McGyver Style Smoking

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by excalibur, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Hello All.  I recently got a Masterbuilt gasser which I've been using for beef / pork.  Looking around the web, I found some videos of people smoking cheese using a soldering iron in a burned out soup can full of wood chips / pellets.

    Folks who use the soldering iron method seem to use wood or cardboard boxes as their smokehouse.

    I figured I'd just run the electrical cord up through where my burner is and use the cabinet of my gasser as a smokehouse instead.  I'd just be using the box as a smokehouse for cold smoking - not connecting the gas (because I know it would be too hot)

    My question:  A lot of the posts on here recommend letting the cheese sit out in open air a bit before smoking.  This evidently helps develop a skin.  After the smoking, you're supposed to wrap the cheese up for "aging" maybe 2-4 weeks.

    When wrapping the cheese, it seems like a lot of posts reference people using vacuum sealers / food savers.  Is that absolutely necessary or will wrapping in a good double layer of plastic wrap suffice ?

    I wanted to experiment w/ smoking some cheese on the cheap but didn't know if I'd be wasting my time w/o being able to vacuum seal the cheese for it's aging period.
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Excalibur - You most certainly can use plastic wrap. My recommendation is to double wrap it to hold in the flavor. I know it sounds crazy but flavor does escape plastic wrap.  The rest of you plan will work great. You might have to add an ice pan if the box temps start rising with the soldering iron.

    Would you please do us a favor and update your profile with you location

    Thanks for the help  
  3. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    X2.  Scar has you covered, as usual! [​IMG]   I have not bothered to develop a skin on the cheese; out of the package, cut into roughly 1 inch thick blocks, and into the smoker for about 4 hours.  Wrap or vacuum seal and place in the fridge for 2 weeks (your patience will be rewarded), and enjoy!  Just make sure to do enough, because it will disappear fast!!!
  4. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have used saran wrap and foil when I was out of vac bags. I wrapped in 2 layers of saran wrap and then 2 layers of foil. It will help on flavor loss. I learned this trick from a cheese factory in Monroe WI, they wrap there cut cheese this way and then in butcher paper but I skipped that. 
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The wrapping helps keep the smokey goodness with the Cheese, as the guys have stated. Wrapping also stops the smoke flavor from escaping into your refrigerator effectively turning "it" into a Cold Smoker and adding smoke flavor to your Eggs, Butter and any other exposed food surfaces...JJ
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    And what's wrong with smoked eggs and butter? [​IMG]

    Good luck with your cheese smoke, Don't forget the Q-view!
  7. Flavor escape into the fridge won't be a problem because I've got a spare 'drink' fridge in the basement. The other plus is that it will keep the cheese out of my immediate view for the two week wait.

    So, a number of folks on here have said that they've burned up soldering irons going this way.

    Did most of you have luck using the soldering iron method (on the cheap) before you ventured into AMNS and/or MES territory ?

    30/40W irons aren't very expensive ($5 on ebay) but I'm wondering whether I'm just throwing $ away.

    I just want to 'try' the cheese smoking gig first -- just to see how my girls liked the results.
  8. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I started my cheese smoking with a cheap iron and it lasted for many smokes. I definitely got my moneys worth out of it.
  9. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I use the soldering iron method still... it works great.. I've found that I don't care for hickory smoked cheese... will try a different wood next time... Also I think it gave a little bit of burnt wood taste but maybe it was the "bite" of the hickory wood... What I did for my first experiment was 3 different kinds of cheese (swiss,pepper jack, and sharp cheddar). Cut each one into 3 different chunks and took 1 chunk of each off at the 2 hr mark, the 3 hour mark, and 4 hour mark.... For me, the 3 and 4 hour ones with hickory was to much... GL with your experiment and let us know how it went
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now one of theses days I will also smoke me some cheesebut for now I will just sit back and read about it. I do however have a smoker set up just for cold smoking to. You would think that I would have smoked me some cheeses by now ha. Lazy and getting fatter.
  11. Peach is really good for cheese. Much milder than hickory but still a good smoke flavor.
  12. I'm going to wait until my next voyage to Harbor Freight and I'll pick up a new, "disposable" iron.  For now, I don't want to use the iron I already own because I've used it with lead core solder and would be concerned about food safety.

    Once I get to it, I'll post a report.

    Thanks to everyone for their input / tips.

  13. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    My soldering iron died about 15 minutes into the smoke on my first pre-AMNPS attempt. I think its a coin toss on whether you get a good iron or not. Mine was a cheapo from Wal-Mart. I probably just got a bad one cuz I've heard of plenty of people that have used the same iron for several smokes with no problems.

    Apple, cherry and pecan have all turned out well for me when smoking cheese. I noticed that a fair amount of the smoked cheese that I see at the local grocery store is smoked with apple.
  14. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This sounds interesting, I may have to give it a try.

    So what's the concensus on wood size? Chips, pellets, or sawdust?
  15. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Chips, and don't shake the can around and pack them in to tight. a couple of pics with hard boiled eggs


  16. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    AMAZNPS is the most wonderful and easiest way to go--no worry about electric going out, burning up, frayed wires, hell, no worries at all.  I highly recommend the AMAZN smokers--so well worth the money and the perfect investment into the smoking world of greatness.

    Rich  jmho
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  17. jcurrier

    jcurrier Smoke Blower

    I have posted this before on this site, but this is where I get my dust.  Very good taste

    I go with the Blended Hardwood Type C in 50lb bags (smallest they sell- you could share, or have a 20yr supply.
  18. first i would like to say i typically use Apple for all my cheese, while in Medford i had access to Pear and that worked as well very mellow flavor, i might have to try the cherry...would that be a heavy flavor? anyone know? if you are looking for a low key solution to the iron Alton Brown did a whole show on Good Eats with a cardboard box and useing an inexpensive hot plate for the heat source placing a tin pie plate with chips on it.

    good smoking...its all good!

  19. I saw that episode of Good Eats and had forgotten about the hot plate.  Do you think that would keep the heat low enough for cold smoking ?
  20. Use two boxes side by side, one with the hot plate the second containing the cheese.

    Connect the boxes with a piece of flex dryer vent hose.

    A small computer case fan sucking air out of the cheese box to create draft and pull the smoke across the cheese.

    The smoke will cool by time it gets to the cheese.

    Keep the hot plate set JUST high enough to smolder the chips.

    Basically the same setup Alton used when he smoked bacon in the old school lockers.[​IMG]

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