Why does smoked cheese taste like an ashtray immediately after smoking?

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by vwaldoguy, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    Why does smoked cheese taste like an ashtray immediately after smoking?  I mean, this doesn't happen with meat, but with cheese, why does it take weeks to months for that ashtray taste to mellow out? 
  2. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    just takes time to mellow the smoke out,, more dense than meat I guess,, Maybe MR T can help you out on this one 

    this is a good read 


    I had a guy yesterday said he covers his in a cherry sauce, puts in fridge for 4 or so hours and smokes it with that cherry sauce on there and he said that takes away that bitter taste??? I would rather wait two weeks 

    A full smoker is a happy smoker 

  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It shouldn't taste like an ashtray. It should be stronger on the outside, and less smoke flavor on the inside until after a few weeks of leveling out.

    If it actually tastes like an ashtray, your smoke may have been too heavy (dense).

    You should always try to get a nice light smoke throughout your smokes.

  4. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    A heavy smoke will not help the issue.  TBS (Thin Blue Smoke) is the goal.
  5. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    I smoke my cheese with the AMNPS, and I do get a thin blue smoke, but still, it's no good immediately out of the smoker. Depending on the cheese, 2 or 3 weeks makes a huge difference for the Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheeses I've done, which have been outstanding.
  6. I often wonder how a friend of mine makes his cheese taste so good right out of the smoker. He seems to do everything that folks here say would be wrong.

    1. He smokes at a pretty high temp,often 85-90°+
    2. He often uses green wood, he was using apple branches this week that we just cut off the tree last Sunday. They were live when we trimmed them.
    3. He has no rest period, no drying the rinds. He takes the cheese blocks off the smoker and immediately wraps them up for sale.

    Despite all this his cheese right off the smoker tastes as good (or better) than mine that has aged for weeks/months.

    He has a side business that he sells his cheese during hunting season. This year he's gone through about 400# of cheese already.

    I don't get it?????
  7. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    Cheese is dense takes a longgggg time for it to absorb the smoke!
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    It would be helpful to know the setup you are using along with the type and kind of fuel you are using. 

    The reason you are experiencing differences between your cheese and meat is, you are cold smoking the cheese and hot smoking the meat, two entirely different animals.  Hot smoking products normally necessitates using a light smoke for long periods of time.  Cold smoking provides a much wider range of products that can be smoked using many different colors and density's of smoke depending on the product being smoked.  I am including a couple links that may help clarify.  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/139474/understanding-smoke-management-updated-12-08-14

    Off hand it could very well be the fuel you are using or the AMNPS is too close to your cheese causing it to collect an abundance of creosote.  Try a different fuel or if you are not already, try using a mailbox type mod of some sort, it will greatly decrease the creosote.  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/140797/amnps-smoke-daddy-myths

  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Tim, How long does your friend smoke and in what type of smoker? Grandpa made Eat out of the Smoker Cheese as well but that was in a 6' X 8' Smoke House. Big difference smoking Cheese in a large smoker a small cabinet or pipe...JJ
  11. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    I wonder on the friend who uses green wood how much is smoke and how much is steam?
  12. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    Thank you for the links, they were very helpful.  I have a MES 30" Generation 1, using the AMNPS, with the Pittmaster pellets.  AMNPS on the bottom bars as always, ice in the water tray, and blocks of cheese on the top two shelves.  Chip loader pulled out a couple of inches.  I typically smoke cheese for 2 hours, and get thin blue smoke.  Outside temp last night was about 45 degrees.  I suspect it is a creosote of some sort, and now that I understand smoke a little better, perhaps a mailbox mod would work better for this.  After a few weeks, the cheese mellows out to that nice smoky flavor that I expect, without the creosote taste.  I'll keep experimenting. 
  13. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You are most welcome.  Go ahead and plan on a mailbox mod and save yourself the headaches.  You will find you will be producing a much cleaner smoke.  Most likely you will then be able to consume your cheese straight out of the smoker which is especially good on curds which have a shorter shelf life.  The longer the pipe from the box to the smoker, the cooler and smoother the smoke.

    Good luck and keep me up to date,

  14. He uses a propane cabinet smoker. Just lights it, puts smaller chunks of whatever wood he's using in a cast iron pan and puts it over the burner to create smoke. He usually has it in about 4 hours. It's bizarre, the cheese tastes great and has awesome color?

    I actually thought maybe he was cheating and just resmoking already smoked cheese but I've been able to help him a few times this year so I know the cheese was not already smoked going in.

    I can't figure it out...
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  15. rickyldd

    rickyldd Newbie

    That sounds like mine. I don't care for the pittmaster pellets myself. I know many on here use them but I like the Hickory and oak OK. My wife said after I got the AMNPS 

    "I don't think I like smoked food any more", but it was the pittmasters pellets.
  16. Possibly try a lighter wood/ smoke such as alder, pecan or maybe even cob

    Or try using a sweet wood (less bitter) like apple, pear, cherry or peach

    on my cheeses I mostly use apple and at times will toss in a small percentage of cherry or hicory (typicaly cherry before hicory)

    use the stronger woods for meats and even then I use a percentage of sweeter woods.

    Hope this helps,

    Keep On Smokin,

  17. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've had the "ashtray" taste problem in the past, also. I plan on smoking some cheddar this weekend, using my mailbox mod for the first time. I'll let you know how it goes. Planning on using apple pellets in my AMNPS.
  18. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is a little test we did this last weekend - Good Luck 



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