Another First Timer. Have I ruined it?

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by blue hill, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Hi folks,
    First post, first time smoking anything besides tobacco and it's been quite a while since I did that.
    I'm smoking cheese today in Saskatchewan, Canada and it's in the neighbourhood of 10 below zero Fahrenheit, so no real issues with melting the cheese.
    Here's my rig: For a smoke box, I have a small Camp Chef barbeque box, the kind that sits on top of my big Camp Chef stove and gets it's heat from the stove burner. For smoke, I made a tube smoker, because I happened to have a little 1/8" stainless steel screen laying around along with some 1 1/2" copper pipe. Easy peasey. That part works great. I'm burning Traeger Applewood pellets and get 4 hours of real nice smoke, (at least I think it's real nice smoke, but what the heck do I really know, right. That's why I'm here.:biggrin:
    So the smoke box sits on my blacksmithing forge in my shop because of the chimney. The smoke box sits on top of the smoke tube, which sits on a grill so that I have air in the smoke box (open bottom on the smoke box. With the furnace in the shop, I can do something about the cold ambient temps. For the task today, I'm keeping it about 4 degrees above freezing, which allows me to keep the temp in my smoke box about 55 Fahrenheit.
    Here's my dilemma. Smoking Cheddar, Feta and a couple of those little Baby Bel nuggets. I've read where you should unwrap the cheese and leave it in the fridge overnight to kind of dry out a little, so that's what I did. The Feta and the Baby Bels looked fine in the morning, but the cheddar looked all dried out and cracked. I'm wondering if that's because the cheddar is a "light" cheddar so less milk fat??
    Anyway I 've just pulled the cheddar after 4 hours. The other was pulled out after 1 hour. Like I said, the cheddar looks kind of sad.
    Is it worth saving?
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions.
  2. mjeffcoat

    mjeffcoat Fire Starter

    Cheddar is naturally dryer than other cheeses. It looks like it just dried out a little more. Still should retain it's smoke flavor. Taste it and if it taste good, you didn't ruin it. If it is a little to dry by itself just use it in dishes you cook. 
  3. Thanks MJeffcoat.
    I tried a little just now and it looks worse than it is. The cracks are maybe maximum 1/16" or less and once you get below the "rind" the cheese looks quite normal and moist. The taste was a little harsh of course, but that will no doubt improve with a little time.
  4. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i thot smoked cheese was supposed to taste bad for a couple weeks. not so?

    i'd try it after 2-3 weeks.
  5. Thanks Suzieqz,
    Yes, I intend to let it mellow. The reason that I tried it was to see if it had dried out all the way through and as it turns out, the damage was just on the surface.
  6. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    it would be fun if you give us an update in a few weeks, blue.

    i bot everything i heed to cold smoke cheese before i found out it was too cold to cold smoke right now.

    i'll wait for mild weather before i try, but i can use input.

    how dry was the cheese before the smoke? i've had 4 year old cheddar that was very dry, but superb.

     i'm starting with supermarket cheese. hardly aged n very moist.
  7. Hey Suzieqz,
    It was just Supermarket "lite" cheddar. In Canada they call sharp cheddar "old". They also have mild and medium. This was old. Hen I started it was normal, nice and moist, but I unwrapped it and set it in the fridge overnight to get ready for smoking. In the morning, the surface was all dry and cracked looking, just like in the photo in the OP.
    I smoked it anyway and it didn't get any worse. I think it will likely be ok.

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