So I am preparing for what would have been my first cold smoke tomorrow with bacon and I decided to pick up some cheese to smoke as well. Who doesn't like smoked cheese?
I did some modifications to a smoker box that I have. I see that most people use this other smoker box, I did my google search and with shipping (and sawdust) it would be $60 so I thought I'd try this first. Looking at the popular brand, I noticed it was a lot of holes so I thought that the purpose of that is to help with the air flow. There are chambers which also explains the air flow. If you look on the left, there are smaller holes. I used a smaller drill bit and after snapping the 4th, I went to a bigger one. The rest of the box was done on 1 bit:
Keep in mind, this is a $10 box so whatever I do to it, who cares. I picked up three pieces of cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, and blue cheese. Blue cheese is popular in this house, we've bought smoked blue cheese at the grocery store and it wasn't impressive. What a great chance to see if it was the brand:
So keep in mind that this my first time cold smoking and really I'm testing the smoker for bacon I am doing tomorrow (which I already know is too salty but I will finish it so I know how to smoke for the next time). I have a side smoker on my gas grill which I've used a couple of times, smoked fish has come out awesome, but it's a hot smoke. When I first set it up, I had it set high off the burner and then my Dad send you are wasting the heat so I set it as low as I could go. I started the smoker box on the bbq and then heated up the smoker box. For obvious reasons, I couldn't get the low temp that I needed. I took it off, readjusted to the highest setting and still too hot. That's when it hit me, cold smoking, use the smoking box. After some farting around (and farting means f**king) I got set up:
My temps were running high, 115 to 117, hence the open door. I keep farting around and I got it below 110. More farting and more farting, finally my smoke died. The cheese was in for about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours but to be honest I was more concerned with the heat since I want to smoke bacon so I wasn't watching time...
The cheddar is great, the mozzarella is ok but I think with a ball I need more time and the blue cheese, well, the blue cheese...
If you like blue cheese (and let's be honest, it's a love hate relationship), smoke it. Smoke it often, it is unbelievable. For the record too, I used apple and pecan.
Another one thing, above and beyond the amazing smoked cheese, is the oil that's produced with smoking. I know my temps were too high at some points but my cheese produced oil. I tasted that oil. If anyone can figure out how to bottle that oil, they will be a rich person.
Edited by Chef Jay - 8/20/11 at 4:03pm