Modified home built smoker into a cold smoker. Cheese is the inaugural

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by brewerdave, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. brewerdave

    brewerdave Fire Starter

    Hey all,

    I had built the original WallyWill smoker as a small capacity smoker. I got a great deal on a vertical gas smoker so I decided to repurpose it as a cold smoker.

    I came across the smoke daddy inc. Smokincense and this is the heart of the WallyWill V2.0. 

    I picked up some mild cheddar, pepper jack, colby jack, and monterey jack(8 ounce blocks) and did the inaugural batch on 19 January. The ambient temperature was 51 degrees F. I cut each block in half and let them sit on the counter for a few minutes before I put them in the smoker

    I used pecan pellets, and smoked the cheese for about an hour and 45 minutes. 

    Afterwards, I let the cheese sit uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so uncovered. I used a paper towel to remove any moisture and then tightly wrapped each block in plastic wrap and placed in a ziploc bag

    My initial plan is to let the cheese sit in the fridge for 2 or 3 weeks and then try a sample. Fingers are crossed.

    Can anyone see what I have missed? I'm sure I have missed something

    Thanks in advance

  2. You missed the pictures. [​IMG].

    Does it have a good color? I smoke my cheese till I get the color I want. To me color = flavor.

    Happy smoken.

  3. brewerdave

    brewerdave Fire Starter

    The color is much better in person than the picture
  4. BD, those look pretty good from here. Have you gone through Mr. T's smoked cheese thread? A wealth of knowledge and experience from others on here. A couple things just from reading your process, you'll usually want to let the cheese come to room temp fully before putting it in the smoke, most smoke for 3 hours or a bit more (preference of course), and most will leave it lightly covered or uncovered in the fridge over night to even out. 

    Lots of ways to do it and I'm betting your are still going to be great. Now you need to make more for when that batch is gone!
  5. [​IMG]  Above,

    I too smoke until I get the color I am looking for. the one thing I do different is if there is moisture I let sit until dry and do not wipe it off. (my thoughts that may remove added flavor) then wrap in cling wrap for 2-4 weeks in my deep cooler then pull out and then vacume pack. it might not be everyones method but has work for years for me. waxing some is my new play yard / addition thanks to many out there that have helped me make that move.

    Happy Smoking, it is all good, there are no failures....just some things you might not try/do again [​IMG]

  6. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    I smoked some cheese recently (first try at cheese) and was trying to smoke to color. But after 5 hours in the smoke, the cheese didn't really change color at all.

    Outside temps were in the 20-30 range.

    Smoker temps ranged from 40-76 and averaged probably 55-60.

    Cheeses were Mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Colby/Jack, and some mozzarella String Cheese.

    I finally took the cheese out after 5 hours and smelled it and it did have that ash tray type smell so I think it definitely got enough smoke. But the cheese was cool to the touch with zero condensation. So, I immediately vacuum sealed it and put it into the fridge. I am cautiously optimistic that it will mellow and turn out well. But, we'll see.
  7. It's really interesting, but the color of the cheese will actually change overtime it seems after being smoked, and it will most definitely mellow out.You are going to enjoy it.
  8. The mellowing stage is a must!

    Happy smoken.

  9. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    I totally understand that the mellowing stage is a must. My main point was that it was hard to smoke to color because the color change was so faint it was hard to tell that it had changed at all.

    I packaged up some smaller pieces that I plan to start sampling after 1, 2, and 4 weeks leaving the larger packages for even longer.

    The wait is soooo hard. But assuming that this goes well, I plan to get a bunch done to last through the warm summer months where cold smoking can be tough even in ND. ;)
  10. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    I don't have a really close up picture and it is kind of hard to tell from the packaging, but this is what it looks like. The string cheese got a few grill marks and a little color. But the Cheddars and the Colby/Jack didn't take much on.

  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    David, you have turned into a monster.  Proud of you and money well spent, I'm sure. LOL
    NDKoze, keep good notes as you have already including the type of wood, the color and density of the smoke.  Different woods will produce different results.  Personal experience here will be your best teacher.

    Allow the cheese to come to smoker temp or above, this will help eliminate condensation.  If the cheese has condensation on it, allow it to evaporate on it's own.  By wiping it off, you are removing what you just spent time putting on.

    Hope you enjoy your cheese.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  12. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    Thanks Tom!

    I didn't have any condensation, and the cheese was pretty cool when I took it out of the smoker.

    So, I let it rest only for an hour or so before vacuum packing. There was no wiping done because there wasn't any condensation. Was it OK to seal right away then?
  13. Man that looks good, I'll be asking questions  I'll be a cheese smoker before long

  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Good job.  Normally, I let my hard cheese such as cheddar rest overnight at 70° or less, no need to refrigerate.  Softer cheese should be kept at 55° or less.  This is usually do to convenience.  It also allows for a very light crust to form, but I have also sealed it shortly out of the smoker without any consequences.

    You may find that your cheese will mellow at a faster rate at the warmer temps.


    We'll be waiting.  Let us know how it goes.

    Have fun,

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  15. brewerdave

    brewerdave Fire Starter

    hard cheeses, not huge blocks but managable sizes

    let cheese reach room temperature before smoking

    rest overnight at about 70 F

    If you did this, would you wax right off, or wait a few weeks then wax?

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  16. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Over time you will find what size fits your needs.  Example:  I halve a 5# block length wise then quarter each halve producing eight sticks. 

    Yes, room temperature or your intended internal smoker temp.

    I let mine rest on a rack inside a well ventilated two gallon zip bag.  

    I like to wax cheese that is going to be given as gift's, or stored for more than a few months to years.

  17. not to throw a snag in this but what I have found from my relocation is I can smoke cheese almost anytime but this past winter/smoke my temps were in the 20-30 degrees area and I found the smoke laid low in the smoker with very minimal/almost nothing at the top escaping so even with a longer than intended smoke and multiple rearranging of cheese the end result was less color than expected/desired. I finally pulled it all went thru my standard drill and stored. after 2-4 weeks the taste was lighter than what I prefer then 2, 3 4 etc months later it was perfect in many opinions so possible a longer rest might put it where you prefer.

    in the mean time start more (read bank/store) cheese and you always will have it available when wanted or desired.

    in fact swapping some cheddar and pepper jack that is 2yr old today for some Axis roasts and steaks, could be interesting first time working with Axis.

    Great job with the cheese and happy smoking,

  18. brewerdave

    brewerdave Fire Starter

    It's been a week and the smoke smell is down a little. I will try a small piece next week and get ready for my next batch. Thanks for lots of good information
  19. Let me know, I did my first batch of smoked cheese ever, yesterday, so it's all new to me

  20. brewerdave

    brewerdave Fire Starter

    These cheese is turning out pretty good. I made a second batch yesterday and am planning for a 3rd batch by the end of the month. I am liking this smoked cheese thang

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