Last cheese smoke EVER!!!

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by smoke happens, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. smoke happens

    smoke happens Smoking Fanatic my el cheapo Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker that is. Smokin-It # 3 will be here Monday [​IMG], it's worse than waiting to eat the cheese.

    I thought I would try something different today, since I had the time, and broke out the ET-732 which I am still getting to know a bit. I have done several cheese smokes and all have gone remarkably well once I learned to wait to eat the stuff. Always done it the same way, AMNPS in my BGES with not water in the pan for about 2 to 3 hours. So today I thought I would see what those temps were in the smoker just for curiosity. No need to change anything just wondering what they were. So, off I went, and learned a few things along the way today. Guess that was the point anyway.... maybe some others can learn something new from a newbie. Enjoy.

    Picked up some cheese on the Costco run last weekend. 2 new ones I have not smoked yet, the Colby Jack is a favorite of the family and goes rather quickly when opened so I always be sure to throw that in with whatever cheese I'm doing.

    Left: Tillamook Colby Jack, family favorite

    Top right: Cabot Classic Vermont Cheddar

    Bottom right: Yancey's Fancy Hot Stuff Buffalo Wing NY Cheddar

    Time to get the AMNPS rolling. I used a mixture of peach and apple pellets, 70% peach / 30% apple. I have used all apple or all peach before but never have mixed them, I like both so it should be good. I only need about a 2 hour smoke so I lit from both ends, also never done that before.

    Cheese at room temp and cut up, on the rack and ready to go get happy in the BGES.

    Cheese sitting pretty with TBS rolling, start time 10:30am.

    AMNPS at the bottom, no water pan in the BGES.

    Lid on, TBS rolling...

    So now I get to starting data recording for chits and giggles. At this point the only thing I have done differently is the empty water bowl is not in, I'm using a mix of apple and peach, and I saddled up the ET-732. Food probe in the center piece of Colby Jack, Q probe hanging in center of smoker about 6" below rack and 12" above AMNPS. Plan to record start temps, 1 hour temps, 2 hour temps and final temp.

    Outside temp was 46*, and it was raining (I know, 46* and rain in WA during Jan, who would have thought....). Smoker was on the front porch under cover, wind break on 2 sides.

    10:30am: Cheese @ 48*, Smoker @ 73*. Ok, looking good. Surprised smoke temp is so high at this point but whatever, never been a problem before. Monitored the Mav and 11 minutes later the smoker temp was at 80* and rising. Ruh-roh, not good, getting nervous. What's going on? Screw it, I'm putting the empty water bowl in this thing for a heat shield, that should solve the problem and if not for anything else than piece of mind. I don't want $20 in melted cheese to deal with. So, I put the bowl back in and felt much better.

    11:00am: Cheese @ 58*, Smoker @ 84*. Hmm, I have to go look, can't handle this. Everything looks fine, looks just like previous smokes so I guess I can relax. I do notice however that the cheese I probed with the Mav is getting about a 2" crack in it. Kind of hard to see in the pic, if you expand it you should see it.

    11:30am: Cheese @ 68*, Smoker @ 97*. Holy crap, 97*!? I held fast, cheese was still @ 68* and I have done it this way several times already so no worries. Amazed with an outside air temp of 68* and an uninsulated smoker that the IT was able to get so high.

    12:30pm: Cheese @ 70*, Smoker @ 64*. Still have TBS rolling, but the AMNPS has burned through a majority of the pellets and is starting to die out. Nothing but ash and a cherry right in the middle where last bit of the pellets were giving up the last of their TBS. Pulled the cheese, great 2 hour smoke and it picked up great smoke and color, cheese looks mostly good except for the piece that was probed. Slight problem with that one, the crack is now extended all the way to the end where the probe was inserted. It's split open. Oh well, shredded smoked Colby jack is killer for taco Tuesdays.

    Broke out the Foodsaver and sealed up the cheese. A few "party" packs with a bit of each, one each of single cheese, and double of Colby Jack with the cracked piece that will be shredded and used for tacos, salads, a fatty, etc. Showing up to a dinner party or get together with a party pack of home smoked cheese and a bottle of good wine will get you invited back for sure.

    Into the bottom drawer of the fridge for at least 30 days. I have 3 packages of my 12/7/2012 batch left, I should be able to make it 30 days - right?

    So, a few lessons learned for me. On that BGES the water pan needs to be in when cold smoking to act as a heat shield. It helped from it shooting up so fast, but the IT still got to 97* at one point which was something I never knew happened. Also learned what's really going on in the smoker when cold smoking. Cheese turned out as great as it always does, I just assumed things were much cooler in the smoker than they really were. I don't see a need to probe the cheese on a regular basis, so I don't thing I will have a problem cracking any more blocks in the future. Good to know I can hit 97* IT and net melt cheese though, it was barely any more soft than when I put it in. I will probably repeat this process in my new Smokin-It # 3 when it gets in just to see if the AMNPS will stay lit and what the temps are like in that well insulated of a unit.

    Thanks for watching!

    tamarockstar88 likes this.
  2. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I gotta say had me worried with that title!!!!  Congrats on the impending new smoker and also on that fantastic looking cheese.

    Sounds like you had a close call.

    Good luck,

  3. smoke happens

    smoke happens Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks! Not sure if it was a close call or I just never had the data to know and thought something else was going on. Either way, all is well.
  4. yum, looks good! I'm trying my first cold smoke tonight, got some colby, mozz, cheddar and habanero. Ill probly leave my water pan in empty as well, and if needed I'll throw in some bricks to absorb some heat. Food saver is on my list of toys to acquire, until then I'm going to wrap in parchment and bag like others suggested. Trying to find food grade wax for dipping
  5. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Missed this one eariler. Nice save on the cheese. I've had that Buffalo Hot Wing cheese from Costco but not will wait for the verdict. Have a block of pepper jack ready to go in yeah, Taco Tuesday (or Thursday) rules around here as well
  6. Newbie question here.  How do you keep the temp so low with an electric smoker?  Mine runs about 225 or so.  I've got the Brinkmann Gourmet and would really like to cold-smoke cheese and salmon.

  7. ronrude

    ronrude Meat Mopper

    If you are worried, you can always put ice in the water pan. I have only smoked cheese at 30 and 18 degrees outside in my weber kettle with AMNPS. Temp was never an issue. I need to try a summer smoke.
  8. roadkill cafe

    roadkill cafe Smoking Fanatic

    When "cold smoking" you're doing just that. You leave the smoker turned off / unplugged. Using an AMNPS will raise temp slightly from ambient temp., about 6* in my MES 40 but you can also keep temp down by placing frozen plastic bottles (or a 2 ltr) of water in the smoker (bowl of ice works too). I wouldn't recommend trying when temp outside is 85-90* though.
  9. jkc64

    jkc64 Meat Mopper

    You don't turn the smoker on. Leave it off and apply smoke. You need a smoke generator of some type for this most use the AMNPS.
  10. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You dont use the main element. Most folks here use a cold smoke device like the AMZNPS. Todd is a sight sponsor.
  11. Hi Andy, the cheese looks great, a nice transition from the raw photo.  Can I ask why did you light both ends of your AMNPS?  Was it for more smoke, and do you think this may be the cause of the higher temp?  I'm going to do some cheese, but I want a probe like yours, with the two 'inserty' things.

  12. smoke happens

    smoke happens Smoking Fanatic

    I wanted more smoke over a shorter period of time, so I lit both ends. With peach this is not really a big deal, but if I was using all apple or all of a stronger wood I would not do this as it would be way too much smoke. I will also never probe the cheese again, it was a one-time just for chits and giggles experiment. It broke the cheese as you can see, and really did not help anything at all. If you wanted to monitor chamber temps, that would be ok but I do not recommend probing the cheese unless it's a big chunk (which then would not do much good anyway). Be sure to remain patient and don't eat that cheese for at least 30 days - good luck!
  13. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    You can get one right here:
    And they are on sale right now with free shipping!!!

    I never have a problem with cheese and temperature, I use Q-Matz and quit using ice as NEPAS told me and my cheese comes out a lot better. The ice adds too much humidity and the cheese seems to get real wet.

    I ran a test with Q-Matz and tried to force a melt, I had my smoker up to 150* at one point for about 30 minutes and this is how the cheese faired:
  14. I am a little late for the party but the cheese looks great. To hot here to cold smoke. But i have lots of cheese already smoked.So i will be good to go. Till it gets cold.

    Happy smoken.

  15. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Gary, when using a AMNPS in my 22 cf. insulated smoker the temperature can easily go up 30° or more with just one end lit.  No need to probe your cheese. It's the smoke chamber temp that requires monitoring.  The texture of cheese will begin to noticeably change at 80°.  Smoke to your desired results as some will deliberately take cheese to the melting point.

    Smoke, sounds like you are learning the importance of learning the difference in smoke, good job.

    Maybe the following will help.

  16. bill mt top

    bill mt top Fire Starter

    I have that same smoker. I was just wondering where the base to it was, and if you would have used it, would the temp have been any lower maybe...

    And, since I haven't tried cheese yet, is waiting 30 days a necessity before you eat it???
  17. roadkill cafe

    roadkill cafe Smoking Fanatic

    Some folks only wait 2 weeks but the longer you wait, the better it gets. I vacuum seal and wait at least a month. Have some in the fridge that was done Nov. 2012. The resting period allows it to mellow out. Fresh out of the smoker is usually a little bitter. Mozzarella sticks usually don't require a wait. Hope this helps.

  18. I just did a cheese smoke today where I thought the temp would stay under 75, but ended up going to almost 90.  I couldn't keep the temp down with ice, so I pulled the rack with the cheese on it and stuck it in the chest freezer for an hour then back in.  It wasn't ideal, but it worked

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