Smoking cheese. First attempt.

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by thenegativeone, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Got a cold smoke generator for Christmas so I thought I'd start out with something simple. Got some cheese smoked (along with some gin as an experiment).


    It's all vac-packed up now and in the fridge mellowing. I'm thinking a month? If I can wait that long.
     
  2. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the world of cold smoking.  Good to see you starting out with cheese.  Did you sample a piece before packaging? As you are beginning, try sampling along the way so you know how differences in time can influence the finished results.  Keep good notes as they will be invaluable later.

     
  3. I did sample a little, straight off the smoker it was a touch acrid, the smoke flavour overwhelmed everything else.

    Hopefully after a few weeks mellowing it will be more palatable.
     
  4. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That is the type of info you want to keep in your notes, thanks for sharing.

     As for the acrid taste, that can be controlled by using a different smoke delivery system.  There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to enjoy your cheese shortly after removing it from your product chamber.  

    Some are willing to change the way they apply smoke and others aren't and are content doing what they do. It all boils down to how much effort you are willing to put into it.

     
  5. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good looking Cheese! what about the Gin?
     
  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The cheese looks good and it is great that you varied the smoking times and labelled each pack [​IMG]. I think your biggest problem will be that you didn't smoke enough of it.... [​IMG]

    The Weber has a relatively small area for smoking but you can significantly increase this by adding a couple of additional levels using wire cooling racks spaced with wooden blocks.

    Also try varying the wood used for the smoke. I find that hickory also works very well with cheddar.
     
  7. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Neg how you doing!!!!

    I have been having the same problem with my smoked salmon in my UDS, smoke being a bit acrid or as Wade aptly and correctly nails it it as a "Too Thick". Its not that bad and my neighbours love the salmon but I think Mr T is absolutely spot on with the smoke delivery system. I think that its too much smoke in small area making the smoke cool n condense on the food especially in our climate. Whilst your dust and my pellet cold smokers work well they need a bigger volume to work properly. I think the only solutions is a bigger smoking shed or delivery from outside to cool and condense the smoke before it hits my UDS
     
  8. The gin is currently mellowing in the fridge, I'll let you know how it turns out when I try it.

    Kiska, Mr-T, I'm not sure what other smoke delivery system would work, although as I understood it the acrid flavour goes away once the cold smoked food has been left to mellow no?

    I'm hoping to smoke some salmon on my next couple of days off too, how long do you smoke yours for Kiska, Wade?
     
  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    thenegativeone,  I will offer you the same post given to a couple others this morning.  Hopefully it will give you the input you are lookin for.  It involves a lot of reading but, should help you.

    Have fun smoking,

    Tom

    As you well know, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I will take you to the water, you decide if you want to drink.

     First a bit of history. Centuries ago, smoking food was a way of preservation. Communities had structures some two or three stories tall where residents would take their meat to be smoked. A fire was maintained inside the structure to provide smoke required to preserve the food. The residents would place and remove their meat, as they wanted. Old timers on the forum most likely remember smoke houses scattered around at houses and farms. Some utilizing fires inside the larger smoke houses while others with smaller houses placed their fires outside the house and piped the smoke to the house in order to cool the smoke and minimize creasote. Of course, these began to disappear when electrical appliances began to appear.

    My first walk in smokehouse was built to resemble a three hole outhouse from the outside. The fire pit was placed twenty-five or thirty feet away and the smoke traveled through six-inch clay field tile buried a foot deep and on a slight incline to the smoke house. A fire was made using available hardwood in the woods where the smokehouse sat, hickory, maple, oak, beech and so on. After a good fire was started, it was then smothered and allowed to slowly burn until it went out. Believe it, there was no TBS here. By the time, the smoke reached the smokehouse it had greatly cooled down and a good amount of the creosote was removed by remaining in the tile. A lot of bacon and cheese was smoked in that three holer. This is what we want to replicate today only on a smaller scale and perhaps you will see were problems suffered today by many come from.

    To help you understand the principles behind a successful smoker, look at it as you would a fireplace in your home. You have a hearth a grate and a chimney. The hearth is where the fire is placed in our case a firebox, a grate is what the fuel is placed on, in our case a tray or smoke generator, and a chimney, in our case a product chamber. As in a fireplace, the grate burns clean and the smoke travels up the chimney. As the smoke travels up the chimney creosote and other deposits collect on the chimney walls eventually clogging the chimney if not cleaned. The very same thing happens with food smokers only on a smaller scale. Naturally the hotter the fire the less deposits will be collected but, we are talking about cold smoking, not hot. I find it amusing that those who have used the smoke generators that produce voluminous amounts of smoke complain about the tar buildup on the inside of the generators and eventually mothball them. They do not seem to realize that the goo collected there is not being collected on their food, oh well, I have no problem cleaning mine.

    Now, how do we replicate the smokers of old in today’s environment?  We start by using a remote firebox and pipe the smoke produced by your smoke generator of choice to the product chamber, which could be your smoker or a cardboard box, whatever you want to use. The firebox is also used as a heat sink in order to cool the smoke as much as possible, the more mass the better. The pipe used (preferably single wall stovepipe) to transport the smoke will also act as a heat sink so the longer it is, the better the results.

    The provided threads will help you understand how to use different smokes to your advantage. There is no need to worry about producing only TBS, by doing so you are hobbling yourself to a few products when by using different smokes in different manners, there is nothing that you cannot smoke.

    I understand it is a lot of reading but, you will have a good understanding about smoking food products after doing so.

    Enjoy and most of all, have fun.

    Tom

    My Cold Smoking Options w/Q - View,  New to smoking or have a new smoker? -- "How to optimize your smoke",

    AMNPS & Smoke Daddy Myths?,  Understanding Smoke Management - updated 12/08/14Smoke Color Chart.

    Mr T's "Smoked Cheese From Go To Show" w/ Q- View
     
  10. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    To add to your reading list I also found this book very informative when I was starting out into cold smoking Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design
    Yes the magic will occur over the next week or so. 

    It is possible to over smoke the cheese though and so if you still find that it is too overpowering in a few weeks you should look at the smoke generator itself. The AMNPS type smoker will produce a lot of smoke - way more than is needed in such a smoke chamber the size of the Weber Kettle. As Tom says, you could look as an alternate method of producing smoke or you could also adjust the way your existing smoke is delivered. When cold smoking it is important to ensure that there is a good constant air flow through the smoker. Not strong enough that it sucks all of the air out but sufficient to keep the smoke moving through the smoke chamber. To reduce the amount of smoke that is in the chamber, ensure that both the top and bottom vents are fully open and if necessary attach a small fan on the outside of the lid vent to help encourage the air/smoke flow out. A small case cooling fan from a PC is ideal and can simply be attached over the lid vent using Blu Tack. One I have used for something similar before is this is a Silverstone SST-FM121B. I will try to take a photo of it in action for you over the next couple of days.
     
  11. Cheers for the advice, I think I'm going to try and build a mailbox style mod onto my bullet smoker, see how that pans out. It could be interesting given my complete lack of fabrication skills.
     
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like Baz says, often when there is a problem you just need to look at the bits and pieces you have laying around to produce a workable solution to the challenge.

    It was dark and raining when I got home so I could not show it to you in action. Here it is in place though and being a variable speed fan it can quite finely control the air and smoke movement through the smoking chamber. With cheese the air flow will help prevent condensation forming on the cheese surface but it is even more important when cold smoking salmon as you require the air flow to remove water from the fish.

    I used this setup successfully in the early days of my salmon smoking, before I had my large offset and my current cold smoking chamber. The use of the Blu Tack is great as it is easily removed afterwards and you do not need to drill any holes in the lid of the Weber.


    Everything you need (including the speed controller) is included in the product I linked to above - except for a 12 volt power supply. For that I just used an old 240v-12v phone charger that I has in a drawer of bits and pieces that I had not quite got around to throwing away.
     
  13. B

    How do you attach the power supply to the fan? Does it involve complicated wiring?
     
  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The fan is only 12 Volt, it has a maximum current rating of 0.5 amp and maximum power rating of 6 Watts. This is tiny.

    It has one red and one black wire for power to the fan - you just need to connect then the right way round to the +/- wires coming from the 12v charger.

    If you do not have an old 12 v charger laying around you can get them from somewhere like Maplin for about £13 or from eBay for around £3
     
  15. Ok, I think I can manage that haha. Thanks.
     
  16. I like that Wade, a neat bit of shed style thinking.
     
  17. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hey Paul
    US mailboxes £35 on Amazon!!
     
  18. Cheers mate, I've got a large steel tin that I think will work, but I'll keep that in mind incase not!
     
  19. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Very good idea. The firebox is also being used as a heat sink in order to cool the smoke as much as possible, the more mass the better.

    T
     

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