Lots of people have approached me asking how to smoke cheese and Yes, this is a “thing”. If you are a cheese lover, let me tell you that cold smoking cheese is one of the best and easiest ways to add amazing flavor to cheese.
In this article, we will guide you through the art of smoking cheese. From selecting the perfect cheese to mastering the smoking process, we’ve got you covered. Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering adventure!
Why Smoke Cheese?
Smoking cheese is an excellent way to add depth and complexity to its flavor profile. The process infuses the cheese with a smoky essence that complements its natural creaminess, elevating it to new heights. Smoked cheese can be enjoyed on its own, used in various recipes, or served as a delightful addition to a cheese platter.
If own a pellet grill or a charcoal grill this process turns into a fun project. Simply choose your favorite smoking chips flavor or smoking pellets and let the wood smoke do the work. I use hickory and oak a lot when smoking cheese.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Smoke Cheese
1. Selecting the Right Cheese
Not all cheeses are suitable for smoking. Hard cheeses like cheddar, gouda, or provolone work exceptionally well due to their low moisture content. However, feel free to experiment with different types of cheese to find your personal favorites. I love smoking cheddar because I can get it to melt just enough to let the smoke penetrate and then it hardens nicely when it cools.
2. Prepping the Cheese
Before the smoking process, ensure your cheese is properly prepared. Cut it into smaller blocks or slices to minimize the surface area. This will help the smoke and flavors penetrate the cheese better and also reach temperature easier. A large block of cheese will take too long to absorb heat and smoke flavor.
3. Choosing the Smoking Method
There are two common methods for smoking cheese: cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking is ideal for preserving the cheese’s texture, while hot smoking adds a bolder, more robust smoke flavor. Depending on your preference, choose the method that suits you best.
Cold smoking happens at lower temperatures and will not completely melt the cheese. This helps preserve the cheese’s original flavor and texture, not reducing its mass, oils, and other components.
4. Preparing the Smoker
If you’re using a pellet smoker, make sure to preheat the smoker to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit and then bring it down to about 150 degrees. Make sure you have good quality wood for smoking, such as apple, cherry, oak, or hickory. These woods provide a mellow smoke flavor that pairs perfectly with cheese.
5. Controlling the Temperature
Maintaining a low and consistent temperature is crucial to prevent the cheese from melting. Aim for temperatures between 65°F and 100°F if cold smoking, but for cheese, I like to stay closer to the 100-degree mark. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature throughout the smoking process.
6. Smoking Time
Smoking time can vary depending on how much flavor you want to infuse in the cheese. For cold smoking, a few 1 to two should be enough, while hot smoking may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Remember, patience is key when it comes to achieving the perfect balance of smoke and cheese flavors.
7. Resting and Storage
After smoking, let the cheese rest for at least a few minutes to allow the flavors and oils to settle. Once rested, tightly wrap the cheese in wax paper or vacuum-sealed bags and refrigerate. Allow it to age for at least for a few days to allow flavors to fully develop.
However, you can also slice it and serve the cheese the same day. Nothing wrong with that!
When smoking cheese, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of smoke.
- Avoid exposing the cheese to direct heat, as it can cause melting and alter the texture.
- Use food-safe wood chips, free from any chemicals or additives.
- Maintain a clean and sanitized smoking environment to prevent contamination.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of how to smoke cheese, it’s time to gather your ingredients and embark on your culinary journey. Enjoy the smoky goodness and impress your friends and family with your newfound skills. Happy smoking!