Are you thinking of the perfect complementary dish to your picnic meal? It’s cold smoked cheese! Its rich nutty taste, which imparts an earthy flavor, works with anything on the menu and is still delicious when eaten alone.
Although there are different types of smoked cheese, this article will focus on cold smoked cheese. Read our blog, and you’ll never have to buy pre-smoked store cheese again!
The first question that pops into one’s head is: what kind of cheese can we cold smoke? Or what is the best cheese to cold smoke? Well, you’re in the right place!
If you are new to smoking cheese, we recommend you try smoking cheddar or gouda. We say this because the softer the cheese is, the more mess it creates as it melts very quickly, and they tend to absorb too much of the smoke and lose flavour. And that would be the last thing any of us would want.
This is why we recommend using harder cheese for smoking them, which we will consider in detail for this article covering how to cold smoke cheese. Cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, and pepper jack are some popular cheese types used for smoking cheese.
Cold Smoking Recipes
Before starting the actual cold smoking process, we recommend taking some factors into account, which have been listed below:
First, we highly discourage smoking cheese on a day when temperatures exceed 15 C (60 F) since this will cause your cheese to melt even before you start smoking it, especially if you hope to cool your cheese without using a cold smoker.
Secondly, to allow the smoke to penetrate through entire blocks of cheese, peel or cut off the rind and cut it into smaller wedges. However, divide the cheese into large pieces if you prefer a crisp, smoky skin with a velvety inside.
Bring your cheese to room temperature before cold smoking and wipe off any condensation from its skin. When smoked, frozen cheese tends to lose its grains and quality, along with its colour and taste, due to the built-up moisture and condensation.
When learning how to cold smoke cheese, it is also necessary to learn the best firewood. For tender cheeses, we prefer using applewood or pecan. The best firewood is hickory or oak for gouda or cheddar, which are generally tougher.
An important point to remember is to monitor the grill smoker’s temperature at close intervals. It is vital to keep it below 90 F. Otherwise, your cheese will begin melting, or moisture will form on its surface.
This one may seem obvious; however, it is critical to flip your cheese regularly. This will allow the smoke to penetrate through the cheese evenly. Turning the cheese every 15-30 minutes will accomplish this task perfectly.
In terms of the smoke, it is best to add wood chips here and there, which will help to maintain a constant light smoke with an uninterrupted stream.
Step 1: Arrange the Cheese
You can place the cheese directly on the smoker’s grates or put a rack on top of it where you lay the cheese wedges. Place them such that there is enough area to allow the smoke to flow through and touch each side of the cheese blocks.
Step 2: Igniting the Smoker
On to the fun part, light up your smoking tube and ensure no stray sparks or flames around it since it is only the cheese vital for the smoking process. Once it forms an unbroken stream of smoke, place your cheese onto the smoker’s grates.
Step 3: Smoking the Cheese
Now, shut the smoker’s lid and let the some do its magic!
Allow it to sit for 2-3 hours, after which it should have a tint of brown, which indicates that the cheese is done with the smoking part of how to cold-smoke cheese process.
Step 4: Refrigerating
Remove the cheese from the grates and allow it to cool down for a while. Then, to let your cheese breathe for a while, wrap it lightly in wax or parchment paper and put it in your refrigerator for a day.
Once this period is complete, place the wedges in plastic zip lock bags to create a vacuum, and refrigerate them for at least two weeks. This gives the smoke time to delve deeper into the cheese and become more mellow.
Video Guide How To Cold Smoke Cheese
Frequently Asked Questions
How long to smoke cheese?
As mentioned above, the smoking process itself takes only around 2-3 hours. However, the time taken for refrigerating is at least a week or two after smoking the cheese. This causes the smoke to melt into the cheese and develops a richer taste.
If you consume the cheese any time before, that will give you a smoky taste, while on the flip side, you get a tasty addition to any of your favourite meals.
The wait may test your patience, but the results are definitely worth it!
What temperature to smoke your cheese at?
The ideal temperature to cold smoke your cheese at would be below its melting point. The average cheese begins to liquefy at 90 F (32 C), so we suggest you keep the internal temperature of your cold smoke grill below that to prevent the cheese from melting on the grates and causing unwanted clutter.
And if you think the temperature of the cold smoking process could be affected by the weather conditions, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! All you need are ice pans! These keep the median temperature of the smoker and the weather from interfering with preparing cold-smoked cheese.
What kind of smoke should be used?
As indicated earlier, light and unbroken stream of smoke is preferred for cold-smoking cheese. To keep it constant, you can keep adding a few chips of wood to your burner now and then.
What is the best way to store cold-smoked cheese?
There are different opinions on how to store cold-smoked cheese; nevertheless, we always choose to store our cold-smoked cheese in a vacuum and then place them in the refrigerator. This allows the cheese to maintain its texture which would otherwise crumble.
What can I eat cold-smoked cheese with?
Cold-smoked cheese is the ideal side of your favorite snacks or appetizers. You could add it to pasta, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, and much more. Not only does it complement and embellish every meal it accompanies, but it can also always be enjoyed on its own!
How do I check the temperature of my cold-smoke grill?
Use a probe thermometer! There are several available on platforms such as Amazon that you can insert into the cheese itself and check its internal temperature. Remember not to let it exceed the defined threshold, that is, 90 F (32 C).
What fuel do I use to cold-smoke cheese?
A fine smoking tube and a bunch of wood pellets are our go-to’s for cold-smoking cheese. Regardless, there are several kinds of fuels, such as woodchips, hay, straw, and sawdust, that you can pick from.
Attaining a constant stream of smoke becomes much easier with a smoking tube and wood pellets that keep the smoke going for hours on end.
In a nutshell, cold-smoking cheese is an easy-to-follow process and provides delicious results that suit all kinds of cuisines. We hope you found this article useful and answered all of your cold-smoking queries. Thank you for reading it to the end.