Having perfectly smoked cheese is one of the most amazing culinary experiences that a person can have. If you own a restaurant, you can actually charge higher for serving amazing smoked cheese and people would love to have it!
If you are a cheese-lover, and if you own a smoker because you are an enthusiast who loves to prefer to smoke their food, then you must have come across the thought of finding out ways how to smoke cheese.
If you have thought about smoking some cheese but had trouble getting it well, then you must follow some tips and tricks to enjoying smoked cheese. You can smoke cheese on any grill or any smoker you have.
Infusion of flavors while smoking cheese:
Many people prefer to infuse some flavor of smoke into all kinds of cheese. The thumb rule for a perfectly smoked cheese is that the softer the cheese, usually the less time it takes to get smoked. Vice versa, the harder the cheese, the longer it takes to smoke.
Recipe to smoke cheese on a grill:
Ingredients: Cheese of any type, some wood chips, and hardwood lumps, icebox, some ice cubes, aluminum pans in alternating cases.
Cooking/grilling/smoking Time: 1-3 hours
Special instructions for grilling and smoking cheese in the summers:
You can choose any form of cheese, be it in slabs or slices. You can smoke any type of cheese, such as cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, etc.
Remember, if you are going to smoke cheese in summer when the temperatures soar up to 75-82 degrees, then you must put the cheese that you are going to smoke in the icebox. Make sure to put it in the bottom of the icebox or put it in the freezer and let it chill for about 20 minutes.
We do this because in hot temperatures things seem to happen faster and if the cheese is melting, it will lose some of its structure and will be difficult to properly smoke.
Building a woodsy, aromatic smoke for the cheese:
The next step is to get your favorite wood chips. Do not use a lot of wood chunks because you do not need a lot of fire. Don’t forget to soak the wood chips for a little while in the water. Mix this soaked wood with some hardwood lump, whether it is oak, or Mesquite, hickory, or any other form of wood from any fruit tree as well.
Many people like to combine different types of wood to give their cheese a good smoky flavor.
Now, start your grill and remember that you do not need a lot of heat, but you need to build a steady fire to produce a lot of cold smoke.
There are different ways you can make this work if you do not possess a particular smoker or a special grill for smoking cheese.
In such cases, you need some aluminum pans that you can use to regulate the heat and make it even. You can even use two pans where you can stack one of them to block that little heat you have managed to build from the bottom.
The main point is that you need to let your cheese stay a little further away from the directly scorching heat.
You can use any old dish or pan for this purpose with a wired rack on top of it for your cheese so that it is able to raise off a bit and keep the cheese sightly away from direct heat.
Starting to smoke cheese and some important heat and smoke dynamics:
When the hardwood lumps are ready to go and start crackling, just take out the cheese from the icebox or the freezer. Now is the time that you start creating smoke but not a whole lot of heat with fire and a cold reservoir.
Add some soaked wood chips along with hardwood lumps in the already burning wood-fire and start grilling your cheese to have a perfectly smoked flavor with all the fruity and woodsy essence in it.
You can shut the lid of your grill now but let the vents of the grill be opened so that too much heat does not accumulate and yet the smoke inside gets enough time to circulate easily around your cheese to enrich it with all the smokiness necessary for a perfectly smoked cheese.
If the heat is appropriate and the smoke is perfect, then you can keep the lid closed and leave your smoking cheese for an hour or so.
The smoking time of various types of cheese:
For different types of cheese, the smoking time is different. For cheddar cheese, you can get it done in an hour, but for mozzarella cheese, you probably need two hours. For pepper jack cheese, the time may increase up to two and a half hours.
Important directions while the cheese is smoking on a grill:
Remember not to leave your smoking cheese unattended. Keep an eye on it regardless of its time requirement and check it after an hour for sure.
When you open the lid of the grill at this point, you may notice the diminishing smoke capacity. By that time, the edges of your cheese may have gotten smoked, but you will see water trickling down the cheese too. It is because you have been using fire and ice side by side to smoke your cheese.
To get some more smoke, you will have to add a little more ice in the cold reservoir at this time.
Also, turn your cheese so that it gets a good color as well as evenly distributed smoke all over its surfaces.
Softer cheese will be done quicker than a harder cheese like mozzarella cheese. You will have to keep checking it to ensure that it gets soft enough that all the smoke penetrates through it.
Throughout the process, you will have to keep an eye on the heat and smoke and add wood chunks whenever necessary.
Once your cheese that has been smoking for 1-3 hours is done with a perfect new tinge of smokiness, you know that it is ready to be taken out of the grill. You can slice it now and eat it.
Tackling the smoked cheese once it is out of the grill:
Cooling off the smoked cheese and chilling it for some extra smoked goodness:
Cheese experts suggest that you should let your smoked cheese set for at least six hours or overnight in an icebox. This will help to lock in all that smoky flavor and will just make your smoked cheese even better.
Do not put the smoked cheese directly into the icebox though. Put it in a zip-lock bag and let it cool off a bit at room temperature to prevent your smoked cheese from getting all the condensation.
Recipe to smoke cheese on an electric smoker:
Ingredients: Approximately 2 blocks or slabs of 200 grams of Cheese of any type.
Special Equipment: Wood chunks and chips from Apple, Cherry, or any other tree, Charcoal briquettes.
Cooking/smoking time: Up to 4 hours
Directions and Special Instructions for a perfect smoked cheese:
- First of all, you have to set the temperature of your electric smoker at somewhere below 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You must make sure that your electric smoker’s temperature does not go above this temperature as it can melt the cheese away, and we do not want that!
- The next step is to create cold smoke. You will put your cheese on your electric smoker’s grates, and then light three charcoal briquettes in the charcoal pan or the firebox of your electric smoker.
- Above your charcoal briquettes, you have to lay flat chunks of wood. This will help build the smoke that we require.
- You must ensure that a little space or vent for proper airflow is available to keep the charcoal briquettes burning. Replace them or the chunks of wood as deemed necessary.
- Once this fire is built and the desired temperature has been achieved, you can then put all the blocks or slabs of cheese onto the grate.
- Keep the cheese on the grate of your electric smoker for as long as 4 hours.
- Once done, take out your perfectly smoked cheese from the grate of your electric smoker and after cooling it a bit, put it in a plastic zip-lock bag.
- You can store this smoked cheese for up to 15 days in your fridge to let the smoked cheese get mature. This is to ensure that the smoke penetrates and gets locked into the cheese
- Waiting for this long will also make the smoke flavor go a little mellow and more delicious. But you can still eat your smoked cheese before that if it is hard for you to wait. However, the smoked flavor in your cheese will be a little on the bitter side if you do not let it mature over the period of 2 weeks at least.