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Ever Tried Smoking Cheese?

opinionatedchef Dec 24, 2011 10:37 PM

I have a weakness for smoked foods. I love smoked cheeses and used to be able to find (smoked) bruderbasel at WF and smoked jack at TrJoes, but no more. Now, aside from cheap smoked gouda, i can only find in my boston area- smoked mozzarella and smoked cheddar (and i am thankful for them). Has anyone ever tried smoking cheese? I have not googled this yet; thought i'd ask y'all first.
I'm guessing it's a cold smoke process but i've never done that before. we have a horizontal charcoal fired smoker that we use for poultry and meats, vegetables and nuts.and i've done tea smoked poultry in a wok too.thnx for any help.

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  1. iheartcooking RE: opinionatedchef Dec 25, 2011 09:30 AM

    I've been meaning to take a stab at it in our homemade smoker, and from what I've read online it's pretty straightforward, throw a block of cheese on a smoking smoker for about 30 minutes or even less... Now that someone's asking I'll try it out and report back :)

    1. scubadoo97 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 25, 2011 09:37 AM

      You are correct about cold smoking. And it better be cold or you'll have a puddle of smoked goo

      7 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97
        opinionatedchef RE: scubadoo97 Dec 26, 2011 12:14 AM

        do you think we would just place the cheese the furthest from the fire box and put it in when the temp is down around 150/200 F?

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          scubadoo97 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 26, 2011 04:13 AM

          The temp in your smoker should stay under 70 degrees or the cheese will soften and melt. It won't be pretty if it's too warm. It doesn't sound like you will be able to achieve that even if you put the cheese on ice. You really need a cold smoke generator and you your smoker as a smoke box

          1. re: scubadoo97
            Infomaniac RE: scubadoo97 Dec 26, 2011 05:46 AM

            It's very easy and YouTub will show you how to do it.

            Keep the temp under 90 degrees and you'll be alright.

            1. re: Infomaniac
              scubadoo97 RE: Infomaniac Dec 26, 2011 06:37 AM

              Are you referring to the soldering iron in the tin can method?


              I still use a tricked out version of this method, (incorporating an air pump to pump smoke into my smoker), to cold smoke salmon. I've done cheese a few times. The first time I was using this method my cheese melted since it was in the summer and the ambient temp in the smoker was around 80-90. That's why I suggested keeping it at around 70 or under. I've found the surface of my salmon to be cooking slightly when the ambient temp in the smoker is above 70.

              1. re: scubadoo97
                Infomaniac RE: scubadoo97 Dec 26, 2011 07:39 AM

                No, never saw that method. Looks like something my neighbor made though.

                If you can control the smoke at 70 degrees it will work fine.

                I use a Weber Smoker, and have it smoke around 78 to 85 degrees with no melting at all. Not sure how accurate the reading is on the Weber thermostat but it seems pretty close to the digital thermostat I have.

                I think it's important to leave the cheese out in the air for a little while to let the outside toughen up a bit before smoking.
                You really need to keep a close watch on it. About three hours in the smoke and then I wrap it up and wait at least a week to allow the smoke to go all the way through the cheese.

                1. re: Infomaniac
                  opinionatedchef RE: Infomaniac Dec 26, 2011 05:38 PM

                  this is great. some questions: 3 months wasn't necessary for you? is it an electric model and do you preset the temp, so that's how you keep it low(plus the ice)?

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    Infomaniac RE: opinionatedchef Dec 26, 2011 07:06 PM

                    A week or two is all I wait. My blocks are cut small, maybe 1: to 2" x 4". It may be a month or two before I finish a batch, and the longer you wait the better it taste.
                    I don't have an electric smoker, and can't preset the temp.
                    I use hickory wood and just enough to get a good smoke and little heat. That's why you have to watch it closely. I think as long as you stay under 90 degrees you should be fine.
                    Scubadoo knows about the ice trick.

      2. Monch RE: opinionatedchef Dec 26, 2011 07:17 AM

        I have and the results were fantastic.

        Used a Bradley Digital Smoker, no "oven" heat, and added a large pan of ice to keep the interior temp as low as possible.

        Used hickory and smoked mozz, cheddar and colby...albeit using store-brand cheese and not my native Wisconsin's "good stuff".

        Smoked for about 30 minutes, then into vacuum seal bags.

        What I DID learn...after starting the process...was that results are best if the product rests..my instructions called for three months.

        I cannot argue with the results. The warning was that if you don't allow for the rest, the cheese tastes like ashtray.

        Another resource: http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/

        Go to "Cold Smoking" and you'll see a plethora of responses.

        From a "Cheesehead",

        1. kaleokahu RE: opinionatedchef Dec 26, 2011 09:11 PM

          Hi, opinionatedchef:

          My BIL has a lot of experience with this. If you have the offset-firebox "Texas Pit" style BBQ/smoker, you are in for a lot of frustration unless you keep your fire very low (like 1-2 bricquets and some hardwood splinters in a small cast iron pan. It is very difficult to keep the heat low enough in a charcoal-fired rig.

          Now then, if you're not a food snob, there's still hope and a lot of good eating that's possible. Suspend disbelief for a moment... Some of the BIL's best smoked cheese came out of a Little Chief electric... For some reason I don't even *want* to know, Kraft processed "American" cheese has a much higher melting point than other cheeses, and can be done in a rig like yours. You still have to mind the heat, and turn the chunks regularly to keep them from sagging through the grates, but at the end of the process, it *tastes* like... well... real cheese. Really--something changes in the texture.

          BIL was giving tastes of this stuff all over, and folks liked it so much he bought 4 more smokers, and was doing a good side business with it.

          Just sayin'...


          PS If you have a little room and slope, you might contact the University of Oregon and get their plans for a true cold-smokehouse.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kaleokahu
            opinionatedchef RE: kaleokahu Dec 27, 2011 12:40 AM

            ha! i also have a Little Chief; i'll be exploring this for sure! th you.

          2. e
            elimcfli RE: opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2012 01:21 PM

            I just had some smoked cheese a friend made using Peterson Smoker Pucks. Once ignited the pucks are self sustaining and the smoker is unplugged for the cold smoked process. The pucks can be purchased online or in the Northwest at Bi-Mart and various stores in Oregon and Washington, which are listed on their website.

            1. b
              Bkeats RE: opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2012 01:29 PM

              I tried but every time I tried to use a lighter the cheese would melt

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bkeats
                scubadoo97 RE: Bkeats Sep 26, 2012 02:05 PM

                You have to dry it and grind it up before putting it in your pipe and smoking

                1. re: scubadoo97
                  ricepad RE: scubadoo97 Sep 27, 2012 12:01 PM

                  Who is going to clean this mess out of my bong?

                  1. re: ricepad
                    scubadoo97 RE: ricepad Sep 27, 2012 02:34 PM

                    A cheesebonger..

              2. j
                jester99 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 27, 2012 08:39 AM

                Joe Beef Cookbook has a thing on smoked cheddar and has worked well for me. They soaked it in beer, froze it and then cold smoked it.

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