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Smoked Cheese - it's that time!


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The cool days of winter are perfect for cold smoking cheese.  Every year at this time I smoke a big batch of cheddar.  It will be well aged by the time I give them as gifts for next Christmas. 

 

I start a small pile of lump in a grill that is not used for the cheese.  Once it's going well I place about 3 smaller pieces on HD foil and cover with a large handful of chips.  Then wrap it up so it resembles a Hershey kiss with a small opening at the top.  Lay that in the bottom of the grill for the cheese.  Place the rack in, open the vents and place the cheese in.  You should have a steady wisp of smoke but not massive billows.  I usually leave the cheese in for 10 to 15 minutes.  

 

I found hickory to pair very well with sharp cheddar.   I like to use herbs and spices on the cheese before I vaccum seal it for aging.  This year I did 3 varieties and I can't wait to try them.  Black pepper is a regular and this year I tried crushed red pepper and caraway seed as an experiment. 

 

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This was 5 pounds of tillamook sharp cheddar. 

 

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Finished caraway seed.

 

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Crushed red pepper.

 

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Black pepper.

 

Don't miss the chance this winter and try it!

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Does the cheese get soft enough for the seasonings to get embedded, or is it just the vacuum seal pressing them in? Also, how long do you age the cheese?

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38 minutes ago, jark87 said:

Does the cheese get soft enough for the seasonings to get embedded, or is it just the vacuum seal pressing them in? Also, how long do you age the cheese?

I let the cheese set on the counter for a bit because I don't want moisture on the surface so it warms a bit.  The smoke is cold and the temp inside the smoker is close to ambient so it doesn't really soften.  That's what you want and why winter is a great time to do this.

 

The seasoning will adhere very well to the cheese but some will come off when you cut it.  I expect that the red pepper flakes where they heavily overlap one another to fall off (no contact with the cheese).  I press it on as I apply it.

 

I let it age at least 3 months although I might sample a new variety after 2 months.  6 mounts or more is better in my opinion but some folks will tell you that a few weeks is good enough.  It really comes down to personal preference but if you sample it too soon it may resemble an ashtray.  This is why I carefully select my wood and smoke it as described above.  Heavy smoke for very long will make it extremely strong, the cheese takes up the smoke very well.

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2 hours ago, UTVol said:

Love the ideas with the toppings, I'm going to have to try that.  Do you refrigerate or freeze until next Christmas?

I just lose it in the back of the beer fridge.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/11/2022 at 9:51 PM, Rob_grill_apprentice said:

I usually smoke cheese for about 1 &1/2 hours to 2 hours.    I have never thought of putting toppings on before vacuum sealing.  

I am curious what your setup is, I feel like if I did it for 2 hours I wouldn't be able to eat it but I'm certain that depends on the volume and concentration of the smoke.  

 

Adding the spices before sealing is a great way to add unique variety.  Course black pepper is a winner in my book and I couldn't wait and sampled the crushed red pepper.  Very tasty and I will be adding that to the regular rotation.

 

 

On 1/12/2022 at 3:51 PM, adm said:

I have never thought about vac packing it after smoking it and letting it age more. 

 

I will have to try that. And the adding extra flavourings idea....

It's definitely worth packing it up and letting it age for some time.  Try adding some spices while you are at it. 

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23 hours ago, philpom said:

I am curious what your setup is, I feel like if I did it for 2 hours I wouldn't be able to eat it but I'm certain that depends on the volume and concentration of the smoke.  

 

Adding the spices before sealing is a great way to add unique variety.  Course black pepper is a winner in my book and I couldn't wait and sampled the crushed red pepper.  Very tasty and I will be adding that to the regular rotation.

 

 

It's definitely worth packing it up and letting it age for some time.  Try adding some spices while you are at it. 

I use A-MAZE-N  inside my Kamado.  I use deflector plates to ensue indirect.   What I like about the A-MAZE-N is I can smoke multiple batches of cheese.    Once I am done I can move pellets which haven’t burn to stop the burning in the A-MAZN-N.  I prefer this of the tubes.   I allow one day to rest in refrigerator wrapped in cheese paper before Vacuum sealing.     

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