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The Weekend Chef

Weekend Chef: How to Smoke Cheese

Posted 3:28pm on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

The Stock Show has come to town, which means cold weather is sure to follow. There is even another polar vortex in the forecast, although it is still a couple of weeks away. Normally smoking and grilling is the last thing you think of in cold weather, but for me it is the perfect time for cold smoking.

What is cold smoking? Pretty much what it sounds like, smoking something in your smoker or grill at a cool temp (usually under 90ºF) to add smoky flavor without cooking what you are smoking. That can be hard to do in these parts, especially during grilling season when the outside temp is already is already that high. But Stock Show weather makes it is a lot easier.

You just need something to generate smoke. If you have a smoker that has a smoke stack, you can run a dryer vent hose off the smoke stack to pipe the smoke to another container (a cardboard box will work) to make a cold smoker.

But I have found an easier way. I use a tube smoker made by A-MAZE-N products. It runs around $30 and can turn any grill into both a cold and hot smoker. It burns the same wood pellets that my pellet grill uses. You can buy pellets at Ace hardware, Academy Sports or sometimes at Costco.

So what is good cold smoked? Cheese and bacon come to mind, with cheese being very easy to smoke (if you are interested in making bacon check out my bacon story). The hardest part to smoking cheese is to keep the temp low so the cheese does not break down. No problem in a polar vortex.

I like smoking cheddar and Gouda, which hold up well to cold smoking. I smoke them for around 4 hours, checking every hour to make sure the cheese is not getting too hot and breaking down. I also smoked some Mozzarella, but being a softer cheese I smoked it for only 2 hours.

Before smoking I usually cut the cheese into single serving size blocks, then after smoking I will individually vacuum seal the blocks with my FoodSaver vacuum-sealer. Once vacuum-sealed the cheese should last a very long time. FoodSaver claims up to 8 months.

Smoked Cheese

Ingredients

Cheese, I used Cheddar, Gouda and Mozzarella

Cold smoking directions

Set your smoker or grill up for cold smoking. I am using a tube smoker made by A-MAZE-N products. It generates a lot of smoke with little heat and will work in any grill. When cold smoking you need to keep the temperature below 90ºF, so make sure it is cool outside.

Slice cheese into single serving size blocks.

Place cheese in smoker and let smoke 2 to 4 hours.

After smoking, vacuum seal the blocks with a FoodSaver vacuum-sealer and refrigerate.

Give the cheese 2 to 4 weeks to mellow before serving.

Be sure to check out the step-by-step pictures in the slideshow above the story.

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