First try with A-Maze-N smoke and cheese

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by dale5351, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I've tried a number of things over the years to do smoked cheese in my Masterbuilt, with no real success.  After coming to this forum and scanning a number of articles, I saw the A-Maze-N smoke generator and some demo videos and Qviews of cold smoking cheese.   My wife said -- GET IT :-}}

    Of course, as soon as it arrived we had to give it a try -- even though it is hot here in July.

    This was a decent result, but I learned a few things.  Pictures will illustrate.

    First -- here is it all set up and ready to go:


    And here is the way it looked after about seven hours (at 1 am):


    And another picture of the cheeses out of the smoker:



    1. The cheese that was over the AMS got too much heat and melted a bit.   -- next time, I'll put the cheeses further away and/or next to the AMS.

    2. I had trouble getting the AMS lit.  It was first time I'd used a butane lighter, and had not filled it properly.  As a result, one row of the AMS never really got started.

    3. I did not fill the AMS with sawdust high enough.  As a result of that, and of cheese oil dripping on it, the other row of the AMS went out near the end of the smoking period.   Solution -- fill further more than half way and position food so that it does not get dripped on.
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In one of the pictures, i saw what may have been a meat probe, were you measuring temp or? I'm nit trying to be smart, just wondering. BTW, the cheese lokks E to the T!
  3. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes, it was the probe I usually use for internal temperature on meat.  I just lay it next to the cheese and put the display unit on top of the MES.   I monitored the temp with that and with the MES temp sensor.   The meat probe tended to run higher, typical during the early evening was 90 degree on the probe, 80 on the sensor.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I've been using my AMNS a lot.

    For the dripping, just double up on a piece of foil, fold it in half, and make a little pup tent over the AMNS.

    I've found the best way to get it lit is hold the torch there for at least 30 seconds. Then just blow on the lit part a little to get it to look like the end of a cigar. Let it sit there for a few minutes. Then blow lightly again to make sure it's going real good---Then put it in your smoker. Without doing that, sometimes you think it's lit, but it isn't lit good enough.

  5. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the info. 

    I'd seen the pup tent suggestion, but did not think of doing it.

    Part of my trouble getting it to light had to do with getting used to the butane lighter and filling it properly.  Today, I decided to put the cheeses back in to get additional smoke.  Got the AMS lit much better.   I'll try the blowing trick next time.
  6. Brother that is , still some beautiful cheese. Gosh we love smoked cheese. Great job my friend.
  7. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Great looking cheese, I gotta get one of them units.
  8. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The other trick to remember with the AMNS is to dry out the dust.  Here, in the great Pacific Northwest, we have so much humidity that if I don't micro the dust for about 1:30 minutes/cup, I have a heck of time getting it going.  Even special care with storage, like plastic jugs, doesn't seem to help much.  But with the two mentioned techniques, you should be golden.
  9. i was looking at the unit myself and think i will be getting one soon. it looks awesome. that cheese looks great!!!
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can place the cheeses on a plate or foil pan or even a sheet of aluminum foil so it won't melt thru the grate; the AMNS is a very slow, meandering smoke that envelopes the cheese, not blowing past it like a heat-driven smoke would be so it will still fully smoke the product.  Just flip it over ½ way through the smoke, which also aids in conformity of the product too.
  11. distre

    distre Smoke Blower

    Boy that cheese sure does look GOOD and for your first time that's saying something. I just received my AMS, and I think I saw some Almonds on that top shelf. It's too hot for me to smoke any cheese here in TX right now. But I'm sure going to try some Almond or Pecans. Any suggestions on any other nuts. I wonder how Pistachios would do?
  12. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Looks good to me, man the more smoked cheese i see the more i want an amazing smoker.
  13. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    My advice would be *not* to do almonds as a cold smoke.  Mine turned out with a mild smoke flavor, but also with a "still raw" undertone to them.  Do them as a hot smoke.   You'll probably find some recipes here that talk about salting -- that would be ok.  I'd probably salt lightly with ultra-fine salt after hot smoking them.

    We took some of the same batch of almonds and roasted them in our toaster oven.  They came out crisp and tasty -- but of course did not have a smoke flavor.
  14. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have been using the AMS for quite some time now and like Bear said you can tent it. In the set up I see you had the almonds above the cheese putting the cheese pretty close the the smoker and the heat was also being reflected down from the foil of the pan- I would reverse that for sure and I buy pans similar to yours but with holes in them which allows the smoke to travel thru the pan and to billow around in the chamber a little better.

    I agreee that almonds are better with a warmer smoke - with my SmokinTex I have almost completely stopped using the chip and chunk box in favor of the AMS. I use the heat from the element in the smoker but light the AMS for a much more controlled and prolonged smoke.

    As for keeping the unit lit, I use a torch I bought for creme brule or a propane torch from the garage - depending on how much smoke you want at a given time you can light both ends of the unit and if you really want to generate a lot of smoke you can also light it in the middle - like Bear suggested you should blow on it to ensure that it stays lit

    That is a great looking first smoke and you are gonna love that cheese for sure - just made some bread with my smoked cheddar and grilled onion and man it was awesome

    Let me know if I can help you in any way
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  15. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I need to smoke me some cheese again...[​IMG]
  16. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    That pan was actually a heavy duty alluminum designed as a lid for a turkey roaster.  Cost me $0.50 at Walmart or Target.  I poked holes in it with a pencil to let the smoke through.  It was just an experiment since I did not have anything with a fine enough mesh to keep the almonds from falling through.

    Since then I found a heavy duty wire mesh tray at the local Korean grocery store (they have some great gadgets).  I'll post a picture of it in a day or so.  It will hold nuts or whatever and let the smoke through.

    Your comment about the pan reflecting heat is something I had not thought about, but agree.

    My next attempt (after it cools off outside) will have the AMNS down lower, further from the cheese, and may use an ice block.
  17. distre

    distre Smoke Blower

    Thanks dale5351, saves me a wasted try. I'll do some research and find a good temp to hot smoke the almonds.
  18. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  19. distre

    distre Smoke Blower

    Thanks again Scarbelly, I just replied to you on a thread I started on cold smoking salt. I appreciate the help.   [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  20. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Here is a picture of the wire mesh tray I bought.  Cost was $6.99 and it claims to be stainless steel so it should last.  I intend to use it only for smoking.


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