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First attempt at cheese

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Morn'en everyone.
Tired of looking at all of the cheese posts lately, so decided to give it a shot with some sharp cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella.

I really liked the rubs that either Mule Packen, Fire It Up, or Meat Eater have been trying, so I split the cheddar and pepper jack blocks and rubbed one of each with Cholula.

Using my shotgun smoker to get a true cold smoke on these. I'm using six 6 briquets and then loaded it with a mix of oak, hickory and apple. Side note on smoke generators - lot of questions on those lately - I've found that if you use larger chunks/chips, it allows good air flow and you can generate smoke a lot longer. Finer media tends to just choke mine down and kill the briquets.

Cheese loaded - using the advice of others by placing on a clean rack.

There was a lot of varied smoke times, so I guess I'm shooting for 1 to 4 hours! depending on how everything goes today.

Thanks for checking out my first cheese smoking project.
post #2 of 18
Everything looks great. You are going to love these.
post #3 of 18
Way to go Tracey, best of luck on your first cheese smoke.
One thing I have noticed (for me anyway) is that the mozzarella needs to stay in longer than the others, seems whenever I do my cheeses (I smoke for 2 hours) the mozz is never quite as smoky throughout as the others, maybe because of its texture so next time I do cheese I'll give the mozz an extra hour.
Just remember, don't taste them right after they come off, they won't taste right until after their 2ish week resting time.
Usually make it one week before I open one of them and let the other go 2 weeks icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 18
Man I really like your smoke generator and what do you use for fuel for it ?? I really like your cheeses too I'm sure they will come out just great too.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
FIU - Thanks for the time and mozz info. I wasn't real sure on how long to let them go. I'm going to vac seal them and hide them in the bottom of the fridge to keep the kids out it!

Hey! One more thing - I put some salt in with them - anyone have any suggestions on how long to smoke salt?

post #6 of 18
I know Jeanie (Cowgirl) has cold smoked many things, salt included.
Others have done salt but off the top of my head I can't remember who else has. I tried it once and stirred every so often but I only did a few hours and it didn't seem to pick up much flavor so not sure how long to let it go.
post #7 of 18
That smoker looks like it works great. Please let us know how the cheese tastes.
post #8 of 18
Looking good. I couldn't believe how simple it was to smoke cheese. And to think, all these years, the wife and I would travel to this one cheese shop just to buy some smoked cheese.

I am going to run some experiments when I come back from fishing, mostly the use of flavored brines and longer smoke times.

As hard as it may be, don't open that stuff for at least 2 weeks. I will be tempting. I open my last one from a few weeks ago last night.
I ATE THE WHOLE THINGPDT_Armataz_01_05.gif.

If I were you, I would start another batch of cheese a week from now, cuz when you open this batch, your gonna wish you had morebiggrin.gif.

As far as the salt thing goes, I have heard or read somewhere that kosher salt takes a good smoke. Also, the larger crystal salt, I forget the name of it, but the kind that is about the size of a bb. Whether thats true or not, I don't know, just what I read.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if the use of a water pan in the smoker when doing salt would be better. Thinking that the humidity might leach some smoke into the salt crystals a bit better? HHHmmmm, anyone have a take on that?
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Mballi. I start charcoal briquets, place them on a little grate in the bottom, then load with wood chips. Just pulled the Cheddar, giving some extra smoke/time to the Mozz as recommended by FIU, and it is still smoking away. I'll include a picture of the smoke when I do my final post.

Thanks, FIU - I'll try to check out CG's posts.

... in two weeks....PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif

Thanks, MH! My wife cooked up some pasta for lunch and we had the olive oil dipping sauce with some kinda herb/salt stuff in it.... I'm going to try that on the Mozz next time!

Yeah, maybe I will start another batch next week.... that's what BearCarver suggested with CB... and he was RIGHT!

I think you may have something with the water bowl and the salt... hummm

Thanks everyone for the input and for checking out my post.
Final picts coming in about another hour.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Alrighty, then!
Here's what I ended up with:
Cheddar and Jack cold smoked for two hours. Like some other posts, the on these was very light, but the smoked aroma is absolutely incredible. We need Q-SMELL!

Mozzarella smoked for three hours

Packed for a long winters two week wait....

Pictures of smoker/generator for Mballi - still smoking good and strong after three + hours in the bottom of my smoker. I'm going to leave my salt in until the smoke runs out.

Idea for Fire It Up - cheese marinade using EVOO dipping sauce. I think it would be killer on Mozz.

So thanks everyone for all of the help and for checking out my post.
post #11 of 18
Cheese looks great, now that the easy part is over comes that waiting period. That would be a great experiment to try, flavor would probably be amazing!
post #12 of 18
Looks Great Tracey...PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #13 of 18
Great looking cheese! Now the hard part.......waiting.

I smoke my own salt and just use Kosher salt in a stainless bowl. I just give it a shake every fifteen minutes untill it has a good color. Ive used hickory and mesquite so far. Hope this helps.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well.... I almost made two weeks!

Just updating everyone...

Couldn't stand it any longer, Sunday is so far away, so I broke into the cheese this morning... and MAN!! it was Gooooood.
Should have done this long ago!

Pepper Jack was what I sampled first.. and maybe like a first born - It just found a tender spot in my heart.

Second was the Moz... and like yer second, I loved it just as much - just in a different way..

Third was the Sharp Cheddar.. like a third child - there were just no more surprises... but I loved it anyway!

DAMN - this smoke cheese business could get in one's blood.

Thanks to all of you who have gone before and inspired me to do it.

Note to self - Follow Blues_n_clues advice and start a batch the very next week.
Can't wait to try this with something..

post #15 of 18
Congrats on the cheese smoke, sure is good stuff. I've smoked about 20# lately since it will get hot here soon. I just hope it enough. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #16 of 18
Looks awesome! I'll gotta try cheese sometime.
post #17 of 18
Cheese - another on a very long list of things to do. My "bucket" list is on the fridge with a magnet for another day...now I have a "Smoke-it" list to work on!
post #18 of 18
The cheese looks great! I'm going to have to try this soon. Thanks! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
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