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First Time Cheese - Smoked, Rested, Still Not Good...Advice?

Discussion in 'Smoked Cheese' started by McCann519, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. McCann519

    McCann519 Fire Starter

    Hi Guys,

    Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience or has any advice.

    I tried smoking cheese for the first time over the holidays between Christmas and New Years. I used my MES with the mailbox MOD and AMNPS with cookinpellets perfect blend pellets. I smoked half the batch for 3 hours and the other half for 4 hours as I seen most people stick between 2-4 hours. The smoker temp stayed between 65-90 deg the entire smoke.

    Once it was complete, I let it rest on the counter for 2-3 hours to allow it to stabilize before wrapping and bagging and putting in the fridge. I let it sit for 2-3 weeks before I tried any and it was awful!! Lol it tasted and smelled like a campfire.

    So, seeing all the advice to let it age, I wrapped it back up and let it sit until this past weekend when I unwrapped and took another taste. It had mellowed slightly but was still very strong. So I cut each piece in half lengthwise to expose as much new surface area as possible without cutting into small pieces. I believe I read on here, this can help mellow things out further.

    I am kind of at a loss at this point, as I am not sure where I went wrong. I have tried commercially smoked cheese and highly enjoyed it, but this does not taste anything like it. If anybody has any tips for this batch, or the next it would be greatly appreciated. I will definitely try less smoking time the next batch, but it seems like most people get pretty good results, using the method I did.

    Here are some pics from when I first smoked it. I do not have any recently, but the colour seems to have deepened from these pics.

    20171227_161238.jpg 20171227_161249.jpg
  2. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    Not that much you can do to change the taste of the current batch except for letting it age for a long time. As to future smokes, it does not sound like you are doing anything wrong, but you can consider colder temperatures and/or shorter smoke times.

    My personal preference is alder or pecan for about 2 hours at a relatively high temperature, but then again, I like the bite of the smoke.
    McCann519 likes this.
  3. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Patience Grasshopper. Yesterday I opened a package of smoked colby that had been resting for 10 weeks and the acrid smokeyness that was there in the beginning and still noticeable after 6 weeks is now gone and what is left is a marvelous mellow smokiness.
    Hauser and McCann519 like this.
  4. SmokinAl

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

    You can always cut the outside skin off, that will take a lot of the heavy smoke flavor with it.
    Next time let it air dry in the fridge for 24 hours after smoking it, then vac pack it.
    Hauser, saltysandman and McCann519 like this.
  5. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In the same boat. Hang in there! Week 8 on my first run is tomorrow. Definitely improving after 6 weeks. I did 4 hours so I may have overdone it a little. Tasted the cheddar for first time yesterday and it was still a bit heavy but it has a really good almost sausage flavor that I never experienced with store bought smoked cheese. Excited! Need to get another batch going!
    McCann519 likes this.
  6. xray

    xray Master of the Pit

    If you’re willing to try again, maybe leave the smoked cheese in the fridge overnight before vacuum sealing instead of 2-3 hours.

    This way, you could see if it made a difference. Once I vacuum seal, I put in the beer fridge in the basement and try to forget about it for at least a month.
    YogiDog and McCann519 like this.
  7. McCann519

    McCann519 Fire Starter

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the tips/advice. I will let it go for another month or so just to see how it changes the taste. If it is still too strong, I will try cutting off the outer layer and go from there.

    My next batch will definitely be some experimentation with slightly lower hours / vs. full 24 hr rest after smoking.
    saltysandman likes this.
  8. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All good advice given above. It seems like a few people are experiencing the "too smokey a taste" in their cheese. I've gone through that as well(as I assume everybody whose smoked cheese has). I have found that many of my family and friends are the same way. When I smoke cheese for those who like a light smoke then I only use apple with an hour or so of smoke. My wife and I get apple with 2.5 to 3 hrs of apple pellet smoke. My son and daughter get hickory for 3 to 4 hrs. Half the fun is experimenting with different times and woods. Next time try a couple of blocks smoked for an hour, a couple smoked at 2hrs, and a couple smoked at 3hrs. Mark each block with time on the smoker. Test each after two weeks - if it's still to strong re-seal and try it again in 7 days and so on. Eventually you'll find your sweet spot. Then you'll have a guide to use in your future smokes.

    McCann519 likes this.
  9. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That's exactly what I did the first time I smoked cheese. Every 1/2 hour I'd remove another block from the smoker and label it. Now I know how long to smoke cheese--just depends on who it's for and what they like.
  10. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Somes better than others, but I always eat the evidence.
    That way nobody can complain. ;)

    It'll get better. Maybe a different wood could help?
    Right now I'm sittin on 5 pounds. Either it's getting better... or I'm getting use to lower standards. :p
  11. chitown smoker

    chitown smoker Fire Starter

    sounds like you might have not had thin blue smoke, but heavy white smoke.
  12. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just opened some cheese that is aged 3mo/12weeks now and while it is better it is still too strong. Not inedible, just too much for us. (4 hours corn cob). Plan to do more soon while it is still cool and aiming 2-3 hours. Myself and the family are still quite surprised how my cheese tastes. Tastes like it's meat and not "smoked cheese". It takes on a new life. Not a huge fan of cheddar but so far (not tried all flavors) it is the most meaty. Interesting stuff.
  13. Geebs

    Geebs Smoking Fanatic

    Great advice here Chris! I appreciate your wealth of knowledge.
  14. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    I rest my cheese those first two weeks in regular zip-lock bags as opposed to vacuum bagging.

    After the first two weeks I wipe the exterior of the chunks with paper towels, till dry, and then vacuum bag the cheese that I am not going to consume over the next several weeks.

    I've never had a problem of too smoky cheese, but can't say that that is a result of my method. I've never even sampled smoked cheese before a two week rest but I did smoke around 12 pounds for a friend and that batch was all gone by two weeks. He didn't complain about an acrid taste but I can't imagine that it was prime smoked cheese.
  15. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    Even after building the mailbox mod for my MES; "scrubbing" the smoke via condensation; using dust instead of pellets; and cleaning out the smoker, my cheese still tastes foul immediately after smoking and then never really mellows no matter how long I store it.

    Pretty much the same story as the OP.

    I have success with just about everything else and simply decided I won't bother smoking cheese any more. It just isn't that important, and I can now instead spend that same amount of time making many other great-tasting things.

    Thus, I finally figured, why bother?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  16. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did another run of cheese yesterday. Decided to do a split batch of 2 and 3 hours smokes on cob. Brought cheese to room temp first. After smoking I degassed outside an hour before an overnight rest in fridge on racks. Vac sealing tonight. I think the hour degas really helped. Last time I planned to rest a few hours inside on the counter but it was way too smokey for that. Smell in the fridge is much less potent than last time and already smells good. Fingers crossed.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    SonnyE likes this.
  17. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Degassed outside...
    Not familiar with that term. Could you explain, please?
  18. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not sure if it really applies to smoking food per se but degassing or offgassing is the period of time when chemicals stop evaporating are dissipating. The time something smells bad before it is smells good. IE The period of time it takes your wife to let you bring something in the house you just painted. ;) Like I said, not sure if it really applies to food but I decided to try it. No BS it smelled a heckuva lot more like food than campfire after the rest.
  19. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh, I didn't realize you were speaking of after the smoking. I thought you were speaking of before smoking prep.
    Yeah, I can surely relate to the wife's nose for No No's. I think it comes with Mother's Ears... :confused:
    Mine doesn't like many of my like's, IE: smells like fish, smells like something is burning, stinks, etc.

    I usually let a project harden. I will leave it outside for at least 24 hours to dry, harden, degass, fume off...:)
    I just didn't connect you meant for the smoke to dissipate.

    But I did get a touch`e yesterday. She jumped in the van to fetch the 2 YO granddaughter. Started honking the horn.
    I go out to see what's the matter (I consider honking to be rude).
    "The car won't start, it's dead!" she sez exasperated.
    "Take the truck then, I'll move a car seat." I offered.
    "You try it." she sez.
    Then the light bulb came on... this is a "keyless" van. You put the fob in your pocket or purse, and the car senses you are the owner, then it works at the push of door buttons, or a red button on the dash.
    She realized she didn't have the fob in her purse...:rolleyes:
    Once she recovered that from the drawer inside she was on her way. ;)

    Somethings burning alright... Somebody is a little low on brain grease. o_O
    :D LOL!
    bowdiddley and zwiller like this.
  20. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't let my cheese rest outside before mostly because of the wildlife around here, but I do let it rest on the counter in the kitchen for as long as possible before the overnight rest in the fridge. Good luck it sounds like you followed a good plan.

    zwiller likes this.