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 Smoked cheese made easy

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Shadowcrunch
Journeyman
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Posts : 902
Join date : 2011-06-23
Age : 41
Location : Wisconsin, USA

PostSubject: Smoked cheese made easy   Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:30 pm

I took some pics last summer to help demonstrate and illustrate the process I found for making smoked cheese. When I recently stuck some fresh batteries in the ol' camera, I found the pics. Now, I will explain in simple form the multi-page process I read for making smoked cheese! Before I begin, I will mention when I first began researching the how-tos of smoking cheese, I discovered that MOST smoked cheese you find in the stores are chemically flavored with fake smoke flavor...and the grill lines are not real either. Think about it. How would one grill a block of cheese and not have it falling through the cracks?! That said, many sources of info stated that real, homemade smoked cheese will NOT taste like any smoked cheese you've ever had. They were right.

First, I will explain some basics of the smoker and set-up.
This is my smoker. It was selected from a book of free gifts available to me for being with my current employer for 5 years. Yay. But YAY...smoked food!!! Okay, the very bottom (under the metal ring about 6 inches below the door) is the charcoal holder and fire section. If you were going to smoke some kind of meat for hours on end, you would FILL this section (about 1/3 of a 20 pound bag of charcoal). For cheese, we do NOT want the fire that hot! I put anywhere from 10-15 charcoal brickettes (cuz small bricks should not have a 'Q') in the bottom.

I'm getting ahead of myself! About one hour before you start the fire...take your cheese blocks out of the wrappers and set out on a counter top. You want the blocks of cheese to form a semi-firm outer skin. About a half hour before lighting the fire, take your store bought wood chips and put them in something with water so they can absorb enough moisture to put out good smoke.

NOW...once your cheese gets a little layer, go back to the above paragraph, make a little pile of charcoal brickettes, soak them with fluid, and fire them up! Per normal, wait a while until the bricks are ready.


Okay, in this pic you can't really see where the temperature arrow is. On this model of smoker you have three temperature ranges: Warm, Ideal, and Hot. You want your fire to max out on the high side of warm...trying to keep it low but still burning. Throw your wet wood chips on the coals, and wait a few minutes to ensure you get some decent smoke output.

Now the fun part. Get out one of those disposable foil pans...the deep round ones. Or get more than one if you're doing multiple blocks of cheese. Because there is some melting, I'm not sure how putting two blocks of cheese in one would work for flavor. So, put your block of cheese in there, and surround it with ICE. Yes, the cold, frozen water type. Put the pan with cheese and ice on the top rack in the smoker and close the lid.

After about 10 minutes, or earlier if your heat got a little out of control, check your ice. By now the ice should be about half melted. Dump the water. Because the cheese that was underwater didn't get as much smoke flavor, flip the cheese. Add more ICE, and throw the lid back on. Toss your coals, and if needed, throw more wood chips on.

Repeat this for about a half hour, then knife off a little sliver of cheese to test the flavor. If it's good enough, then you're done. If you want more smoke flavor, keep repeating the process. You might even have to reload your charcoal. Some of the resource sites I referenced went so far as to smoke their cheese blocks upwards of three hours!


Look at it...just LOOK AT IT!!! Homemade smoked cheese! Can't remember if this was the cheddar or colby. I have also done swiss. All three blocks were about this size. According to those resource sites, pretty much any cheese is smokeable with this process, and of course your choice of wood will make a big difference in the taste. I used apple wood for all three cheeses...it's what we had for doing chicken, and it tends to give a sweetness to the smoke flavor. These same smoker-related sites also list cherry or maple as good woods for natural flavors with sweetness. Personally, I'm looking forward to trying some mesquite on cheddar, and maybe a pepper jack. There's a lot of combinations to try, so if you try any, let me know how they turn out!

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