How to Smoke Cheese
Creativity in the kitchen can give you a variety of delicious meal and snack options to enjoy. With wood-smoked cheese, you can create new melt-in-your-mouth flavors for all of the classic recipes you love. The taste of apple wood-smoked cheddar on your morning breakfast sandwich or maple wood-smoked Gouda on a homemade barbecue chicken pizza adds depth to your traditional favorites.
Smoking cheese requires a cold-smoke so that the cheese doesn't melt in the process. You'll want to make sure to monitor the temperature of your smoker to ensure that it stays below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It's best to cold-smoke cheese when the outdoor temperature is cool, because it will be easier for you to maintain the proper temperature inside your smoker.
What You’ll Need:
Step 1: Cut Cheese Into Medium-Sized Pieces
Try to keep the cheese blocks no larger than an inch thick and four inches across.
Step 2: Let Cheese Sit at Room Temperature
The cheese will develop a light skin that will help the smoke penetrate slowly. Wipe off any condensation that accumulates on the cheese.
Step 3: Prepare the Smoker
Whether you choose to use a smoker that has a cold-smoke attachment or a grill with smoke pellets or chips, you'll want to ready your equipment as you're bringing the cheese up to room temperature. If you're using a generator or attachment, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.
Specially designed smoke generators or cold-smoke attachments will offer the easiest method of cold smoking, but you can also use a couple of pieces of charcoal with your choice of wood flavor. For this method of charcoal smoking, ignite 3-4 pieces of charcoal below the wood chips in a tin can, creating smoke with minimal heat release. You may need to add charcoal or wood chips during the smoking process, but that will depend on how long you're smoking the cheese.
Step 4: Place the Cheese on the Cooking Surface
Keep cheese separated with an inch between each piece to allow the smoke to penetrate through all sides of the cheese square.
Step 5: Cover the Grill or Smoker & Wait
Make sure that your smoker is fully covered so that the smoke stays inside the equipment. Depending on the style of cheese, the type of wood and the amount of smoky flavor you're looking to achieve, you should smoke the cheese anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours. For soft cheese, like havarti or fontina, smoke for 30 minutes to 2 hours, and for hard cheese, like cheddar or Gruyere, smoke 2 to 6 hours. If you're using wood chips and charcoal, check the smoker every 30 minutes to see if you need to add more briquettes or chips to the can.
Step 6: Remove the Cheese & Store
Once you take the cheese off the grill, wrap it tightly in cheese paper or plastic wrap, label it with the date and cheese name, and store in the refrigerator for 8 to 14 days. The longer you store the cheese, the more time the smoky flavor has to penetrate the entire block.
Step 7: Enjoy
After waiting for a few days, unwrap the cheese and enjoy the smoky flavors. Serve at room temperature for best results. Make sure to keep it tightly wrapped and refrigerated when you're not eating it. For a longer shelf life, change the wrapping every few days.