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Cold Smoking Cheese

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    Cold Smoking Cheese

    I wanted to cold smoke some cheese and after looking it up on the Internet, there are a lot of recommendations "How to". I couldn't find anything here on Amazingribs (but if I missed it, please feel free to point it out to me).

    There's the tube that one fills with wood chips, there's lighting three charcoal briquets and putting a lump on top, there's using a Weber grill, a PBC, and on and on.

    Just wondering if anyone here has any thoughts on the matter.

    #2
    Just search for the words "cold", "smoke", "cheese" by using the provided search box:

    Click image for larger version

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    You'll find lots of results to look through ...

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      #3
      I light a Smoke Tube filled with pellets. Put the cheese blocks on a grate over a foil pan that's filled with ice. Usually I smoke it for about 2 hours. Wrap in plastic wrap or vac seal for a couple weeks minimum as it will be bitter if eaten right away. This way has worked for me several times. Smaller cheese blocks get more smoke. I think it helps to flip the cheese over have way through to get a more even smoke on the blocks. Good luck.

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        #4
        Just did some yesterday. I use me kettle with SnS. I use 2 Kingsford briquettes, get them completely ashed over hot, place them on the outside edge of the SnS and add some apple for smoke. I fill a drip pan with ice cubes and place it directly under the cheese. I portion the cheese in about 8 ounce chunks. I smoke for 2 hours and try to keep the kettle temp under 80 degrees. Much easier to do in the cold of winter here in Wisconsin but yesterday was a high 40's day and it worked OK.

        Afterward I let the cheese set for about an hour, double wrap in plastic wrap, and then age in the fridge for a month. I have had tasty success with gouda, extra-sharp white cheddar, baby swiss (my favorite), and sharp cheddar. Sorry but no pics from yesterday's smoking.

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          #5
          I use the Smokin Tube with pellets, about an hour, let dry on the counter using a wire rack, then pat down so there is no moisture on the surface, then vacuum seal, then minimum 3 months age in the fridge. Then deliciousness ensues.
          Last edited by Arsenlael; April 12, 2021, 10:45 AM.

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            #6
            Well, I smoked a variety of cheeses yesterday on my Weber charcoal grill using a Smoking Tube filled with cherry wood chips at an average temp of 83F. Gave it about 2 hours. Then pulled them out to rest before wrapping/sealing them for the recommended fridge time. Before I wrapped them, I gave them a try to see how bad they might be right after the smoke. In spite of the minimum recommended 1-2 weeks and as long as 2-4 months, they all tasted pretty good. Makes me think I did something wrong if they are supposed to be bitter or acrid right out of the smoke.

            Anyway, I'm happy with the results and will wait to see how the taste changes after some fridge time. And thanks to all you gave me advice.

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              #7



              I’m sympathetic for MarkN’s lament about the difficulty of finding anything on the internet that gives solid, detailed guidance on cold smoking cheese. Let me explain my method using a 22-inch Weber with a foot-long pellet cold smoking tube. This is the result of trial and error, more errors than trial. But with each failure, I learned something.
              Some general comments first: Cold smoking cheese is a variation of low and slow smoking. But in one critically significant way it is more challenging: absolute temperature control. Unlike, say brisket or pork shoulder, for which there is a certain amount of cushion in range of temperatures and timing, there is little in cheese. At 90 degrees F, the milk solids in cheese begin to liquify and melted fat rises to the surface. Staying below that is imperative. The second major variable is ambient temperature. I’ve found that over three hours the kettle’s internal temperature will rise by 25 degrees plus a bit. Thus, if you begin at 60 (I never go higher) degrees, you get perilously close to 90. This is why cold smokers often smoke at night as I do and never smoke during the summer. A brief word about pellets: Writers make specific recommendations for particular species of wood pellets. To keep this post as short as possible I won’t go into my reasons but my advice is to use whatever is easily available because the result will be about the same.
              So, to my method: *Fill the smoker tube with pellets, stand it upright, and place 1/2 of a fuel tablet firmly inside, 1/2 because you do not want the internal temperature to begin too high. Then light it with a torch—electric, butane, or propane. But—and this is important—let it burn for ten minutes or until you’re absolutely certain you have a steady flame. The reason is that you will be allowing only a minimum amount of air through the bottom vent so you must ensure the pellets are well lit, otherwise they will go out (happened to me more than once). *Lay the tube on the coal grate on the opposite side of where you will place the cheese. *Wrap aluminum foil over the food grate. This helps to diffuse and deflect the smoke (an ancillary benefit is that it helps to keep the top of the grill clean; pellets do emit a gooey resin(?)). *Place a water pan filled with cold water on the food grate over the smoker tube. Some cold smokers recommend ice cubes, which indeed may be better, but I’ve had satisfactory results with cold water. *I then place a short rack on the food grate over the foil as far as possible from the smoker to allow the smoke to circulate better underneath the cheese, though it is always the top surface which gets most of the smoke. On top of the rack I place a mesh mat only because I prefer my cheeses without grill marks. *I then lay the cheese blocks or preferably half-blocks on the mat. Remember: most of the smoke attaches to the surfaces of the cheese; the more surfaces, the more smoke taste. Thus, one 2-lb. block has six but two halves give you twelve (the smoke taste in the interior is more subtle). *Set the lid on the kettle with the exhaust vent directly over the cheese and clamp down with three two-inch paper clips to ensure an air-tight kettle. I suggest you have a few extra on hand. You do not want smoke escaping through a leaky lid—again, temperature control. *Open the top vent to 1/4 and the bottom vent to about the width of a pencil. Click image for larger version  Name:	20210529_183223.jpg Views:	0 Size:	4.16 MB ID:	1038278 Remember, you want minimum air flow into the kettle, only enough to keep the pellets burning and no more.
              After that, try to avoid fiddling with the vents (my past challenge). If your pellets have been well lit, you shouldn’t have to. I do monitor the temperature with a digital thermometer close to the cheese (I use a small potato because the food grate is covered with foil making it difficult to use a typical clip). Cheese smokers generally smoke between two and three hours. Of course, the longer the smoking, the more smoky the flavor. Another personal choice. I generally smoke for three hours. If in the last thirty minutes, say, you’re very close to 90 degrees, I close the bottom vent entirely. The tube will continue to smoke but the internal temperature will slowly cool. Regarding aging the smoked cheese, some smokers recommend it for the taste to mellow. I haven’t tried that so can’t comment but it does make sense. However, I can say that I have had taste tests with friends no more than a week after smoking. The comments have been uniformly very positive with some wanting to take the cheese home with them. Finally (whew!) some smokers recommend flipping the cheese half-way through so that both surfaces are evenly smoked. They are right. But with my lid-clamping method this is a bit of a hassle. I also don’t do it because the bottom of the cheese gets smoked well enough
              Apologies for the long posting. I do hope it’s been helpful. (Pictured cheeses, from left to bottom: pepperjack, mozzarella, cheddar, swiss.
              Last edited by Tom Ewing; May 30, 2021, 02:19 PM.

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