1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Cold Smoking Cheese in the Smokehouse!

Discussion in 'Smoked Cheese' started by pops6927, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Now that Todd Johnson has graced me with his A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker, I have had visions of Sugarpl ... no, no, no... i'm too diabetic for that!.... of Cold Smoked bricks of Cheese dancing through my head!  Both my sons LOVE smoked cheese (and I can have a LITTLE bit too!).  Because of my latest stroke and being off work, money is tight (that's an understatement, lol!  Did you know in one week I had 12 doctors bill me for their services?  Geesh, you'd think I would have gotten to meet at least half of them... I can hear the discussion, "ARRRR!  New Meat in Rm. 352!  Get out your billing pads, boys and girls!!!... Sorry.. I digress...)  Anyways, digging through my wallet for ins. cards and medication lists, I found a Kroger Gift Card some nice lady (she will remain nameless, but a very generous SMF member!) sent me and still had a few $$ left on it that I'd forgotten, and in her honor I could only use it for smoking or processing meats, so what better thing to do than to spend it wisely on cheeses for cold smoking!  So, it gives me a great opportunity to further test out Todd Johnson's A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker unit in my smokehouse without having any heat on to drive it with, just the smolder of the unit itself.

    First thing I had to do is to prepare the cheese for the smokehouse.  I got two 2lb bricks, 1 sharp cheddar and the other Pepper Jack that I cut in half, and 4 8 oz bricks - 2 extra sharp cheddar, 1 Colby and 1 Swiss, a total of 8 pieces altogether.  I put them in stockinette to hang from the smokehouse bars, vs. on a grate.  I knew the 8 oz because of their thinness would bend, but hopefully starting them early while still cool they would still maintain shape.  I do have the option of filling one or both of the drip pans with ice cubes if necessary, but it's 60° now and not supposed to get over 75° by noon so I think I'll be ok.

    Here's a picture:


    Bigger chunks in back, smaller ones in front to pull them if necessary, chill then put back in.

    Now, there is a little trick to hanging product in a smokehouse via stockinette.  You have to tie your knots so they hang the thinnest, like the first piece on the left, to take up the least amt of room on the smokestick so you can hang more.  

    The trick is tying the knot correctly.  First of all, it's a square knot:


    not just a regular knot.  Second, it's positioning the product correctly and pulling the stockinette vertically to tie the knot.  

    You want to lay the product on it's widest, flattest surface, like this:


    Then, you want to stretch the stockinette vertically, pulling on the top and the bottom of the stockinette (only had one hand free, I'm holding the top and the bottom is dangling down, but you grab it there, not side-to-side, hand to hold the camera and take the picture with the other hand! lol!) and tie your square knot in the stockinette that way.

    Then, when you put your hook on the stockinette, it will hang on the thinnest plane so you can fit more pieces on each stick.  On these cheeses it is not critical however, if you're hanging 14 lb. hams, and you want to hang 6 per row, you must follow that procedure correctly on every one or you won't be able to fit them in.  We smoked 36 hams at a time, 6 rows of 6 hams and sometimes there wasn't more than an 1/8" between them, and you had to leave a space otherwise the smoke wouldn't adhere and you'd leave a white spot, not a pretty result on a ham!


    I'm holding up that piece showing how it hangs narrowest width as you face it with the hook.

    It's now been an hour, the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker is generating a great smoke from it; (I used a bottom layer of Hickory with a top layer of Corn Cob so I could get a hearty smoke into them!) and here's a pic so far:


    No misconformity in the stockinette so far!  I'll post a second post after I'm done, but do hourly updates on it; plan on a 4-5 hour smoke.
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking good!!

  3. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Great start pops .[​IMG]
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking good Pops. Are those stockings the same thing you would use on a bird if you were hanging it in  the smoker? I am doing more turkeys for people this year and one note I had was to look into getting nets to hang them in to take up less space. Would those work? If so where do you usually get them?
  5. Now that is a nice lookin batch of Cheese Pops. Love the way they hang in the smokehouse.

    Hopefully by next fall I can have mine built and be smokin in it.

    Excellent so far, but of course I wouldn't expect anything but that from You.

    Happy Smokin'

  6. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I get them from Butcher Packer:


    They're $16.96 for 100 of them and 1 box has lasted me a couple years already still have ¾ of the box left !  They're cheap and are sooo useful, and it's from dad having his smokehouses and processing products that I know about them.  He used to buy the stockinette in a huge roll and we'd cut off what we would need, tying both ends, but these sacks are so much easier already precut and stitched one end!  Of course they are super stretchy and had no problem putting a ham or 16 lb. turkey in them either.  And, as the link says, you can boil them and remove product from the boiling water easily, so they'd be good for doing frankfurters or other colds meats too that you'd bring the internal temp to 155° via boiling!  Pull out the bag when done, instead of goin' fishin'!



    Turkey and chicken on maiden voyage of smokehouse:

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  7. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I love your smokehouse Pops!

    If my neighborhood would allow it I would have one in the back yard.

    Actually I'm thinking of building a smaller version that I could hide behind the bushes.
  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Gonna be some great cheese, Pops!!!

    I Like your Square knot pic. Had to use them in Army for splicing WD1 commo wire----The sister "Granny Knot" (backwards second step) comes apart. That was a No-No!!!  [​IMG]

  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Absolutely! One of the reasons to use it - you didn't want a whole ham falling into the grease pans ruining it just because you tied the knot wrong!  Plus, they wouldn't hang square either!
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Looks great Pops - You are going to love that cheese. 
  11. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Took the cheese out at 12 noon after pulling the piece of Swiss and testing it (just a little, SH!)  This is how it looked:


    Next Question - did the sack stick?


    NO! Not in the least - they did beautifully - the stockinette slid right off; the outer skin of the cheese, even though warm, hardened (just like a ham or turkey or skinless chickens) to a firm skin and didn't melt through the cheesecloth.  It was 84° out and the sun shining directly on the smokehouse, but although warm, the cheese was still firm enough to handle with ease and the stockinette came right off with ease, but allowed the smoke to penetrate and color and smoke the cheese with no problem (the sacks are pretty much 'smoke transparent') as this picture shows:


    Before I could sample any more (one sample to both my wife and myself, a ½ x ½ " piece each) I got them in Ziplocs as quick as I could and put them in the back brining refrigerator - out-of-sight out-of-mind for two weeks to cure!


    I can't say enough about the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker by Todd Johnson!  It did its job absolutely perfectly!  I'd loaded it to the max just to make sure I had non-stop smoking, and smoked for 5 hours with it, then I still had this much left:


    Just s simple matter of pushing the smoldering pile away from the fresh pellets and let it die out - no need to waste half a full fill!

    As a side note, I want to add that this whole post, plus the answers to questions, has been a therapy for me in accordance with HealthSouth Cityview - I will hand in a printed version of this thread showing my typing.  I have to correct every mistake, out of pride more than anything (I don't have to and you could figure out most of what I'm trying to say with the gazillions of typo's I make).  But, the exercise and typing practice skills are beneficial to me to try and get back to 'normal' typing.  I also downloaded a typing tutor program at the advice of my occupational therapists and am working with that now too.  Prior to strokes, I could type 50 - 60 words a minute with 90% or better accuracy.   Now, I achieved my best score to date of 9 wpm with 35% accuracy, so you can see I've got a LONNNGGG way to go, so it's just going to require more and more smoking and more and more posting, lol!  Actually, next weekend I hope to be doing a cold smoke on more cheese and vegetables for my therapists!

    I declare this test of the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker a 100% +++ Success!
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you ever freeze your cheese once  it is done being smoked? I was going to do up a bunch but I wasn't sure how good it would be if I froze it. I froze some cheese  years back and when I tried to eat  it all it wanted to do was crumble. I suppose it would also depend  on the type of cheese.
  13. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just wanted to show a 'before' and 'after' pic showing the color difference:





    I'm sure you noticed the Swiss missing, pulled it 10 min. earlier to test it, but it's on the block with the other cheeses before removing the stockinette in the Ziploc Bag:

  14. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great Post Pops!!! And Great idea for smoking cheese! I got a bag of ham socks out in the garage (from B&P of course) myself and will give this a try!

    Glad to hear you have a positive attitude!  Best of luck to you in your recovery!

    And as always!!!!!!


  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never have, but I know cheese keeps a long time too, and I know with my two sons, it won't be around very long at all!   Keep it in the fridge and if it gets mold on it, just gently scrape it off, it's still good!
  16. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea I usually only do a few bricks at a time but I was thinking about doing a big batch to stock up but if it's just going to get moldy in the fridge because I can't eat it fast enough I don't want to do it. That is why I was curious if anyone froze them. I might have to start a thread and see if anyone does and if they have a different experience then I did in the past.
  17. Looks good pops

    I understand about the typing. I am very grateful for spell checking.

    I used to wrap all my cheese until i saw how the pellets would do. I now just set the cheese on these plastic mats from Little chief smokers and put them on the racks in the UDS and no bending or driping.  Works great.

    Easy to wash also.

    I love smoked Cream cheese on my baked spud. Yum

    Keep practicing on the typing as the brain does get better with the exercise. They ignored my brain injury for years so some damage cannot be undone and it has been found that the more you work and the sooner you work on the brain it does like all muscles and get better.

    Good Luck and God Bless

  18. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another excellent post!  Thanks Pops.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Perfect looking cheese, Pops!!!

    Looks like that load could have gone 11 or 12 hours. Just can't beat that AMNPS !!!



    Ross----I froze some cheese, and the same thing happened to mine----Very crumbly!
  20. smokin - k

    smokin - k Meat Mopper

    Great Job POPS!  This site is also therapy for me... Keep up the good work and thanks for the post! Happy Smoking, Smokin - K