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Smoked tomatillo salsa, or salsa verde, made with fresh tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeno and cilantro right at home.Jump to Recipe
What Are Tomatillos?
Tomatillos are small green fruits found in Mexico. Even though their name translates to “little tomato”, they are a fruit all of their own. These nightshade plants are related to tomatoes and cape gooseberries but taste more sour. The grow to just a bit larger than a golf ball and need to be de-husked before enjoying.
This Mexican can food can be used in all sorts of delicious dishes. For our recipe we de-husked them, cleaned them, smoked them and fire roast them before putting them into a blender to make a delicious salsa verde also know as tomatillo salsa.
Another common misconception is that tomatillos are green tomatoes. Although both plants are from the nightshade family they are not the same. Green tomatoes are simply unripe tomatoes.
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Tomatillo salsa is typically called salsa verde. Salsa verde does translate to green salsa so tomatillos technically aren’t the only variety you can encounter but they definitely are the most common. I’ve seen salsas with avocado called salsa verde as well as Chimichurri sauce.
We enjoyed this salsa with tortilla chips, on top of burritos and in the crockpot! Our crockpot meal was just thrown together but it was so good. I’m so sad I didn’t write down the ingredients exactly but there was a combination of chicken breast, corn, cream cheese, salt and pepper and the salsa. It was absolutely delicious served on top of a bed of white rice.
How To Make Smoked Tomatillo Salsa
I keep wanting to call this the freshest smoked dish you’ll ever eat but fresh and smoked seem almost opposite one another. You’ll know just what I mean when you wrap up this recipe.
To begin, turn on your smoker and set it to the smoker setting or 180 degrees. If you are using a Pit Boss Pellet Grill like us, leave your lid open until you see the flames lit. Be sure to close the slide gate once you see flames and open the vent.
Time to prepare your fresh ingredients. De-husk your tomatillos, peel and chop your onion in half and then peel your garlic cloves. We used 2 very large cloves of garlic in our recipe. If you have smaller cloves be sure to smoke enough to get the flavor you’d like. A little extra smoked garlic never hurt anyone. 😉
Now place the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic cloves directly on the smoker. If your garlic cloves are too small to safely stay on the grate, place them on a small grill safe dish and then place the dish on the smoker. Let everything smoke for 1 hour.
When your hour is up, remove everything from the smoker except the tomatillos. Turn the smoker up to 350 degrees and open the slide gate to fire roast for about 5 minutes, turning constantly.
Now it’s time for the fun part! Before creating your salsa, chop the tops off the jalapenos and then slice in half and remove the seeds. If you prefer a spicier salsa, leave about half the seeds to give the salsa some heat. Now put the tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and salt in a blender or food processor and puree. Taste your salsa and adjust lime juice or salt as needed.
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Before We Get Started
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This recipe makes about 4 cups of smoked tomatillo salsa. This is enough to fill one tall mason jar.
Smoked Tomatillo Salsa
- 1.5 lbs tomatillos
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 jalapenos
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 tsp salt
- Start smoker and set to 180 degrees, the smoke setting on a Pit Boss.
- Remove the husk from the tomatillos. Peel the garlic cloves.
- Place tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos on the smoker for 1 hour.
- Remove everything but the tomatillos. Turn the grill up to 350 degrees and roast the tomatillos over open flame for about 5 minutes, turning constantly so they do not burn.*If using a Pit Boss, you'll need to open the slide gate.
- Remove tomatillos from smoker carefully being sure not to loose juice.
- Slice the tops off your jalapenos to discard then slice in half. If you'd like less heat in your salsa, remove some of the seeds.
- Combine everything in a blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached. If your salsa is too thick, add 1/2 tsp of apple sider vinegar.
- Serve or store in an airtight container in refrigerator. Before serving again, let the salsa come to room temperature as it may congeal due to pectin in tomatillos.
When deciding how hot to make your salsa, it’s best to start without any jalapeno seeds and then add them in little by little. This way the salsa isn’t too hot for your family to enjoy. My kids use to hate anything with heat but they’ve gotten to the point that they prefer some of the kick now.
Tomatillos have pectin in them which makes them turn to a gelatinous state in this salsa. This is completely normal and can be counter acted by leaving your salsa on the counter at room temp for a while before serving. You can also mix in some lime juice to help bring it back to normal consistancy.
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