First time smoked cheese, possible fail

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Big Grouch

Smoke Blower
Original poster
Mar 11, 2021
125
117
Bought an A-Maze-N 12 inch non expandable smoke tube. I used Pit Boss apple pellets, used many times with good success. Cheese was a block of sharp cheddar and a block of whole milk mozzarella. Used my Camp Chef PG36 pellet grill, turned off. Put the cheese near the stack, on upper rack and smoker tube on lower rack on opposite end. Temp stayed at 75-80 the entire 4 hours. Cheese has an overwhelming plastic or chemical smell. Didn't eat any yet, it's now vacuum packed. During the cook, the first two hours anyway everything seemed to go well. The only thing I can think of is the smoke tube had some oil or gunk on it that I didn't see. It was the first time I used it. Any other ideas? I'll wait 2 weeks before trying the cheese. Thanks.
 
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It's the nature of the pellets .. most of the brands have "flavored" oils in them which produces that oily feel on the cheese.
 
You might try getting a drain pipe and hook it up via mailbox method to clean up the smoke a bit before it hits the chamber? Sorry to hear about the issue. Good luck at next swing!
 
Bought an A-Maze-N 12 inch non expandable smoke tube. I used Pit Boss apple pellets, used many times with good success. Cheese was a block of sharp cheddar and a block of whole milk mozzarella. Used my Camp Chef PG36 pellet grill, turned off. Put the cheese near the stack, on upper rack and smoker tube on lower rack on opposite end. Temp stayed at 75-80 the entire 4 hours. Cheese has an overwhelming plastic or chemical smell. Didn't eat any yet, it's now vacuum packed. During the cook, the first two hours anyway everything seemed to go well. The only thing I can think of is the smoke tube had some oil or gunk on it that I didn't see. It was the first time I used it. Any other ideas? I'll wait 2 weeks before trying the cheese. Thanks.
I had same experience sorta. bought one of those stupid tubes for my MES and maybe Kamado. Just 1/2 filled and "attempted" to light it with Pit Boss apple pellets. once i finally got it to barely smolder i put on bottom shelf wit a block of craker barrel pepper jack. after about an hour i removed and put it in a sealed sandwich bag in frige. to me, th cheese was over powered by the smoke., but the Mrs.. liked it.so far 'm not a fan of the tube. maybe I'm not smart enough to master it. At any rate i have a 20lb bag of apple pellets I'll never use.
 
I had same experience sorta. bought one of those stupid tubes for my MES and maybe Kamado. Just 1/2 filled and "attempted" to light it with Pit Boss apple pellets. once i finally got it to barely smolder i put on bottom shelf wit a block of craker barrel pepper jack. after about an hour i removed and put it in a sealed sandwich bag in frige. to me, th cheese was over powered by the smoke., but the Mrs.. liked it.so far 'm not a fan of the tube. maybe I'm not smart enough to master it. At any rate i have a 20lb bag of apple pellets I'll never use.

You need to fill the tube to the top and use a small propane torch to light the pellets. Let them burn for about 10 min then snuff out the flames and let it smolder to produce the smoke. There's a ton of YouTube videos on this subject.
 
did you season your tube before ya used it, that could be the culprit of your chemical taste.
I didn't. It didn't feel oily or anything, so I just filled it and lit it up. That's a possibility
 
I filled the tube with the same Pit Boss apple pellets and lit it up. Smells bad. Had two other folks give their opinion, they agreed. One said it smelled like burning a Christmas tree. I suspect the pellets now. I used these pellets for an 18 hour pork butt smoke, came out excellent. Perhaps it's the large amount of smoke is just too much.
 
I put the smoker tube on my Weber kettle to find what went wrong, it seems like too much smoke and perhaps the wrong pellets. Opening up the kettle it looked like I was doing special effects for a Cheech and Chong movie. Certainly not the desirable "thin blue smoke" we're after.
 

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I put the smoker tube on my Weber kettle to find what went wrong, it seems like too much smoke and perhaps the wrong pellets. Opening up the kettle it looked like I was doing special effects for a Cheech and Chong movie. Certainly not the desirable "thin blue smoke" we're after.

Smoldering pellets in a tube is not going to produce the thin blue smoke that's desired from burning wood
 
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I use 100% apple and cherry pellets. Like Kilo Charlie said, most pellets are only flavored with oils. You have to look at labels to make sure they are made with the desired wood. At one time lumberjack had some 100% fruitwood pellets, don't know if they still do.
Also I think 4 hours may be too much. I only do 2 to 2.5 hours of smoke with my cheeses. And I wait a minimum of 7 days (14 is better) before tasting.
I also get more smoke out of my tube than I do with the tray, so you might try a tray.
 
I have that same tube and never noticed a smell like that, even when new.
If you've used those pellets for successful cooks I don't think that's the problem.
Might be airflow. You don't want the smoke to just sit there but move over the cheese.
After smoking, I put the cheese in a large zip lock bag (unzipped) to air in the fridge over night and vac-seal the next day.
I don't even think about tasting until after 30 days.
 
I have that same tube and never noticed a smell like that, even when new.
If you've used those pellets for successful cooks I don't think that's the problem.
Might be airflow. You don't want the smoke to just sit there but move over the cheese.
After smoking, I put the cheese in a large zip lock bag (unzipped) to air in the fridge over night and vac-seal the next day.
I don't even think about tasting until after 30 days.
We have no shortage of "experts" on Youtube, I find Malcom Reed hasn't steered me wrong. I followed his method, with one difference. I put a grate over a pan with ice and water and put the cheese on that to keep the temp down. Also, he used a Yoder pellet grill which allows you to keep the fan on without burning pellets, Camp Chef can't do that. That would have kept the smoke flowing better.
 
In most applications, using a full tube is too much smoke. When I use to use the tube I would fill the tube halfway up, turn over on its side and shake it left and right vigorously to end up with a half filled tube horizontally. Even at that, I think the tube still produces way too much smoke for cheese.

Yes for dust as recommended, but don't know how it works in a tube. I use an AMNS for dust applications. I also wait a month plus before I taste the cheese. Having lots of last year's inventory in stock helps refrain from tasting the new batch. I use apple or cherry.
 
I've only smoked cheese twice, but now that the weather is better for it, gonna do some more. Both of mine tasted like licking an ashtray after taking them out. I wrapped up and put in the fridge for two weeks before breaking into them and they were pretty good. One brick actually made it all the way in the back of the fridge for 6 months and I just now finished it up. Man, that was a good piece of cheese. Definitely patience is needed, but worth it.
 
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I think it will eventually mellow out.
It just needs to sit in the fridge for a month or so.
I would let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days, then vac pack it & check it in a month.
Al
 
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Try using 100% wood pellets, Lumberjack makes many varieties and are what I use. I also microwave my pellets for 2-3 minutes before loading them up in my tray, makes them light much better with a torch. I put a deflection shield of aluminum foil over the tray to keep heat off of my cheese (standup 30" MES). Two hours max, let it rest for a few hours to cool and sweat if it needs to. Wipe off the sweat if there is any and vacuum seal. You can rest in the fridge to help dry the sweat off as it forms. DO NOT consume for two weeks. Longer the better. Cheese fresh off the smoker has an acrid taste to it many find unappealing. Last Sunday was the two week mark for my first batch of the year and it has mellowed immensely and is delicious.
 
Thanks for all the advice. It's currently vacuum packed and in the fridge. I'll try it maybe at Thanksgiving, that'll give it 4 weeks.
For this cook I used Pit Boss apple pellets, they claim they are 100% wood. However, I examined the A Maze N smoke tube, it seems to have some sort dripping on the outside, like plastic melting. Could it be from whatever is in the wood that they say is what binds it into a pellet?
In any case, thank you for all the advice.
 

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The Mailbox mod with Pellets and at least 6 feet of hose will give time for much of the nasty tasting stuff in smoke to condense out. I've seen some guys go longer.😳 In any event the cheese will be ready to eat, no waiting. If the mailbox is not an option, Dust in the 5x8" AMNPS is the best option. Cheese needs light smoke and Dust give it with less Creosote than Pellets.
Note: The Tube was designed for Hot Smoke applications like in Propane and Pellet Grills. The high heat and fast convection, moves the heavier smoke past the meat and out the exhaust. Not the best choice for Cold Smoked Cheese...JJ
 
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