Cheese Archives

Spoke with the MAK Grills Support personnel to get the scoop on the temperatures of the Warmer/Smoking box of my MAK 2 Star General Pellet Grill, in order to smoke Cheese.   The ambient temperature in Central California will soon rise making it harder to smoke Cheese. Picked up some Cheddar and Gouda Cheese at Costco.

Cut the cheese down to size and let it rest on the counter top for a spell.  It’s good to let the cheese dry a little before smoking. Let it sit uncovered in a cool place (or even in the fridge) on wire racks for an hour or so. This forms a very thin skin or crust that acts as a barrier but allows the smoke to penetrate just fine.

Loaded the MAK 2 Star General Smoker box.

Setpoint to SMOKE using Hickory wood BBQ pellets.

Planning to smoke for 2 hours but an hour and 45 minutes into the smoke I decided to pull the cheese since a few chunks closest to the chamber were showing signs of melting a little.  Lesson learned:  Next time I will place a foil pan full of ice under the cheese to help in keeping the Smoke Box temperature down.

Here’s a view where I used an ice filled foil pan while smoking cheese in my Bradley Smoker.

In this closeup you can see a nice coloring of the cheese from the smoke and signs of a little bit of melting. I have used Apple when smoking cheese in the past but wanted to see the results of a bit of Hickory smoke. Let the cheese cool for about an hour or so before vacuum sealing.

Tasted a little of the Gouda before vacuum sealing and slapping the cheese into the back of the fridge for 2 weeks. The flavor of the Gouda was pleasant enough but I want to allow the smoke to penetrate deeper into the cheese. Have found that allowing the cheese to rest for at least 2 to 3 weeks makes all the difference!

Who cut the Cheese? …  Not me.  I will cut no cheese before it’s time …

Apple Cold Smoked Cheeses

As an avid lover of cheeses I have been biding my time till the weather cools here in Central California.  Decided to just go for it and used the advise of various Forum member posts.  Purchased and setup a smoke adapter and used ice in the bottom of the OBS.

Bought some cheese at Costco for the 1st smoke

Top rack: Kirkland Sharp Cheddar, Cabot Pepper Jack, and Yancey’s Fancy Horseradish Cheddar
2nd rack from top: Kirkland Monterey Jack and Costco Gouda
3rd rack from top: Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar (aged 3 years) and Jarlsberg Swiss

Cheese sat at room temperature for an hour.  Placed in OBS @ 8:45 PM with an ambient temperature of 70º.  Maverick temp measured below top rack was 67º with a tray of ice on the bottom.  Applied 2 hours of Apple smoke

Was surprised at the amount of smoke generated.  No wonder they say it tastes like an ashtray when first removed

After an hour the ambient temp dropped to 67º but the internal OBS temp rose to 78º
After 2 hours the ambient temp dropped to 65º and the internal OBS temp reached 81º
Here’s what it looked like

Let the cheese rest for an hour on the counter.  It really reeked of smoke – like an ashtray.  I know what an ashtray smells like cause I smoked for 30 years but quit 10+ years ago  Smiley Was smart enough not to taste it, even though I kind of wanted to, cause everyone has said how bad it tastes

Vacuum packed and labeled for storage in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks … Finished and hit the sack around 1 AM but it was worth it

Used 2 hours of Apple for the 1st smoke cause that seemed to be the most common postings.  Only time will tell but I think the cheese will turn out great.  The cheese will be a great hit at Thanksgiving along with some smoked turkey breast.  Will report back in 3 to 4 weeks.  Want to thank everyone that has shared their experiences with smoked cheese.  It made my first cheese smoke easy.  Thinking that an OBS temp of 81º should not have harmed to process.