My first cheese smoke - Q-view, and Questions

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by katemail13, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. katemail13

    katemail13 Fire Starter

    Hi, all.

    I smoked my first cheese today, using my unplugged MES-30 and my AMNPS.  The cheeses I smoked were:

    1 lb. Sharp Cheddar, aged in the fridge for 7 months

    2 lbs. Extra Sharp Cheddar bought this week,

    1/2 lb. Colby bought this week

    1/2 lb. Colby-Jack bought this week

    1/2 lb. Sharp Cheddar bought this week

    1 lb. Monterey Jack bought a few weeks ago.

    I used hickory pellets, because it's what I had.  This was my first use of the pellet smoker, too, and I loved it.  However, I think I had it too close to the bottom cheese (it was on the bottom rack, the cheese was on the other 3 racks).  At one point, the pellets either flared up, or just got too hot, and the cheese just above it melted a bit, and oozed down and put out the pellets.  :(

    Here's the melted cheese.  It was a delicious treat while I was waiting for the rest to be done.

    After that small catastrophy, I moved the re-lit pellet smoker down to the top of the chip burner, and everything went fine.

    I smoked the cheese for approximately 3 3/4 hours, and the white cheese ended up with a lovely light caramel color.

    Here's a picture of the finished product.  They look like sticks of butter - and indeed, that's exactly the size they were - 1/4 lb per stick.

    My biggest question is:  They all sweated a lot more than I thought they would, and are consequently coated in small bubbles of oil.  Should I wipe them or anything before I vacuum seal them?  I was planning to do that tonight, but am not sure whether to leave the oil or not.  Please tell me if you have experience with this!  Thanks!

  2. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    What was the chamber temp during the smoke?   I can't imagine the cheese melting like that unless the pellets were way too close to the cheese or the ambient temp was already way too high.  Do not wipe the cubes.  Let them absorb the moisture droplets before you vacuum seal.
  3. katemail13

    katemail13 Fire Starter

    Hi, Cmayna.

    Chamber never went above 75°F.  I think the pellets were just too close to the cheese at first.

    Should they be covered of uncovered to reabsorb the oil?  In the fridge, or on the counter?  SaranWrap?  Just naked?


  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Place them in The fridge uncovered or in a paper bag. If in the paper bag single layer and not touching cheese on cheese.
    I rest my cheese 3-4 days in the fridge before waxing or vac packing.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  5. katemail13

    katemail13 Fire Starter

    Thanks, DirtSailor.  That's super helpful!  I don't have enough paper bag room for that, though...will plastic bags work?

  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd avoid plastic bags. Place the cheese on a cookie sheet, if you need to stack it place parchment paper between the layers. Loosely cover with Saran Wrap if needed.
  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Good start Katie.  Try to monitor your temps as higher temps will contribute to the sweat.  Although many feel it necessary to place their hard cheeses in a refrigerator to dry prior to sealing, it may be kept @ 70° or lower.  The higher temps will aid in the equalization of the smoke throughout the cheese.

    If air drying is needed, use whatever is handy, basically place the cheese on a rack and cover.  To aid in air circulation, I personally place the cheese on a rack inside a two gallon zip bag, then place a glass or two inside to keep the plastic from touching the cheese.  Be sure to leave the bag open so air can circulate. I am sure the paper bag or cling wrap would work fine also. 

    You may want to check out the mailbox conversions for your smoker.  There are many threads on it in this forum.  The conversion would allow you to produce a much cooler and cleaner smoke.  Learning to cold smoke will open a whole new world of cooking to you.

    Enjoy your cheese.


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