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Unread 01-03-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
khs282
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Default Smoked Cheese

My brother just got a pellet pooper and I am heading to his place this weekend. We are going to be smoking cheeses. I have a couple questions. How long should it take? What recommendations do you have for the best smoked cheeses? Swiss? Cheddar? Blue etc? Specifically, need recommendations as to what people like in Pastrami sammies? Thanks for the recommendations!
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Unread 01-03-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
Pyrotech
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A cold smoker is one of my projects for his year. I have been using a combination of smoked swiss and smoked chedder on my burgers.

I want to try my hand at cold smoking cheese, have a few ideas...
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Unread 01-03-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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I enjoy smoking cheese on my pellet pooper. My favorite cheese is cheddar. For pastrami most people prefer Swiss. As far as timing I try and smoke it for at least an hour. The big thing is to keep the temp as low as possible. I won a Mak grill. The smoker box on it is usually 100 degrees colder than the main box. Some people have used ice in the smoker to keep the temp down. As far as pellets everybody has their favorite. I like hickory. I would stay away from Mesquite. Too harsh a flavor for the mildness of cheese. IMO, Good luck with it.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 01:32 PM   #4
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If you can keep your pit temp super low, and use a very gentle source of smoke.... your smoke times will be between 2 and 6 hours. It's best to sample small slivers along the way to determine the flavor you like best.

You might look into the tin can and soldering iron method, or try lighting one briquette and adding some chips around that. You can even consider putting a tray of ice cubes below the rack where the cheese is, this will cool down the smoke.

I would try two kinds first.... cheddar and pepper jack. This will give you a broad range of back flavor to go with the smoke flavor you will add. I have tried many, many brands and my current favorite is Tillamook. I prefer the extra sharp cheddar (black label) in either the white or yellow, it's about $3 more per brick than their regular cheddar, but worth it.

I have found that Colby won't take smoke as easily as cheddar or jack. I'm not a big fan of smoked swiss, but I do smoke some for friends. Most of the soft cheeses come out good, you just have to watch the temp. And speaking of temp, you can always smoke it for an hour, move to the fridge for a couple of hours, then return to the smoker....

Try and find a grate screen to set your cheeses on, or you can lay out cheese cloth on your grate too.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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Nothing wrong with a nice applewood smoked Gouda
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Unread 01-03-2013, 02:33 PM   #6
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Cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, colby....whatever I find on sale is what goes in the smoker. I usually give them an hour an a half-2 hrs. Then, wrap and tuck away in the fridge for a week or 2.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daninnewjersey View Post
Cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, colby....whatever I find on sale is what goes in the smoker. I usually give them an hour an a half-2 hrs. Then, wrap and tuck away in the fridge for a week or 2.
Looks delicious. Will have to try pepper jack. I think I will try Gouda and Swiss too.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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I just did my second batch of cheese 0n 12/30. Had Cheddar, Meunster, Co-Jack, Mozarella, Chipotle Gouda, and Chile Lime Gouda. I have an A-Maze-N smoker (the kind that uses dust and not pellets), it doesnt produce large amounts of smoke but doesnt produce a lot of heat either. Keeping it under 90 degrees so the cheese doesnt melt was not an issue as temperatures on a 45 degree day never broke 70 degrees in the smoker. I smoked for 4hrs with hickory and plan on aging it for a minimum of 2 weeks but probably going to try for 3-4 weeks.

My first go at it was 2 blocks of cheddar, that I smoked for 4 hrs with hickory and let it age for 2 weeks on the 1st block and 3 weeks on the second block. Both turned out great but the one I aged 3 weeks was definitely much better than the 2 week cheese.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
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Do yourself a favor and buy some cheese wax ahead of time. Its real simple to wax the cheese and really helps keep the flavor in and it will increase the shelf life greatly.
It's easily found on the internet on cheese making supply sites.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 07:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Do yourself a favor and buy some cheese wax ahead of time. Its real simple to wax the cheese and really helps keep the flavor in and it will increase the shelf life greatly.
It's easily found on the internet on cheese making supply sites.
Is there a benefit to using cheese wax over vacuum sealing it?
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Unread 01-03-2013, 07:26 PM   #11
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My own favorites are Swiss, Havarty, and Gouda. I just finished eating some home smoked Gouda a few minutes ago. Start with a high-quality cheese, whatever you choose.

I only smoke cheese when it is really cold outside, so my cheese does not melt even a little bit. I use the tin can and soldering iron smoke generator in my WSM.

It does not take long to smoke cheese. 60 to 90 minutes will do the job. But, you need to wrap it up and let it sit in the fridge for at least a few days, or better yet, a week or two, before eating it. The smoke flavor needs to mellow out. If you eat it fresh from the smoker, the smoke will overpower the cheese.

I vacuum seal my smoked cheese for a couple weeks.

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Unread 01-03-2013, 08:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khs282 View Post
Is there a benefit to using cheese wax over vacuum sealing it?
I've done it both ways and I believe there is. No sicentific evidence but I'm stickin with the wax. Besides the package looks nicer for gifting.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #13
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Since cold weather has hit New England this year, I have been cold smoking cheese in my 30 gallon uds. I usually get a handfull of coals cherried, then sprinkle handfuls of chips on them. Usually only takes me an hour to get a nice smoke flavor, but I do wrap in plastic wrap for a couple days to mellow smoke. I have really been into apple/cherry smoked gouda. And cheddar is always great too. Have fun.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 09:04 PM   #14
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I dont think weather will be a problem. Forecast temp on Saturday in MN is 20*
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Unread 01-03-2013, 09:08 PM   #15
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My first attempt at smoked cheese got just a bit hot at the end but the cheese still tasted good. My favorites are Sharp cheddar, Gouda,Colby-jack, I just tried some monteray jack. It is still aging in vac pack. After my first attempt with hot coals and wood chips, I built a smoke generator similar to a smoke daddy but mine has a adjustable air inlet at the bottom. Anyhow it worked very well and stayed below 70 degrees. It is a bit of a creasote mess to clean up after use. If the cheese taste good worth the effort. Good luck with your cheese.
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