Have you tried your hand at smoking cheese yet? If not, you're missing a lot!
Transform the typical party tray of cheese, crackers, and summer sausage by adding some smoked cheese! Smoked cheese also ratchets up the WOW power of other recipes, like mac 'n cheese, home-made party dips, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more.
Follow our smoked cheese recipe below to discover how fun and easy it is to do!
And if you already know how to smoke cheese, don't miss our advanced tips for taking your smoked cheese to a whole new level.
- Make sure to clean your grates well, or put the cheese on wire racks.
- Set up your grill or smoker for cold smoking with a 5” x 8” Maze cold smoker made by A-Maze-N Products.
- In a gas grill, you’ll be setting the A-Maze-N cold smoker down in the bottom center of the grill.
- In a pellet smoker or stick burner, the Maze smoker will go on the grate, on the opposite side of the stack.
- In a kamado style grill, kettle grill, or drum smoker, clean out all the ash and unburned charcoal; the Maze will go in the firebox or charcoal basket area. Install the heat diffuser or smoking plate between the Maze and the cheese (if applicable).
- In a cabinet style smoker, the Maze will go in the smoking chamber, below the bottom grate. Put a pan of ice on the bottom grate directly above the Maze.
- Fill the Maze with BBQr's Delight smoking pellets in the 1-pound bags. (With the exception of the specialty savory herb and Jack Daniel's varieties, which have oak added to ensure a quality burn, the 1-pound bags are 100% flavor species.)
- Hit the pellets with a blow torch (at each end of the maze) until the pellets continue burning after you remove the torch. You want to see a flame coming off the pellets, not just smoke. Let the pellets burn for 60–90 seconds, then blow out the flames. The pellets will continue to smolder.
- Put the Maze into your smoker.
- All bottom vents (if applicable) of the smoker should be wide open. The exhaust vents or stack (if applicable) should be closed as far as possible while still drawing the smoke through the chamber.
- Put the cheese into the smoker. Do NOT light your grill or smoker in any other way.
- After 1-3/4 hours, flip the cheese. This prevents unsightly light-colored bands from the grates or wire racks.
- After another 1-3/4 hours, remove the cheese from the smoker.
- Chill the cheese in the refrigerator for 1 hour, unwrapped, to firm it up.
- Vacuum seal the cheese and put it back in the refrigerator for aging. The cheese should be aged for a minimum of 2 weeks, preferably a month or more. Aging softens the initial harshness of the smoke, and as the cheese ages, the flavors really begin complementing each other.
- Serve and enjoy!
BBQr's Delight Flavor Pellets
We recommend the 1-pound bags of smoking pellets from BBQr's Delight for cheese. These "flavor pellets" contain only the species named on the bag (with the exception of the specialty savory herb and Jack Daniel's varieties, which have oak added to ensure a quality burn).
The 20-pound bags are designed for pellet grill fuel and are a mix of oak and the flavor species.
One-pound blocks are the perfect size to smoke. If purchasing the more economically priced five- or ten-pound blocks of cheese, cut these into about one-pound blocks.
Cold smoking generates little or no heat, but if you cold smoke on a warm day, the temperature inside your smoker will likely rise high enough to melt the cheese. Move your smoker into the shade and add a tray or two of ice to the smoker to prevent melting or excessive softening.
- If using a charcoal grill or smoker, make sure the ash and any unburned fuel is cleaned out and the bottom vents are all wide open to allow airflow to the Maze and through the smoking chamber.
- If the smoker has a screen at the bottom vent (like a Big Green Egg), make sure to close the screen while leaving the vent itself open. The fine mesh screen will prevent the smoke from wafting out the bottom.
- A larger smoker like a cabinet style or a stick burner, or a smoker with poor natural air circulation, might need to have a fan blowing outward at the stack to draw the smoke through.
Experiment with different pellets. For harder cheeses like cheddars, use pecan pellets or those great Jack Daniel’s pellets. For softer cheeses like Muenster or Cooper, try apple, cherry, or savory herb pellets.
- Try soaking cheeses for twenty-four hours before smoking. One neat example is to puncture a block of sharp white cheddar on all sides with a toothpick in a one-inch grid pattern. Vacuum seal the cheese with a pint or two of red wine. Merlot is terrific for this. If you don’t own a vacuum sealer, pour the wine into a deep covered container and lay the cheese in it, rotating it every two hours.
- A second great flavor combo is to vacuum seal or soak a block of Muenster in an ale!
- How about this one? Add 6 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves to a pint of premium quality olive oil, and let it infuse for 5–6 hours at room temperature. Gently stir the oil every hour. Glaze a sharp white or yellow cheddar with the olive oil (do not remove the rosemary leaves from the oil), then smoke it immediately. Set the glazed cheese on a wire rack in a pan to catch the oil drippings.
Try extreme aging. Cold smoke blocks of cheese for 4 to 4-1/2 hours, instead of the standard 3-1/2 hours. Vacuum seal the cheese (this is a MUST), and age it in the refrigerator for eight months or more. Harder cheeses work best for this. For example, smoke a block of Parmesan, age it for a year, then shave it onto a pizza or into a pasta dish. Bon Appetit!