I think I did some stuff wrong

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Original poster
Dec 17, 2013
This was my 1st shot at smoking cheese. My smoker is an MES 30 but not electric.

I bought 3 different cheeses which might have been a mistake.

Sharp cheddar, Fontina, Hvarti with the cheddar being hard and the other two being soft.

I smoked them about 2.5 hours at temperatures ranging from 65 - 80. Mostly around 70 but once in a while the temp shot up.

I used the AMNPS and filled it 1/3 full with the bourbon sawdust. I also lit a few scraps of hickory wood chips and put them in the wood box.

The cheese did not change color much and the taste was not good. My wife says that it tastes burned and I think it tastes like an ashtray would taste if I were so inclined as to lick one.

So, I had better go back to square one and pick one cheese and one type of chips and start all over.

I am thinking apple with maybe some of the leftover Hvarti though both the Hvarti and Fontina are kinda soft.

What other cheese would you recommend ?

Hextejas, dont worry about the taste.

wrap the cheese in plastic wrap and then into the fridge, let it age for at least 2 weeks.

the smoke will mellow as it soaks all the way through the cheese.

it takes will power to stay out of it but you will be rewarded.
After 2 weeks, you will want to smoke more cheese.... I just opened cheese from Oct. 2012... the older it gets, the better it gets...
Yeah, what they said. Let it rest for a while.
And, just for info..... if you don't have electric its not an MES. (Masterbuilt Electric Smoker).
Yeah, what they said. Let it rest for a while.
And, just for info..... if you don't have electric its not an MES. (Masterbuilt Electric Smoker).

Haha, I don't know what else to call it. MS maybe .

And I will pass on to the wife about waiting.

Thanks again.
Yeah, the waiting is the hard part. But you'll find that patience is truly a virtue in the smoking world. If you do bacon, let it rest for a few days and it goes from ok to great, just like cheese. Brisket.... letting it rest all wrapped up for a couple hours and not tasting can be damned painful!
I try to go at least 4 weeks but that's just me. I have some that will be smoked 2 years ago in march.

 The longer it sits the better it gets.
I hope you didn't throw that cheese out!

Like the others have said, you must let the cheese mellow for at least 2 weeks.  I usually wait a month or more.  Many people use vacuum sealers after smoking, but I am too cheap to buy one, lol.  I just wrap in plastic wrap and ziplock.

Send me the cheese and I'll let you know how it tastes in a couple weeks.

I have some that's about 2 months old that's fantastic.  Can't seem to keep it around much longer than that.

I've also found that the cheese being kept at room temp is better than the stuff that is refrigerated.
So you get the idea with all the comments stated...gotta wait 2 weeks minmum. I can only add the mistake I made so you can be prepared.

As a trial, I smoked 3 small quarter pound pieces of cheddar. Waited 18 days....we sampled the cheeses over 3 days and those pieces were gone. I was now another 2 weeks away from enjoying the best cob smoked cheddar I'd ever had.

The lesson I've learned is that I am now smoking cheeses every few days as long as the colder weather is here. By April I hope to have about 35-50 lbs of vac seal smoked cheeses because by June, there is going to be a long dry spell. This is one of the easiest and most rewarding things I've done in quite some time. My entire family enjoyed it
That's my plan, too. I'm smoking a lot of cheese while the weather is cold so I'll have a good bit saved away to last the warmer parts of the year. And the longer it ages, the better it seems to get.

It also gets more even and less strong in flavor, which has me wanting to smoke it a bit stronger than I initially did so that even after aging, it'll be a bit more smokey.

There's a lot of trial and error involved, but this thread really helped get me started on the right track:
Remember, this will be a "Science" experiment.  Keep detailed notes.  Smoker Temp, Ambient temp, Time each piece in smoke, Size/thickness of each piece, etc.

You need to let it mellow.

For future smoking, I would smoke several pieces of each cheese.  Take them out of the smoker at different times, making sure you label them appropriately.  This will allow you to cut down on experimentation time.  I would smoke a couple varieties at a time as well.  

Agreed.  Do 6 pieces of the same cheese.

For example,

Pull 2 at 2 hours and let them sit a couple hours before you vacuum seal them.

Pull the next 2 at 2.5 hours.

Pull the last 2 at 3 hours.  The time just depends on you.  You could go out to 3.5 or even 4 hours, although I think that's a little long.

Then you can taste the difference in variations of time in the smoke.  ALSO, I suggest you try one at 2 weeks and one at a month.  You'll DEFINITELY taste a difference!!!!

It's like a science experiment.  This is fun stuff!!!!

I've found that I like cheeses smoked for 2.5 hours in a mix of apple and cherry.  The longer I can let them sit, the better the flavor, IMHO.

Now.....you're a professional cheese smoker!
I have a question to add to this thread if you guys don't mind.  So once smoked the cheese sits out for a hour or so room temp before wrapping?  Also when wrapping is the cheese oiled?  Last one, after wrapping it is just stored in the reefer for aging?

thanks for any input.
You asked " So once smoked the cheese sits out for a hour or so room temp before wrapping?"
The answer is yes, that's one right way of doing it. You can also cover it with some plastic wrap and throw it in the fridge for a few hours up to overnight (that's what I do), but there's really no wrong way. In my early day's, I would vac seal it almost immediately out of the smoker and noticed no issues a month later.

"Also when wrapping is the cheese oiled?"
Again, this is one right way of doing. The oils supposedly helps fend off mold. I have a vac sealer so I've never felt the need to oil, but if you are just wrapping in sran wrap, you may want input from others about the decision to oil.

"After wrapping it is just stored in the reefer for aging?"
I keep mine in the fridge just for simplicity's sake, but I agree that the harder cheeses (cheddar, swiss, etc..) age better on the shelf of a cool basement or garage. As long as it's wrapped tight and the temp stays below 65F, you should be fine. Again, look deeper into oiling if you decide to go this route. Might end up helping. I dont really know either way.
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Ditto to Humdinger, except I have never oiled the cheese.  I think the smoke itself acts like an antibacterial coating.

IMHO, cheese left out at room temp in my basement, around 68-70, is the best.  AND, the older it gets, the better it tastes. My oldest is only 2 months.  It doesn't seem to last much longer than that.  Some folks on here have cheese that's 2+ years old. However, my head still won't get with my taste buds, so I'm 50-50.  Half of it is on the workbench and half is in the fridge.
Thanks for the input on the oil. Like I said I vac seal and refridgerate so I wasn't sure if oil was something others do regularly.
Quite possibly you may want to do a little reading on cheese waxing. It seems that cheeses stored in this manner can store for several years. The special waxes are not really expensive.

I would try it but...once a month or so goes by, my inventory of smoked cheese needs to be re-stocked. I don't see any waiting 3-4 years. ;)
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I just smoked afew slices of soft mozzarella today for the first time in my big chief. I used one pan of hickory and apple mix for about 1 hr and it has a nice mild smoke taste. I let everyone try it here at my place and they all liked it. My one mistake was I let it get to hot and melt just a tad around the sides.  Hickory and apple seem to have a good mild taste...
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