Now that Todd Johnson has graced me with his A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker, I have had visions of Sugarpl ... no, no, no... i'm too diabetic for that!.... of Cold Smoked bricks of Cheese dancing through my head! Both my sons LOVE smoked cheese (and I can have a LITTLE bit too!). Because of my latest stroke and being off work, money is tight (that's an understatement, lol! Did you know in one week I had 12 doctors bill me for their services? Geesh, you'd think I would have gotten to meet at least half of them... I can hear the discussion, "ARRRR! New Meat in Rm. 352! Get out your billing pads, boys and girls!!!... Sorry.. I digress...) Anyways, digging through my wallet for ins. cards and medication lists, I found a Kroger Gift Card some nice lady (she will remain nameless, but a very generous SMF member!) sent me and still had a few $$ left on it that I'd forgotten, and in her honor I could only use it for smoking or processing meats, so what better thing to do than to spend it wisely on cheeses for cold smoking! So, it gives me a great opportunity to further test out Todd Johnson's A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker unit in my smokehouse without having any heat on to drive it with, just the smolder of the unit itself.
First thing I had to do is to prepare the cheese for the smokehouse. I got two 2lb bricks, 1 sharp cheddar and the other Pepper Jack that I cut in half, and 4 8 oz bricks - 2 extra sharp cheddar, 1 Colby and 1 Swiss, a total of 8 pieces altogether. I put them in stockinette to hang from the smokehouse bars, vs. on a grate. I knew the 8 oz because of their thinness would bend, but hopefully starting them early while still cool they would still maintain shape. I do have the option of filling one or both of the drip pans with ice cubes if necessary, but it's 60° now and not supposed to get over 75° by noon so I think I'll be ok.
Here's a picture:
Bigger chunks in back, smaller ones in front to pull them if necessary, chill then put back in.
Now, there is a little trick to hanging product in a smokehouse via stockinette. You have to tie your knots so they hang the thinnest, like the first piece on the left, to take up the least amt of room on the smokestick so you can hang more.
The trick is tying the knot correctly. First of all, it's a square knot:
not just a regular knot. Second, it's positioning the product correctly and pulling the stockinette vertically to tie the knot.
You want to lay the product on it's widest, flattest surface, like this:
Then, you want to stretch the stockinette vertically, pulling on the top and the bottom of the stockinette (only had one hand free, I'm holding the top and the bottom is dangling down, but you grab it there, not side-to-side, hand to hold the camera and take the picture with the other hand! lol!) and tie your square knot in the stockinette that way.
Then, when you put your hook on the stockinette, it will hang on the thinnest plane so you can fit more pieces on each stick. On these cheeses it is not critical however, if you're hanging 14 lb. hams, and you want to hang 6 per row, you must follow that procedure correctly on every one or you won't be able to fit them in. We smoked 36 hams at a time, 6 rows of 6 hams and sometimes there wasn't more than an 1/8" between them, and you had to leave a space otherwise the smoke wouldn't adhere and you'd leave a white spot, not a pretty result on a ham!
I'm holding up that piece showing how it hangs narrowest width as you face it with the hook.
It's now been an hour, the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker is generating a great smoke from it; (I used a bottom layer of Hickory with a top layer of Corn Cob so I could get a hearty smoke into them!) and here's a pic so far:
No misconformity in the stockinette so far! I'll post a second post after I'm done, but do hourly updates on it; plan on a 4-5 hour smoke.