I have been consumed lately with the desire to smoke some cheese on my classic. It just seems that everywhere I have been reading the last little while, someone has been talking about grilling cheese. I do not have a smoker tube or maze yet (that will probably be my next grilling purchase, but need to wait and see what Santa has in the presents first), but I got to wondering if it is possible to cold smoke without one. So here is my setup: just a small amount of charcoal, in a string, with a few apple chunks on top. The plan was to light the one end, and the chunks would slowly burn around my half circle. I had the vents almost closed, just a sliver open. Didn't start out too bad, I was holding grate temp right at 90, but after about half hour the fire was almost dead. I was forced to open the grates a little more, and the grate temp went to 120. That was about as low as I could hold it, so I just put a big pan of ice under the cheese. The smoke wasn't as clean as I would have liked, probably due to very little air circulation. After about three hours I pulled the cheese off and left it sit, then wiped it gently and bagged it. I just sliced a piece after a week and half of fridge time. The swiss is really good, the cheddar is o.k., but I probably should have gotten sharp instead of mild. Would I do this again? Probably not, I think the smoke tube is worth waiting on, but this did turn out better than I expected.
On a Restaurant Depot run to pick up a packer brisket and other supplies, a 5 lb bag of beautiful large fresh poblano peppers and a 5 lb chub of 'mild' Mexican Chorizo somehow managed along with some cheeses to jump into the cart – well assisted by my son and I in making that leap.
This is what we (well my son anyway, as he was lead chef on the meal) prepared from those fixings:
I blistered the poblano peppers on Big Joe over direct heat and then steamed them in a covered bowl. Next was peeling and seeding. Since we were going for a casserole rather than stuffed, the peppers were slit open to seed – much easier that way.
2.5 pounds of the chorizo was browned in a pan with the largest poblano chopped up for extra flavor, plus diced bell pepper, chopped onions and some garlic. We had not used this chorizo before ( La Paloma brand ) and we really liked the flavors of the sausage.
The peppers, meat mixture, Chihuahua and Queso Fresco cheeses along with some sharp cheddar were layered in the greased Lodge 7.5 qt dutch oven. A topping of cheddar and queso was the final addition – with the cheddar acting as the melting cheese to bind the queso as the topping browned.
The dish was baked, uncovered and indirect, on Joe at 375 degrees with application of mesquite wood smoke for about 35 minutes – until it looked and smelled just right.
Served with a simple side salad. Delicious for dinner and quite filling. These particular poblanos has just the right "heat" level to pair with the mild but flavorful chorizo.
The casserole reheated was great for breakfast the next morning, too!
Here's an update and revision on an old favorite of mine!
Kamado Joe Smoked Buffalo Mac & Cheese
2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles (cooked to package instructions)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) salted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (more for topping)
Barbecue Rub for topping
Plain Panko Bread Crumbs for topping
Preheat your grill for indirect cooking to 375°F.
Cook macaroni noodles per package instructions and drain. Return to stock pot. Add the butter, milk, eggs, hot sauce, minced onions, granulated garlic and 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mix completely. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle additional shredded cheddar cheese to cover the top of the macaroni. Sprinkle on some of your favorite barbecue rub. Cover the top with plain panko bread crumbs. Cook on the grill for 45-55 minutes or until sufficiently browned on top. Cool for a few minutes and serve HOT!