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First Attempt at Smoked Cheese - Planning 10/14/18

Discussion in 'Smoked Cheese' started by CSR, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    I am getting ready to smoke some cheese and I am looking for any recommendations on how to proceed. What I am working with:

    5 lb block of Mozzerella
    3 8oz blocks of extra sharp cheddar
    3 8oz blocks of pepperjack
    1 8oz block of colby
    1 8oz block of colby jack
    **May add cheese sticks and some gouda, among others as the time leads up**

    1 XL Big Green Egg with plate setter for indirect heat/smoke
    1 A-Maze-N 12" tube
    More apple pellets than I will need
    Ice to keep temp down

    My initial questions?
    - Because I am not using fresh mozz, will I be able to leave all the cheese on for about the same time (I do plan to mix up my times between bricks)?
    - Will my results be hindered without a mail box setup?
    JC in GB likes this.
  2. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Clean out the BGE.

    Pellet tube in the bottom of the BGE on the firebox grate.

    Plate setter legs up

    Ice pan or frozen bottles of water on top of the plate setter (if warm outside)

    Clean rack on top of plate setter

    Cheese on top of clean rack smoked for 3 hours (3 hours is generally agreed as the best amount of time)

    After smoking cheese into fridge uncovered overnight to gas off

    Next day vac pack or 2 layer of plastic wrap and into a zip top bag and store in fridge for minimum of 3 weeks to mellow.

    You results will not be hinders w/o the mailbox mod. I cold smoke my bacons in a large BGE set up as above with exceptional results.
    ksblazer likes this.
  3. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I don't know how big an XL BGE grate is but will it all fit?

    My suggestions:
    1st cut the 5lb block of Mozz into smaller 1/2lb pieces. for better smoke penetration. 2nd drop the ice and go with frozen jugs of either water or soda(less moisture). 3rd Since this is your first attempt. Start off with one block of cheese. After an hour slice a piece off and see how it tastes to you. It it's too strong wrap it and place it in the fridge overnight. Then try it again in the morning. If it's not strong enough put it back on the smoker for another half hour to an hour and re-taste.

    ksblazer likes this.
  4. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Having used a pan of ice multiple times I have never experienced an adverse effect. If its a big concert a aluminium 1/4 pan full of ice cubes could be covered in foil or plastic wrap to help. But no matter using bottle or pans the vessel either will sweat and put moisture into the cavity of the smoker.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Above is a good way to get smoked cheese, but requires a long rest to mellow. The benefit of the mailbox, is you can add 6+ feet , more the better, of drier hose or other pipe between the mailbox and the smoker. Piping the smoke let's any nasty phenols and creosote condense out before the smoke reaches the cheese. The result is, you are only getting sweet tasting smoke. The result is you will be eating tasty and mellow flavored Smokey cheese, 24-48 hours later. No need for the long rest to mellow and dissipate the strong flavors. Additionally if it is cool where you are at < 80 degrees, there is no need to fuss with frozen bottles to cool the smoke. The smoke cools in the duct...JJ
  6. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the replies! I plan to chop up the blocks and pull them at a few different times to see what I like best. I am going to use sheet racks double stacked with bolts to be able to fit all the cheese.

    Temps are expected to be in the 40-50's, which is why I am targeting that day.

    I don't think I will have time to build the mod for this run, but if the cheese is as good as I am hoping, I will likely make that my next project.
  7. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    JJ I haven't seen anyone use the MBMod on a BGE. Is it possible.

    Holly, I like frozen jugs for two reasons, one - the water doesn't spill when removing them from the smoker, and two I don't really see to much sweat coming off the jugs, and if they start sweating I can place a kitchen towel over them.

  8. bregent

    bregent Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great tips so far. I agree that it being your first attempt, start with just a few pieces and see how it goes. Being in the 40's, you may not even need any ice.

    JJ's comment about the mailbox mod and dryer hose is right on. I use about 8 feet of hose and the cheese can be consumed right after smoking, without any of that ashtray taste you get when the tube/tray is in close proximity. If you can't mod the BGE, you can easily build a cardboard cold smoker that works great for cheese.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A hose/pipe to the BGE fresh air hole will get it done. You are putting a round peg on square hole, but you dont need a seal . The hose should be malleable enough to smash a bit and fit it...JJ
    gmc2003 likes this.
  10. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    Welp, I decided to start a day early. The temps were below 40 and I have big plans for tomorrow, so I decided to throw the cheese on today. Many things appeared to have gone wrong, so it will be many weeks before I know if I have edible cheese.

    - The pellet smoke never seemed to get to a TBS level. Always thick white smoke.
    - Even in the 40 degree weather, my smoker got up to 85 even with ice so I cut the smoke short at 2.5 hours.

    I tasted a small edge piece and I thought I licked the ash from my smoker. Left it out for a couple hours and now in the fridge chilling. Will vacuum seal tonight or tomorrow morning and play the waiting game.

    - I bought the cheap Traeger pellets, maybe that was part of the problem
    - I had my vents open wide to ensure the pellets didn't go out, definately didn't seem to be an issue
    - Need to wait a few more weeks until it is near freezing before I try again
    - Fingers crossed that a month or 2 will turn this into edible cheese!!

    Will drop the photos in once they transfer...
  11. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Sorry it didn't work out as expected. The good news is - it should mellow in a couple of weeks(depending on your taste buds). First thought is the BGE is to well insulated for cheese smoking, but something just doesn't sound right. I can't think of any circumstances where the tube would raise the temps by 45*. I can however see where the tube would produce to much smoke. Next time, maybe try filling the tube up half way. Then hold it horizontal to the ground and shake the pellets so they lay end to end filling the tube only half way. Your results are unfortunately why I suggested only smoking one block at a time and testing until you understand how it works and you have a firm grasp on your process. I learned this the hard way as apparently you just did. I'm not trying to come across as a harda$$, but trying to save some folks from repeating the same mistakes that I made. Good luck with your next attempt and let us know if you have any questions. @Holly2015 uses a BGE(I think), so maybe he/she can provide some insight into the rise in temp and offer solutions on correcting it.


    p.s. I've been smoking cigarettes for just a tad over 40 years, and have yet to taste an ashtray. So how do folks know what it tastes like to lick one. Must be like the tide pod challenge I suppose.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    p.s. I've been smoking cigarettes for just a tad over 40 years, and have yet to taste an ashtray. So how do folks know what it tastes like to lick one. Must be like the tide pod challenge I suppose...

    LOL...I have had the same thought. Along that line, my kid takes a taste of my excellent Liver Pate and exclaims, " THIS TASTES LIKE S#!T!!! " I asked, " How many varieties of S#!T have you sampled? "...JJ
  13. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    Thanks for the feedback, we will give the cheese a shot in a couple weeks and report back. Agree 100% on the 1 block at a time, but my stomach is bigger than my brain and I went all out. Thankfully the investment was only around $20 so its not as bad as messing up a brisket.
  14. ddufore

    ddufore Meat Mopper

    I agree with Holly on the cheese smoking procedure. I have a XL BGE and use the same method minus the ice. I opened a pack of xsharp cheddar that I smoked in April over corn cob pellets yesterday for my blacksmith buddies and it was gone in 10 minutes. Give it some time and it should mellow.
  15. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The good news is your cheese will be fine in a few weeks of mellowing. When its time to open the cheese snip off a corner of the bag to release the vacuum and place the cheese back in the fridge for a couple of hours to let it adjust to atmospheric pressure the cut up an enjoy.
    ddufore likes this.
  16. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    Letting it mellow now, thanks for all the feedback. Will work on my technique before going this big again...
    IMG_3667.jpg IMG_3672.jpg
  17. ddufore

    ddufore Meat Mopper

    Nice color.
  18. CSR

    CSR Fire Starter

    Just to post an update, we are a month in and the harshness is still in the cheese. Working on a mailbox mod now that I will use for my next run. I'm hoping with more time the cheese will improve, I'm hoping to serve some up in early December for an x-mas get together.
  19. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also consider a tray and dust. Totally converted to dust for cheese now. Will be ready in a week...
  20. ddufore

    ddufore Meat Mopper

    What is your method for dust? How much and for how long? Thanks.