04-28-2015, 01:38 PM
#1
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I'm by no means a cheese smoking expert, heck it's only my second time.  I've done a bit of reading, looking at pics and taking direction from some Smoking Guru's and have had two successful smokes now.

The Naked Whiz has a great tutorial and the one I based my first smoke with.  I found I did have to add some wood every 30 minutes or so, or else it would not be smoking.  I've read various reports ranging from 1hr to 6hr, depending on how much smoke you want.  When I did 2 hrs the first time, it seemed smokey enough, without being overpowering.

My first batch was with Apple and has tasted great on Grilled Cheese, Burgers, Dogs, Crackers or by itself.  Today I smoked some with with Cherry, using Mild Cheddar, Medium Cheddar and Mozzarella.  No cheese was harmed during the making of this smoked cheese.

Anyways, here is my step-by-step, using Lump Charcoal and a Vision Ceramic Grill.  

Gather the tools, cheese, wood chips etc, waiting for temp to hit 80-90*:
[Image: IMG_20150428_113917_Large.jpg]


Light the coals and let sit until hot:
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Place small amount of wood on hot coals:
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Ice Pan and Heat Deflector in place:
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Place cheese on wire rack, over ice pan:
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Make sure vents are set for 80-100*:
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Temp is holding steady:
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Ready to be removed after about 2hrs of smoking:
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Wipe down any cheese sweat and let rest for a couple hours:
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Bagged & Tagged.  Hopefully it can age in the fridge for a few weeks before we eat it all:
[Image: Packed_Large_1.jpg]

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 04-28-2015, 03:10 PM
#2
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I've done it that way, but, and I won't mince words, it's a royal PITA.

I tried an A-maze-N pellet smoker and it works fantastically. The heat generated is so low one could smoke in a cardboard box and not in a cooker.

BTW, other than being a retail customer, no affiliation at all with them.

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 04-28-2015, 04:21 PM
#3
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I've never seen those but am going to look into them.  Seems they can work in conjunction with Charcoal or Gas Grills etc.  I was thinking they were gimmicky, but appears they are legit.  

Tasty either way probably.  Store bought smoked cheese can't compete.

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 04-29-2015, 01:49 AM
#4
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Nice! Have you tried Gouda yet?

One of my local pizzerias has a pie called "Smokin' Grandma" -- the "Grandma" style (think lighter-weight Sicilian squares) with smokzed mozzarella.

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 04-29-2015, 03:56 AM
#5
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(04-29-2015, 01:49 AM)Rory1262 Wrote: Nice! Have you tried Gouda yet?

One of my local pizzerias has a pie called "Smokin' Grandma" -- the "Grandma" style (think lighter-weight Sicilian squares) with smokzed mozzarella.

not yet, but it's on the list.

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 04-29-2015, 07:16 AM
#6
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(04-28-2015, 04:21 PM)Bruce Wrote: I've never seen those but am going to look into them.  Seems they can work in conjunction with Charcoal or Gas Grills etc.  I was thinking they were gimmicky, but appears they are legit.  

Tasty either way probably.  Store bought smoked cheese can't compete.

I use a ceramic as well.

I would never knowingly lead someone astray. I assure you they are quite legit and they work very nicely. But they do put out some heat that rises directly up from the smoldering pellets. Be sure to use a heat shield between the "fire" and the cheese. I've smoked cheese for a full maze worth of pellets even in the summer with no ice trays or other rigmarole. Of course if you wish to put ice in the cooker you still can.  If one wants to shorten the smoking time but still wants a lot of smoke flavor both ends can be lit. You won't need much draft in the cooker at all.

I also use it to smoke gravlax.

Store bought smoked cheese... The closest it comes to seeing smoke is the cheese makers cigarette stained fingers. It gets dipped into flavor and caramel color.

If you want your smoked cheese to have a better color, and a more "mature" flavor wrap it and freeze it for a time. I find a minimum of a month and, well, there is no maximum if it's vacuum sealed. The smoked swiss that I'm currently eating is as dark as the fake stuff from the supermarket. I think it's been in the freezer for a bit over a year. It was no where near that color immediately after coming out of the cooker, it was quite pale. I have no idea what the chemistry is that happens as the cheese is in the freezer at -20°F. I only know that it does happen. The cheese could be smelled and tasted as having been smoked, but the smoke could barely be seen when freshly out of the smoke. To allow me to age it I make 10 -15# at a time. My favorite is swiss, but gouda should also be good. Cheeses that one would think would be good I don't really care for , Monterey Jack, Meunster, and Cheddar I just don't care for, but I know that others do. That's with apple smoke; maybe other smoke would be good on them for my taste buds.

You can see how the smoke also penetrated the cheese.

[Image: DSC04239_zpsrrybqqrd.jpg]

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 04-29-2015, 08:00 AM
#7
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Awesome Brian, thanks for the tips and recommendations. I had also read about the store smoked cheese and how it is basically just liquid chemical smoke, no thanks.

I've already started looking at the A-maze-N smoke tube and pellets. I'll likely end up getting one and pick it up on my next USA road trip, to save shipping and taxes etc.

Per your recommendation, I'm going to stick one of each of yesterdays smoke cheeses in the freezer and the other is in the fridge, to compare when it is time to eat.

Oh yeah, that cheese of yours looks incredible. Nicely done.

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 04-29-2015, 12:52 PM
#8
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I don't have the tube. I know nothing about that product. I have the SS maze type. I strongly suspect that the tube type will generate more heat, but I don't know that from experience.

In my Primo, with lump charcoal, I use wood chunks as you probably do in your ceramic. They just work better in it for low and slows; I got rid of my gasser after tasting my first high temp seared steak. I also cut my smoking wood from my own forest. So for me, the tube was a non issue.  (BTW, never use green cherry- it's bitter- but cured for a time it's fine.)

IMO, you want a long duration smoke to allow it to penetrate. Again, that's speculation; but based on experience. The shortest duration cold smoke I use is ~5 hours. That's if I light both ends of the maze seen below, or just fill it half full. With the maze there is that option. Again, I know nothing of the tube.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>This is what I have<<<<<<<<<<

I very much doubt that the idea is patentable (check the site- I didn't) so you might be able to make one or get one made in the local High School metal shop if you know a student. The expanded metal is SS. I could absolutely make my own, but some things just aren't worth the time expenditure. The key is to keep it away from heat absorbers, that means to elevate it away from the heavy duty fire grate. The fire doesn't put out much heat and if heat is stolen from the smoldering fire it'll go out. In my own experiments I was so incredibly close to making my own a-maze-n smoker. Amazingly close. I figured out most of it. Then I saw the commercial version already on the market.

Please be sure to let me know how you like the cheese after it has time to "age" even it's only by PM.   Biggrin  OK, I don't know what to call it... "age"? That makes no sense since it's in the freezer which pretty much halts aging. But it definitely undergoes something. I'm going to use the word "mature" and even that doesn't work IMO; I'm open to suggestions and welcome them. Anyway lots of us have discovered the same phenomenon and we mature our smoked cheese for a minimum of a month; longer being better.

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 04-29-2015, 01:15 PM
#9
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Thanks again Brian, very helpful info.

I've always stayed with hot smokes and am just expanding into cold smokes. Yes, I always use lump and wood chunks.

I've heard good things about both the maze and the tube so will have to research and/or send them an email to see what they'd recommend for my needs and cooker.

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