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What's your favorite wood for cheese?

Discussion in 'Smoked Cheese' started by mfreel, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    So far, I've used oak, hickory and a mixture of mostly apple and a little hickory.

    I noticed that the apple/hickory didn't put as much color on the cheese.  I went about 2:45 with my last batch because I thought the previous batches were a little smoke-heavy.  However, the color was really light.  I'm using my AMNPS in a MES30.  Temp didn't get above 75 and stayed mainly around 70.

    Is there an optimal temp for cold smoking cheese?

    What wood do you like to use?  
  2. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    Someone had swore by a mix of alder & pecan.  I tried that on Sharp White Cheddar and Pepper Jack.  Excellent.  I just finished up a batch with apple.

    As far as temperature, it probably depends on the cheese.  
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Alder works well on cheeses of most types.

    For optimal results, keep your hard cheeses below 80°, soft cheeses should be kept below 55°.

  4. dan - firecraft

    dan - firecraft Smoke Blower

    Alder is nice and light. Have tried cherry and turned out okay.
  5. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have really been liking maple lately and 3 hours is a good time for me.
  6. I'm curious about this as well.  I just ordered an AMNPS and i'm planning to try smoking some cheese very soon.
  7. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I vote for Cherry.  So far its my fav. .  The Pitmaster mix I got from Todd is also good. 

  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    For hard cheeses I really like a light hickory, goes good with most anything. For softer cheese I like apple or cherry.
  9. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    I just put another batch in with apple/cherry 75/25.  We'll see what happens.
  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Everybody has their favorite.

    With the AMNS, ours is a 50/50 mix of cherry and maple.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  11. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I sure like apple.
  12. knuckle47

    knuckle47 Meat Mopper

    I've only really had cob smoked cheddar. I am building a cold smoker out of a used whiskey barrel and have been saving and drying corn cobs all summer long. First smoke coming up shortly. I am waiting for the cooler weather to take hold. Also plan on a trial run
  13. my go to is apple with a touch of hickory but here recently i have been reading about the success of peach so i am going to order some peach from Todd and give it a whirl and see where we land.

  14. pureflusher

    pureflusher Fire Starter

  15. Knuckle47

    Hope your whiskey barrel smoker is going well.  I built one about 30 years ago and it is still going strong.  I sliced the bung hole end off at about 12", and put a large long gate hinge on it with small chains on each side so I could tip it back with the handle.  I used 3/8 SS tubing for my rack holders with three perforated metal racks.  I flared only one end so I can slide them out the front to remove  the lower racks.  For smoke I have an old metal milk box with a 4 ft piece of 6 in single wall stove pipe over entering a hole in the bottom side of the barrel.  I have a heating element from an electric range which on 110V provides good smolder temperature in the milk box to produce smoke. The thin metal pipe cools well.  I used a couple of short 4x4s to sit it on to get it up off the concrete and angles my smoke pipe upward at a slight angle.

    I have smoked a ton of cheese on it.  We usually cut block cheese in 3/8 in slices for a 20 min smoke.  It is also great for buying 5 or so lbs of bacon at the store, smoking it, and putting it in the freezer in small packages for frying later.  Smoked eggs and anything you can think of is very easy.  I have a very small round propane burner I can make a small flame in the bottom to dry jerky while smoking also.

    I would suggest pouring a little water in it frequently.  I had to drill and screw each board to each band to keep it together after mine dried a few years while I had it in storage.  Good luck to you.
  16. People might disagree with me, but I like Pecan so far. I have done a batch with hickory and a batch with apple/cherry mix as well as the pecan.

  17. knuckle47

    knuckle47 Meat Mopper


    Thank you for the details on your well run smoker. We had 3 barrels from 1994 when I coerced my 88 year old grandmother that she needed to pass along the family wine making techniques as she was the only one left that knew what to do.

    She was the most energetic winemaker partner and we had the greatest time. One of those barrels was outside turning to topsoil so I rescued it and rebuilt the bottom. When I tell you my grandmother knew what to do, she showed me how to completely rebuild barrels to watertight status. With that in my head I made a new bottom and re assembled the entire thing.

    I wanted a door to load and check rather than a top loader so screwing the staves into the rings was a necessity in order to hold it all together but it all worked out well. Being the anxious and excited type, I threw a sheet of expanded metal into the barrel and so far, smoked about 12 lbs of cheese on December 7. Opened two on the 29th and it's gone.

    I need to do something better for an exhaust stack, how did you handle that? Nice reading your comments
  18. knuckle47

    knuckle47 Meat Mopper

    So we wind up today with a foot of snow and it is cold out, really cold. Sitting here watching TV and wolfed down half a bag of pistachio nuts.

    Does anyone know if the shells might be useable for smoking in the AMNPS ?
  19. WOW Knuckle47,

    you had my undivided attention with  the word "Pistachio" one of my major food groups. running the shells thru a food processor to break them down should be doable and then i think tey would stay burning. a lump to get them started i might try them whole in my smoke daddy, powder them up? to put in my shaving smoker.

    Thanks for the idea!

  20. knuckle47

    knuckle47 Meat Mopper

    Hi Tom,

    I read somewhere that nut bearing trees make good smoking wood. I'm just nut sure about how good pistachio shells may be. I would hope it's not a dangerous use as some woods can be and don't see myself peeling acorns despite the high quality of oak. I know I already saved enough shells for a good 4 hour smoke :biggrin:

    We should compare notes in a few weeks !