Last weekend I decided was a "smokin' cheese weekend"...sure, I threw in 5 lbs of chicken and a tri-tip when I was done (to celebrate, of course), but I tried to focus on getting a good stockpile of smoked cheese to last the summer. I think it ended up somewhere around 20 lbs of cheese...and a happy wife!
It looks like I forgot the "before" picture, but this is the first batch, post smoke:
On the left rack, all of the left column and the top half of the right column (including the two half-circles) are all pepper jack from various sources, then there is a sharp cheddar and a hunk of garlic white cheddar. On the right rack is a bunch of gouda, a colby jack, and one lone hunk of bacon-and-cheddar (can't wait to tear into that!).
I smoked it all for 3 hours using hickory in the AMNPS on my MES30. It all looks like it's got the color I've been looking for, so off to the second batch:
This batch included one block (the 4 squares on the far left) of colby, a bunch of sharp cheddar, a couple blocks of pepper jack, baby swiss, and a block of mozzarella. Unfortunately, I don't have any post-smoke pics.
Since my AMNPS was already burning good with the hickory from the cheese, I just let it keep going while I heated up the smoker to 235. I threw some Hog's Breath (from the FL Keys) seasoning on the chicken quarters, and smoked them until IT of 175 (my wife was afraid the last time I smoked chicken until 165 that they were "undercooked" - so I went to 175 for her). For the tri-tip, I marinated it in worcestershire, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper for a few hours. Since my wife is pregnant, I cooked the tri-tip to IT of 145, sliced it (shown above), and then threw a few of the slices onto the grill to cook hers to well-done and it was still amazingly juicy. All in all, it was a good day of smoking.