Most Friday nights, I play guitar and sing at a local bar, and occasionally, I'll bring along some of my smoked goodies. The Japanese are big into snacks with their drinks, so they seem to appreciate it. A few weeks ago, I gave smoked camembert a shot, and it went over pretty well, so I thought I'd give it another go today.
I get these little hockey-puck-sized thingies at the supermarket for about $2.50-3.00 each. They start out almost completely white (sorry for the overexposed photo).
The first time I did it, I used large sakura (cherry) chunks on a hotplate that was set at the smoke threshold (lowest possible temp that will produce smoke). I also filled my water pan with cold water. After an hour of that, with temps topping out around 100F, I turned off the hotplate and used half a brick of pressed apple sawdust for another hour or so.
This time around, I figured I'd skip the hotplate and just use the pressed sawdust brick. It's slightly bigger than a pack of 100s cigarettes.
Since this was the only heat source, the temps stayed well under 70F. The brick is supposed to last 90 minutes, but it was still going after 120 minutes, so I went out to run some errands. The outdoor temp today is in the low 40s, so I figured it'd be safe to leave them out a few extra minutes.
I brought them inside when I got home, wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap, then nestled them back into their original packaging. For the first batch, I waited a week to let the smoke get deeper into the cheese, and since that seemed to work well, I'm going to do it again this time.
I hate not being able to taste the finished product right away, because I like to know immediately what I've done right, and what I've done wrong. For now, I can find one thing to improve on. In the picture below, you can see that the unwrapped cheese on the right has a tiny bit of gray dust on the top. My guess is that this resulted from opening the lid on my ECB too quickly. The pressed sawdust creates a very fine ash compared to regular wood, and by removing the lid too briskly, I must've created a bit of wind that carried the ash upwards. Next time, I'll remember to open the access door first, then slowly remove the top.
I'll let you know in a week or so how they turned out!