off the heat.

A couple more things

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New spices for your quarantine cooking

Time to shake up your spice drawer!

With so many of us in lock-down and cooking more at home, it’s a perfect time to try some new spices.  Whether you’re bored and looking for inspiration or an expert looking to expand your repertoire, I think you’ll love these Bluewater Pepper Farm spices.

Order some Hot Smokey Chipotle, a versatile Mexican inspired spice made from Ontario-grown jalapenos, smoked over apple wood chips. Use it in combination with your usual spices to add a kick of heat and smokey sweetness.

Try my Jerk Chipotle Seasoning, a balanced blend of tropical spices, and Bluewater Pepper Farm signature chipotle. Make a classic jerk marinade or use it as a rub for grilled meat and fish.

To help you get started, here’s a collection of recipe ideas. Of course you’ll find tons more great recipes online. Above all, experiment and add a little fun to your food while we’re all in quarantine.

Oh, and watch for some new spice products launching over the next couple of months. Sign up for my mailing list to get recipes and be the first to hear about the new products.


Oxtail Stew

Make this staple of Jamaican cuisine using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder for awesome flavour and heat. Serve with rice and peas along with a side of salad or vegetable.

Make this staple of Jamaican cuisine using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder for awesome flavour and heat. Serve with rice and peas along with a side of salad or vegetable.

Oxtail stew

Oxtail stew is classic Jamaican comfort food.  Oxtail is a tough, bony cut of beef that needs a lot of cooking to tenderize it, extract full flavour and achieve the gelatinous texture that's the hallmark of a nice oxtail.  Everyone has their own variation, so there is no "standard" recipe for oxtail stew. This version is the one Tony's been making for years from memory. While it's traditionally cooked for hours in a dutch oven (dutchie or dutch pot in Jamaica) we prefer to use the Instant Pot to achieve a perfect braise while speeding things up.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Keyword Bluewater Pepper Farm hot smokey chipotle, oxtail stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6


For the marinade

  • 1 tsp Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder Adjust to suit your heat preference. 1 tsp gives a mild to medium heat, so if you like it hot, add up to a tablespoon
  • 1 tsp Grace's browning sauce Most grocery stores carry this, but if you can't find it, just use a little molasses.
  • 1 1/2 lbs Oxtail, cut into smallish pieces Small 1" chunks are the ideal size. This quantity is about half of a whole oxtail
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice, crushed 6 to 8 allspice seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme Use 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Additional ingredients

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup Use a tablespoon of sauce from chipotles in adobo if you have it
  • 1 cup beef broth dissolve 1 bullion cube in boiling water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1 8 oz can Lima beans (aka broad beans), drained I like to cook these from scratch in the Instant Pot. Soak them overnight and they'll cook in 8 minutes on high pressure.


Marinate the Oxtail

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients(browning sauce, salt, paprika, allspice, thyme, onion powder and chipotle powder) in a medium bowl.
  • Add the oxtail, mixing well for an even coating
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight

Cooking instructions

  • Heat your Instant Pot by selecting Sauté, high. Add the oil
  • When it's hot, add the oxtail pieces in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between them so steam can escape. Give it 3-5 minutes or so, then turn over and brown the other side. Set aside in a bowl when browning done.
  • Put onion and garlic in the pan (add oil if needed) to soften up for 2 minutes
  • Add the beef stock and 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom – loads of flavour in there!
  • Next, add back the oxtail plus the ketchup and brown sugar.
  • Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 1 hour.
  • When time's up, natural pressure release is best, but if you're in a rush for time, quick release is fine. Check the oxtail for tenderness – it should be falling off the bone. If not, put the lid back on and pressure another 10 minutes. There's quite a bit of variation between different batches of oxtail – normally an hour is more than enough, but in other cases, it just needs to cook longer.
  • Once it's nice and tender, toss in the lima beans and simmer to reduce the liquid to a nice gravy another 10 or 20 minutes. The beans serve as a thickener. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking.

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Try Chipotles in Adobo for big Mexican flavour

You haven’t really tried Mexican food until you’ve used the fiery condiment, Chipotles in Adobo. In this post, I’ll show you how you can make a very nice version using my Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle.

What exactly are chipotles in adobo? In an earlier post, What is Chipotle?, I explained the transformation from ripe jalapeños to smoked and dried chipotles. To make this adobo, whole chipotles are re-hydrated and simmered long and low in a tomato, vinegar, garlic and onion sauce. The result is a tangy, sweet and smoky condiment that can be added to many of your favourite dishes.

There are canned chipotles in adobo that are very good, but they’re not widely available in Canadian supermarkets. This adobo recipe uses my chipotle powder in place of whole chipotles which are also hard to find. I’ve made this using both whole and ground chipotles to compare the flavour. It’s hard to tell the difference when I use it in other dishes or sauces.

While I prefer to use canned tomato purée, ketchup makes a decent substitute.

There are many different ways to use this versatile dressing, whether in marinades, sauces, braises or on it’s own as a condiment. Keep reading for 5 ideas that follow the recipe.

Easy Chipotles in Adobo

Make this versatile Mexican ingredient using my Hot Smokey Chipotle powder instead of whole chipotles which can be difficult to find here in Ontario. This recipe yields about a cup. Most recipes that use chipotles in adobo as an ingredient only call for a few tablespoons so a cup will go a long way. With the vinegar content and being free of oil, it will last in the fridge for a month or more.
Course condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chipotle in adobo, Hot Smokey Chipotle powder
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 cup canned tomato purée Substitute 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or another sweetener Omit this if you're starting with ketchup.
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar While cider vinegar is the classic Mexican ingredient, just substitute white vinegar if you don't have it on hand.
  • 1 tbsp Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder If you have them, use 6-8 whole chipotles, soaked in hot water for 15 – 30 minutes.
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced very thin Use a mandolin for perfectly uniform, thin slices fast (just be careful!)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped Use cloves whole or crushed if you prefer.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water You'll need to add more water if you use ketchup.


  • Whisk the tomato, vinegar, chipotle powder and a little water together in a small saucepan and bring up to a boil. Use about 1/2 cup water if you're starting out with ketchup.
  • Stir in the sliced onions, garlic and peppercorns, return to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 60 minutes or so. Stir often and add water to keep it from getting to thick. Since we are using chipotle powder, you could reduce the cooking time if you need to, but it really does benefit from a long slow cook.
  • You'll want to end up with a consistency a bit thicker than ketchup, so keep that in mind and add water accordingly as it cooks.
  • Once it's simmered a while and reached the right thickness, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  • Use some right away and store the rest in a container in the fridge for a month or more.


The aroma alone is enough reason to make this staple of every Mexican kitchen! 
Chipotles in adobo are usually made using whole chipotle chilies that are re-hydrated and slow simmered with tomato, vinegar, garlic, onion and black peppercorns.  This recipe is essentially the same thing but using ground chipotle powder instead.

Here are 5 simple ways to enjoy Chipotles in Adobo . . .

Adobo translates to English as “dressing”, and as that word implies it’s something you combine with other ingredients or add to dishes.

  1. Make a BBQ sauce. Combine 1/3 cup chipotles in adobo with 2/3 cup of ketchup then add mustard and maple syrup (my favourite) and a little more vinegar to taste. You can be creative with BBQ sauce as long as you maintain a nice balance of sweet, acid and spices. Add garlic and ginger (fresh grated or powdered), honey, lime or lemon juice. This will taste great on anything grilled – slather it on as you finish grilling to get a little caramelization.
  2. Taco sauce. Combine roughly equal parts chipotles in adobo and mayo and add a little sour cream or yogurt. Plop a spoonful on a taco or a burger, but be careful, you might just eat the sauce by itself.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of chipotles in adobo to a batch of chili con carne to lend awesome barbecue flavour.
  4. Stir-fry sauce. Combine chipotles in adobo and water. Saute seasoned, cubed chicken breast, shrimp, beef strips, pork, tofu or any protein you like. When nearly finished, toss in the sauce to finish cooking. Make it
  5. Add a few tablespoons of chipotles in adobo to your marinades. I like to add some to my marinade for oxtail pieces when I make the Jamaican standard, oxtail stew.

One more thing, I highly recommend the cookbook Everyday Mexican by renowned chef and student of Mexican cuisine, Rick Bayless as a starting point for cooking with Mexican ingredients (of course chipotle, but so much more). In fact, pick up any of his cookbooks, and you’ll be inspired to cook more Mexican!

Mid summer update

As always, August brings a rich harvest in Huron County – everything seems to peak at the same time. Our vegetable garden has been slow to start, but is now producing a surplus of beans, cabbage, carrots and onions. Fortunately I’m not reliant on my own peppers as they’re somewhat of a disappointment this year. More about that in a later post. Meantime, I’ve been busy with a few other projects.

Apple and cherry slabs for smoke

I picked up some nice slabs of apple and cherry wood for the smoker. I felt kinda bad about cutting the big apple piece up for chips as it would have made a beautiful tabletop. However, I think these are better than buying the bags of chips and definitely cheaper. Tested them with a hunk of brisket on the smoker.

Fruit wood chips deliver a sweet smoke flavour

My Bluewater Pepper Farm Chipotle powder is for sale at Masse’s Fruit and Vegetable Market during the summer months. It sold well this past year, so be sure to drop by Masse’s when they re-open in late May. While you’re there, pick up outstanding sweet corn, strawberries, peaches and all kinds of other fresh local fruits and vegetables. If you can’t wait, I’m now pleased to offer an online shop too.

Raised beds

Looking pretty sad

It was time to rebuild a couple of my raised beds. They served well for a decade, but I confess they weren’t very well built to begin with

I used some salvaged 2×8 lumber from the deck we replaced last year. I know many will tell you to avoid pressure treated lumber for garden boxes, but these are well aged. They do not contain arsenic which hasn’t been used in a few decades. Best of all, it was already stacked behind the shed, looking for a purpose.

Cut for a box 7′ long x 30″ wide
These should last me a long time!

A couple of hours later, I’m happy with the end result. I decided to build it up higher this time – the 2×8’s made that easy to do. I prefer the height because it allows me to add more soil, plus it’s just plain easier to reach. Another option would be to use it as a cold frame. I could add a hinged plastic window on top to grow greens and such in early Spring.

Time for Sweet Corn!

For many of us, there’s no better food than fresh picked sweet corn. The arrival of the new crop at the height of summer, draws crowds out to all the farmer’s markets around here. At Masse’s Fruit and Vegetable market, they pick it fresh throughout the day.

There’s lots of debate over the best way to cook a cob but my favourite is to shuck the husk and roast ’em directly on the grill. Brush on a little corn oil and salt as it roasts, turning it three or four times until the kernels are a bit caramelized all around.

Use corn dishes for serving. Add a dollop of butter and season with a mix of garlic powder and my Hot Smokey Chipotle. Combine 1/4 tsp of each, drop a pinch or two on your cob, and roll in the dish to spread evenly. Delicious!

You can buy my chipotle powder right now at Masse’s.

Hot Smokey Chipotle from the Bluewater Pepper Farm

Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle bpf001-30
Our signature Hot Smokey Chipotle packs a real punch. Buy it direct here.

My signature Hot Smokey Chipotle powder is made from fresh ripe red jalapeños grown in Huron County, Ontario by our partner, Masse Fruit and Vegetable Farm.

Use this powder to add a kick of smoke and spice to whatever you’re cooking. Make your own spice blends or just add a bit to liven up the mixes already on your spice rack. The uniquely rich flavour profile of my chipotle is achieved through slow-smoking over charcoal with apple wood chips.

One other thing – this product has only 1 ingredient – the smoked jalapeños you want! Every 40 g bottle concentrates the flavour from more than 1 pound of peppers. A little goes a long way. You can buy other chipotle products, but be sure to read the label – in many cases, you’ll be paying for salt and other common ingredients you already have.

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I really value your feedback, so if you’ve tried any of my samples leave a review. Good, bad or indifferent, let me know your honest opinion. I’m especially keen to hear about any creative (and delicious) uses you’ve found for my Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder.

Hummus with Chipotle powder

Use my Hot Smokey Chipotle in this recipe for a unique twist on this Middle Eastern staple.

Hummus with Chipotle

Make this delicious Middle Eastern dip, using canned chick peas or cook them in minutes in your Instant Pot.  This recipe kicks it up with Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder giving it a bit of smoke and heat.  Whiz the ingredients together in a food processor and that's it!
Use hummus as a dip with veggie sticks, tortilla chips or crackers.  I like to use it in place of butter on my sandwich too. 
Course Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Bluewater Pepper Farm hot smokey chipotle, hummus


  • 1 15 oz can chick peas, drained Set aside the liquid. If you cooked your own chick peas, let them cool down before processing
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle Add more if you like it spicy
  • 1 Garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chick pea liquid Add more or less to suit your preference
  • 1 Tbsp Lime juice About 1/2 of a lime


  • Put all ingredients into your food processor and process on high.  I like to whiz it for 3 minutes – it will seem like forever, but it will make your hummus deliciously creamy and smooth. 
  • Periodically scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  • Add more chick pea liquid if it seems too thick and adjust the chipotle, lime and salt to taste.


Add a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil just before serving.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.