Cold smoking cheese is easier than you think! Today we’re showing you how to smoke cheese. Here in the northeast, winter is the perfect time to smoke cheese.
Cold smoking works best when it’s colder out because the smoker has less chance of overheating!
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Now that the cooler weather is upon us, we have put together an easy process for cold smoking cheese. We’re going to be cold smoking cheese from several different flavor profiles all at once!
Take a look at this easy how to smoke cheese tutorial to learn more about the cold smoking process and of course, see how easy it is to smoke your own cheese at home!
Do I need a special kind of smoker to cold smoke cheese?
No, you do not need a special kind of smoker for the cold smoking process to work.
You can use an electric smoker, a homemade smoker, I’d be willing to bet you could even make a charcoal grill work for cold smoking given the right conditions!
We’re going to be showing you how to make smoked cheese with our backyard special, the glorious beast that Dustin built years ago and has been tweaking every since.
Our smoker is often mistaken for an outhouse…which is odd considering we live in the middle of a town and it’s plopped right on the sidewalk, but hey, what do I know!
My point is that you don’t need anything fancy in order to cold smoke cheese, fish, or vegetables!
What is the optimal temperature for cold smoking?
Cold smoking by nature is a cold process. Cold smoking is not ideal for anything that carries a big risk of food borne bacteria. I’m not a doctor and
I’m not a scientist but I’m going to recommend you use common sense here and don’t go about trying to cold smoke and eat a chicken or something ridiculous like that.
We shoot for nothing over 80 degrees Fahrenheit when cold smoking. Some people will go as high as 90 degrees F but I think it’s best to stick to 80 and below.
On a nice cold winter day that’s not hard to do for us so it’s worked well so far!
Doesn’t cheese melt when you smoke it?
The reason we use a cold smoking process for cheese is because of the melting point.
If you keep your smoker warmer you will likely have some melting on soft cheese and even harder cheese will melt if they spend enough time in the smoker at too high of a temperature.
For our purposes today we’re going to be using a variety of cheddars, swiss, and gouda cheese. None of these cheeses will melt if we keep the smoker at 80 degrees F and below!
How long to cold smoke cheese:
Cold smoking cheese is a lot of trial and error. If you prefer a light smoke you can leave softer cheese on for as little as 30 minutes.
We usually go about 2 hours for a lighter smoker or 4-6 hours for harder cheeses that we want to have a more prevalent smoke flavor.
If you can get your smoker to the right temperature and keep it there consistently you can go for the mid range and do about 3 hours of cold smoke on most cheese blocks for a nice smokey flavor that’s not too overpowering.
What to do with cheese after it’s smoked…
We never smoke just one block of cheese…you probably don’t either. If you are smoking a bunch of different kinds of cheese and multiple blocks of each flavor you can easily preserve this cheese for later use.
We use a vacuum sealer to easily and efficiently preserve cold smoked cheese.
First the cheese rests for 3-4 days in containers in the refrigerator and then it is labeled, sealed, and frozen. When we need some we just pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator.
You can also give the cheese away. We’ve found that people really enjoy getting a smoked treat when we make too much of anything in the smoker.
How to cold smoke cheese:
Unwrap your cheese and place it into a wire basket or onto racks in the smoker.
Preheat the smoker to about 80 degrees F and set a thermometer alarm for temperature changes. Keeping the temperature LOW is the goal here!
Use any kind of wood you like, we usually use a mixture of apple wood and hickory for cheese.
Turn the cheese every half hour – one hour depending on how long you plan to leave it in. For harder cheese we usually turn them every 30 minutes for the full duration of their smoking time.
Take the cheese off the smoker after about 2-3 hours for an average amount of smoke flavor. Allow the cheese to rest before packaging it for later use, or eating it…though we’ve been known to skip this step and dive right into some cheese fresh off the smoker.
For prime smoke flavor absorption the cheese should sit for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator after about an hour on the counter.
Wondering what kind of cheeses you can cold smoke?
Before you figure out how to smoke cheese you have to choose your types of cheese! The truth is that you can cold smoke just about any kind of cheese. Common cheese varieties to smoke are:
- Pepper Jack
- Colby Jack
What kind of wood to use for smoking cheese:
When you are trying to figure out how to smoke cheese one of the common questions is what type of wood to use. Here are some suggestions that work well for smoking cheese and other cold smoking recipes:
Any of the more mild wood flavors will go great with cheese. Hickory gives cheddar a nice bacon-esque flavor so we use that sometimes with our apple wood!
Looking for more delicious smoked recipes?
Here are some more of our favorite smoked recipes! Check out these other easy to make dishes and add them to your meal plan!