Cold Smoking Cheese @ 80°+ Ambient Temps Experiment

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by tjohnson, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cold Smoking cheese is not rocket science, how do you cold smoke cheese at 80° ambient temp, and not melt the cheese?

    I used the standard pan of Ice, but also took care to prep my cheese and smoker a little different than usual

    Cheese was placed in the freezer for about 2 hours.

    While it was cold, it was not frozen solid

    I kept my smoker in the garage overnight, and it's currently under cover, in the shade

    At 8:30 this morning, it was 80° outside, but the inside of the smoker was 73°

    I started one of my A-MAZE-N-TUBE-SMOKERS and placed it int eh very bottom of my Traeger Texas(Clone) Pellet Smoker

    A disposable pan was placed above the burning smoker

    Inside the pan, I placed a couple frozen jugs of ice

    If you fill the pan with ice, the pan will sweat as the ice melts, and drip on the smoldering pellets below

    The grill grate was reinstalled, and I placed a cooling rack on top.  This keeps the cheese at a higher level in the smoke, inside your smoker.

    Cheese was set on the cooling rack

    I inserted a probe into one of the blocks of slightly frozen cheese and the other is measuring the grate temps

    The mass of the smoker is still radiating cooler temperature from sitting in the garage overnight

    Thanks for Looking!!


    Starting the A-MAZE-N-TUBE-SMOKER


    Flame Burning For 10 Minutes, and Then Blow It Out


    Smoking Pellets


    Placed Disposable Aluminum Pan Directly Above the Smoldering Tube Smoker

    Ice Jugs are Placed In the Pan

    Ice Cubes will Melt, and Cause the Pan to Sweat.  This Will Drip on Your Pellets

    Notice the Nice Smoke Coming From Under the Pan


    Grill is Reassembled, Cooling Rack Set Up, Cheese is on the Racks, ans Probe is inserted in one of the Blocks

    Cheese Starting Temp was 35°


    Ambient Temp Around My Pellet Smoker is 80°

    Smoker is in the Shade


    After 1 Hour, Smoker Temp is 79°, and closer to Ambient Temp of 80°

    Smoker was in the Garage Overnight and is Currently Sitting in the Shade

    Ice is Helping to Keep Smoker Temps Down For Now......

    The Mass of the Smoker is Still Radiating Cooler Temps From Sitting in the Garage Overnight

    Placing the Smoker in the Direct Sun Would Surely Increase the Temps!!

    Cheese is at 50° After an hour in the smoker....WOW!


    1 1/2 Hours Into My Cheese Smoke

    Smoker Temp Jumped to 93°

    Cheese Temp at 61°


    After 2 1/2 hours

    Ambient Temp = 87.8°

    Smoker Temp = 93°

    Cheese Internal Temp = 77°

    [​IMG]     [​IMG]

    Pulled the Cheese at 3 hours.  This is a little longer than I usually smoke cheese, But After All, This Was a Test

    Ambient Temp = 88.7°

    Smoker Temp = 95°

    Cheese Internal Temp = 82°

    [​IMG]     [​IMG]

    Final Pics of Cheese In Smoker

    Just Starting to Sweat, But DID NOT Lose it's Shape or Begin To Melt


    Great Color Compared to the Other 1/2 of the Cheese Blocks

    [​IMG]     [​IMG]


    1.  Keeping the smoker in a cool place and in the shade makes a difference in smoker temps.

    2.  A pan of ice directly above the smoldering pellets helped to reduce the heat produced by the pellets.

    3.  Placing the cheese into the freezer, and dropping the temp to 35° kept the cheese from heating up too quickly

    4.  Keeping the cheese out of the direct heat/smoke stream helped to keep the cheese temp down

    So, now it's possible to smoke cheese at higher ambient temps!


    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

  3. Good Instructional or How-to...Thanks. I'm going to try this soon. Will be ordering a amnps today.
  4. Interesting.  Couple of questions.  What was the temp of the cheese at the start of the smoke?  What is the temp at which you would want to take it out of the smoker?  Would you consider putting another tray with frozen jugs near the cheese to keep ambient temp near the cheese lower?  What is the optimal temp you target for a cheese smoke in chamber and for the cheese?  

    I'm wondering how I would do this in the WSM.  My guess would be putting the AMAZEN at down in the smoke ring, putting the pan with the jugs on top of the smoke ring, putting the cheese on the middle rack, and then another pan with frozen jugs on the top rack to keep the temps down.  (anyone tried this or similar method).  
  5. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    Ahh, don't stop...where is the continued.  Yea I know it is still smoking, don't forget us I want to hear more!
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Starting Temp of Cheese = 35°

    ET-732 did not start reading temp until it hit mid 40's

    I smoke for duration, not temp

    2 1/2 hours is plenty of smoke on cheese for me

    I'm not sure if additional ice jugs would do any good adjacent to the cheese.  I'm trying to see if the heat from the burning pellets can be immediately offset my the frozen jugs directly above them.

    If the cheese reaches 90° internal, it will sweat.  At 100°, it will begin to melt

    It's very important to keep smoker temps below 100° while smoking cheese.  By placing the ice directly above the heat source, I've been able to keep the smoker temps down and successfully smoked cheese at ambient temps in the 80's

    In your WSM, I would think the same procedure will work.  By placing enough ice between the cheese and your heat source, you'll effectively drop the temp of your smoker

    Place your cheese in an area where that's not directly in the rising heat from the burning pellets

  7. Thanks Todd.  My suggestion for the top rack extra ice jugs was to keep the abient temperature down.  Since cold air drops (and the outside temps are hot), I was thinking that putting more ice on a higher rack (or immediately adjacent to the cheese) would help keep the temp in the chamber even cooler.   Kind of like the swamp cooler method of blowing a fan over ice to cool you off outside on a hot day. 
  8. Todd.  One more question for you.  Since I have the WSM 22.5 and a Weber Genesis propane grill that I like to smoke on occasionally, which of the A-Maze-N products would you recommend?  The A-Maze-N pellet smoker or the A-Maze-N tube Smoker?  I would think the Tube smoker would fit nicely between the flavorizer bars on the Genesis especially if only running the front and back burners.   Any thoughts?  Is one better if I plan on using it for both applications?
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You're right, that the tube fits great on the bars, but because of it's design, can produce too much smoke for most cold smoking.  I performed my test in my Traeger Texas(Clone) because it was large enough to handle the volume of smoke.  If I were to smoke in a smaller smoker like the WSM, MES or Bradley, then the AMNPS would be the perfect solution.

  10. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very Nice Todd
  11. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    The cheese rested for 9 days in my fridge, and I opened it last night

    Great smokey smell and good color

    Fantastic Flavor!!

    My concern was partially freezing the cheese would alter the texture, and the cheese would crumble

    Cutting into the cheese showed only a slight difference in texture.


    Partially freezing cheese will help keep the internal temp of the cheese down during higher ambient temp cold smoking. 

    The internal temp of my cheese was 35° and the outside was slightly frozen

    I would not freeze the cheese solid, or down to 0°.  this may alter the texture of the cheese

    A combination of partially freezing the cheese, placing a pan of frozen blocks directly above the cold smoke generator, and keeping the pit out of the sun, all contributed to my successful cold smoke in 80°-90° ambient temps. 

    After 2 1/2 hours, the temp of my pit was 95° and the internal temp of the cheese was 82°.


    Time to Cold Smoke the rest of the cheese!!!

    Cheddar Cheese

    Smoked on the right and not smoked on the left

    Smoked Cheddar definitely had a darker color and a slightly denser texture

    Great Smokey Flavor!


    PepperJack Cheese

    Smoked on the right and not smoked on the left

    Smoked PepperJack had a slightly darker color and a slightly denser texture

    Great Smokey Flavor!

  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great Info! Thanks Todd...JJ
  13. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Why or WHY did I not read this thread before I loaded my MES40 yesterday?:hit:
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  14. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very Nice Todd thanks for the great info 102 here today
  15. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Question unrelated to the actual experiment, Todd: Just curious.  Which flavor of pellets did you use?
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  16. Looks fantastic and appreciate the info!
  17. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    One other tip to help keep the temps down is to use Todd's dust in place of the pellets if you have it. The dust burns at a lower temp and works great in both the AMNS and the AMNPS. Either way it produces great smoked cheese 
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

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