The practice of smoking cheese, meat, or any food is nothing new. Thousands of years ago people started doing it as a way to conserve meat and other food as they didn’t have refrigerators, etc. But of course, the reasons and ways of smoking changed over time and nowadays we are doing it for pleasure more than anything else.
Considering we are living incredibly busy lives most of us find it most convenient to get food, including smoked goods, in the supermarket. Alternatively, we go to a restaurant, etc. But what if we told you that you can get, let’s say, smoked cheese in the comfort of your home? Plus, it doesn’t take nearly as much time and effort as you might think. Would you believe us?
Indeed we can see why it sounds like a fantasy! But, trust us, it isn’t. Of course, you need some knowledge and skills. Now, for many people, the idea of learning new skills seems like something that will take an enormous of their precious time. But with our help, it doesn’t have to be like that. And we’ll prove that, by sharing this little guide on how to smoke cheese!
Why Cheese is Smoked?
As we mentioned, in the past, people were smoking cheese to preserve it. These days we have other ways to preserve food, so you may be wondering why we are talking about ways to make smoked cheese. Smoking gives a wonderful flavor to food in general, cheese included. That especially stands if you really know how to smoke cheese and do it gently. Bear in mind that the cheese shouldn’t be overwhelmed by smoke. The goal should be to get subtle nuances of meaty, earthy flavor.
Although we have other ways to preserve food, cheese aficionados even today will tell you that smoking puts preservation on another level when it comes to cheese.
What is the Best Cheese for Smoking?
Are you wondering about the best cheese to smoke? In reality, you can smoke any cheese you like! The main thing is to make sure that it stays on the grate of a pellet or offset smoker. However, when you want to cold smoke cheese we recommend a harder type with a mild flavor. The problem with softer cheeses is that they can easily melt and create chaos in your pellet smoker. Besides, they quickly absorb the smoke which means that you can easily ruin them by overexposure to smoke.
Smoked Cheese Around the World
People worldwide love smoked cheese and there are many smoked cheese recipe variations. Now we are going to list some of the most popular varieties around the world.
- Fiore Sardo (Italy)
- Idiazabal (Spain)
- Gamonedo (Spain)
- Smoked Mozzarella (Italy)
- Smoked cheddar cheese
- Metsovone (Greece)
- Provola (Italy)
- Smoked Gouda (Many countries)
- Smokey Blue (the U.S)
How to Make Smoked Cheese at Home
Okay, now we are going to look at how to smoke cheese at home and the equipment you need. Keep in mind that it is best to pick a colder day when you want to know how to cold smoke cheese. It is essential because it enables you to easier maintain the cold temperature. Let’s see how do you smoke cheese!
- Smoker tube: It is used for cold smoking cheese with smoke tube that you fill with wood pellets or chips. It is simple to find it online.
- Smoker: Of course, you can smoke anything without a good smoker or grill. You can use charcoal, gas or electric machine. The only thing that matters is that it doesn’t generate heat but smoke instead.
- Wood chips: They are pretty simple to find both online and offline. Keep in mind that various types of wood give different flavors. If you are wondering about the best wood to smoke cheese we have to tell you that there isn’t a straightforward answer. For more robust cheese it is best to use wood with heavier flavor, like hickory. But with woods like cherry, you will not make a mistake regardless of the type of cheese. And of course, always remember to keep wood chips from burning in smoker!
- Thermometers: They are essential when you want to know the perfect temperature for preparing the food. Professional cooks use them even for simple tasks like boiling potatoes.
- Set up the smoker to cold smoke. You can use the tube or a cold smoke generator.
- Put the wood chips of your preference.
- Make sure that the temperature doesn’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- Put the cheese on the grate, cover with the lid and leave it for two hours. Turn it every half an hour.
- Take it off the grate and wrap it in paper but not too tightly
- Keep it like that for 24 hours, and then place it in vacuum-sealed bags. Keep it in the fridge for a week or two.
Can You Make Hot Smoking Cheese?
When a friend told us about eating a hot smoked cheese, we told us it is some sort of joke. But there is a method of smoking cheese on the hot grill without melting it.
The simplest way to do it is by putting a large pan of ice in a hot smoker or grill:
- Put the grate over the pan and let the cheese rest on it.
- Check the cheese every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Smoke the cheese between 30 minutes and 6 hours, turning it regularly.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Cheese?
So let’s see how long to smoke cheese? Depending on the type of cheese, you should smoke it for between two and four hours. Make sure that the smoke is constant and light. Use a smoke tube or regularly add pellets or chips to maintain a steady flow of smoke.
How to Store Smoked Cheese?
- After the cheese is smoked, wrap it and put it in the fridge.
- Make sure that it is not wrapped too tightly because the cheese needs to breathe.
- Keep it between 24 and 48 hours.
- Take it out of the wrapping paper and put it in sealed bags for further use.
That’s all about how to smoke cheese, for today folks! All and all, smoked cheese is a delicious addition to any sandwich, pizza, burger, etc. Plus you can serve it along with charcuterie and other delicacies as an appetizer when you have friends over. So, we sincerely hope that our little smoking cheese tips will help you make only the most delicious hot or cold smoke cheese!
Have you ever tried any smoked cheese recipe? Which one’s your favorite?