Definitive MES cheese smoke without cold smoking attachment

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by mvincent42, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Ok, so I was either too cheap or too lazy to get a cold smoking attachment for my mes 30. However, the reason I got it was to smoke cheese (insert newbie smoker joke here.) I did get a smoker I could set at 100* and still get smoke, so at least that was a step in the right direction. Everyone on the forum had lots of great suggestions, and I have smoked cheese successfully twice now. This will be #3. I have tried to help out as many people as I could, but the info is all over. So I made this "cheese-view." Hope it can help out as many people as possible.

    Let me start by saying it is currently 35* outside. Also my probe thermometer took a crap so even though it is in the pictures it is not in my smoker.

    I started with a package of Cabot extra sharp white cheddar:

    Next, I cut it into quarters

    And put it in the freezer for a half hour so it was really firm

    When it was almost ready, I got out my frozen water bottles. I have 3 frozen 2 liter bottles and 4 frozen 1 liter bottles.

    Next, I got my water pan and filled it with ice. I got the cheese out and loaded it on my rack.

    Next I loaded everything in the smoker. Water pan on bottom, the 2 liters, then the cheese, then the frozen 1 liters on top.

    Loaded up with hickory chips, and turned her on for 3 hours at 100*. 20 minutes in and the temp inside the smoker is hovering between 95* and 100*. Smoke is flowing.

    More in a bit...
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That is a great set up and should work for you. Not trying to be a Jerk but what would you suggest for the guys that smoke 10 to 20 pounds at a time? One of the A-maze-n Products is an inexpensive addition to make smoke life simple...JJ
  3. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Absolutely jimmy, but for guys with little rigs like an mes 30 that want to smoke cheese it is a great setup. Especially if somebody doesn't want to modify their mes. Or don't have the cash to get mods. Or who may not have thought about smoking cheese because they don't feel like they have the right setup. Or want to try cold smoking before they get an attachment or new smoker.

    Also if you had a bigger rig and didn't have a separate smoke box and couldn't control your heat down to 100* or so it probably wouldn't work out anyway. My mes might hold 10 lbs on 2 shelves, but that would be pushing it. This works if you have 1 or 2 shelves of cheese. If you have the cash to throw down on 30 lbs of cheese or the time and desire to make it, I say yes! Get an AMNPS! I would in a heartbeat!
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  4. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    So...3 hours later and my cheese was still cool to the touch. I pulled everything out of the smoker and washed the bottles (otherwise they get smagma all over me when I carry them.) I love the way the white cheddar turns yellowish.

    Next I wrapped them in 2 layers of plastic wrap since I don't have a vacuum sealer or wax or whatever else you might use.

    Then in the ziplock bag and marked with the date.

    Now into the back of the bottom drawer of the fridge so I forget about it for 2 weeks. Hopefully it will turn out just as good as my last 2 batches.

    So for everyone who has been asking me to post this (or to those who havent,) hope it helps. I have talked to lots of people that have done other cheeses and used other woods (like fruit woods) but I like hickory smoked extra sharp white cheddar. All in all it is about a 3 1/2 hour process that starts the longest 2 weeks of your life.

    Thanks for reading,

  5. Nice little write up.  [​IMG]   You don't have to mod your smoker though to use an AMNPS for cold smoking - I cold smoke cheese all the time in my MES 30 with one. It fits perfectly on the rails in the bottom left of the smoker. I would actually NEVER go back to using my MES without it - it makes that much difference...

    Anyways have you had any trouble with condensation forming on the top ice bottles & dripping down on your cheese? Just curious... 

    Your cheese took on some good color  [​IMG]
  6. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the kind words and info on the amnps, smoking b. I have not had any problems with condensation on the cheese. Not even wet on top a little. Not sure how that works out but it does....
  7. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice write up Mike!  And good job on the cheese.

    I would second B's question about the condensation from the ice bottles.

  8. Ditto to Smokin Bs comments on the MES and the AMNPS. I did 9 pounds of cheese today, along with three pounds of ground beef salami, on three of the four shelves of my MES30, in apple wood in the MES with just the AMNPS and sawdust. Microwaved the saw dust first, lit it with a blow torch and off it went. Since it was in the 30s here today, temperature wasn't a problem.

    I'll still use my Smokin-It for hot smoking, but for cold smoking, you can't beat the AMNPS.
  9. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Once again, just trying to help out the folks that don't have the amnps or equivalent. Its not the tools, its making good things to eat!
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    No doubt and totally agree! We do appreciate the post of your good work. That is a perfect set up and will be valuable for anybody looking to get a quick start on Cold Smoking. Please don't take offense at all the passionate AMNPS owners who live the Easy life now and can't help but share our recommendation...JJ
  11. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Absolutely guys and don't think I am in any way offended by discussion. And that's what this was about was helping out people like me that have a basic setup and don't have lots of experience.
  12. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cheese is on my list to do too!  Thanks for posting this thread....looks easy peasy!  
  13. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    It truly is. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
  14. I have no idea what an AMNPS is but I melted a whole batch of cheddar into a drip pan before I realized I needed cold smoke.

     I made an external smoke unit with an element from a Little Chief and some aluminum It is about a 12 inch cube. The smoke pipe from it fits into the chip tray hole on the side of my MES 30

     My favorite smoked cheese is Jarlsberg from Norway (Costco).

     Oh yes the cheddar puddle. It was great on waffles in a toaster oven.
  15. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Dude! Sounds like you found a very good solution to a difficult problem! Did you get any good cheese out of it? I probably would have eaten all the cheese from the drip pan and called it delicious.

    Email me if I can help!
  16. katemail13

    katemail13 Fire Starter

    This is a great write-up, and I have saved the link, so I can come back to it.  I'd really like to try this!

  17. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I put freezer ice in two foil trays on bottom rack, then put the AMPS on the very bottom. I never turn the smoker on, just use the AMPS and am able to keep it in the 50 degree range if outside temp is in the same range.

    Aren't you concerned about having the plastic in the smoker ? leaching..just asking. I suppose you could also use block ice and just let it drip into pans underneath. As long as it works for you is what matters I suppose.



  18. mvincent42

    mvincent42 Meat Mopper

    Never get my smoker hot enough for the plastic to be a problem! Whatever works is my motto!
  19. So I see that you have an MES 40 as do I.  I am very very interested in cold smoking some cheese.  I'm not sure if it ever goes on sale here in my area however, we have an ALDI's and the prices for a typical brick of cheese is about $1.79... That's not all that bad.... Sorry, I digressed.....  Anyways, in reading several posts it sounds like what you are doing is just putting the cheese on either the TOP or SECOND rack and running the AMNPS (I place mine on the bottom under the water pan) and then the rack above it your putting some ice (like from the 2lb bags you pick up at the grocery store) and DO NOT even turn the smoker on... Are you saying the heat generated from the AMNPS and the ice is enough to create smoke to penetrate the cheese?  Thanks for any guidance you all can provide.  I've done a ton of smoking and enjoyed it and I"m trying to branch out a little of my comfort zone....

    Merry Christmas,

  20. No ice. I have the 30. Just did a batch and I put the AMNPS on the bottom to the left of the element. I wrapped the lowest rack in foil just in case.

    I smoked 3 hours without opening the door. Was about 30* outside. The cheese looked good, we have to wait for the aging to taste it.

    Ice, I am told will cause too much moisture. I have no first hand experience.

    I had to try three times to get a batch to work.


    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2

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