My name is Ben and I live in southwest Washington just off the Columbia River.
Yesterday I went to our local bi-mart store and picked up a Smoke Hollow 30" electric smoker with a gift card I had from Christmas.
I initially went in to buy a Big Chief but changed my mind when I saw how thin and cheap they felt despite still costing $100. I ended up coming home with the smoke hollow and quickly learned I should have done some research before buying anything at all.
One of my coworkers has shared some of his smoked cheese with me recently. He buys large quantities of cheese and pays one of his friends to smoke it for him. I love me some smoked cheese but I hate paying so much for it from a store. I decided I want to try smoking cheese myself. When I got home with my smoker I soon had a "doh! Homer Simpson moment" and realized I have no idea how to smoke cheese and should have done some reading first.
I decided to assemble my smoker even though I found out that cheese has to be cold smoked. I figured the smoker would work as a good vessel for cold smoking cheese and I can hot smoke other stuff too after I experiment. I ran back to bi-mart and bought a new 25w soldering iron and a large hunk of cheddar. This morning I got up early and got the smoker outside and ran it through a curing/seasoning cycle while the cheese sat out on the counter. I got an empty soup can and cleaned it out and punched some holes in it and filled it up with hickory chips. Stuck in the soldering iron and set it on the bottom of the smoker. I dug out an air pump I had from an aquarium and hooked it up and stuck the tube up through the bottom of the smoker where the drip can hangs. After getting the smoke going I put in my cheddar cut up in butter stick size pieces. I left them in for about 90 minutes with the door slightly cracked for the soldering iron cord. I tried a little piece of it after I took it out and the smoke is a little intense but I have read that it should mellow out after a week or so in the fridge. I put a couple chunks in a ziploc bag and vacuum sealed the rest. Now I will wait anxiously!
In the mean time I am trying to figure out what to smoke next. I am also debating ordering a smoke daddy to fasten to the side of it for cold smoking.
I would like to try some other cheeses next and maybe even cream cheese.
I am completely new to smoking but I do have some experience with grilling. I have enjoyed grilling now for a few years on my gas and charcoal Weber.
I am sure I will be spending some time on here in the next few weeks and look forward to learning from all of you.