Whether you are entertaining, need something unique and easy to bring to a party or you just like cheese, this is the Instructable for you! Every time I make this I get repeated requests for more and you will too.
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Step 1: Gather the Items You Will Need:
- A grill or container
- Gas or Charcoal - it doesn't matter as long as the cheese can be placed away from the smoke source and the smoke can vent out of the grill.
- In this example I am using Vermont Cabot Cheddar.
- Standard sharp or extra sharp cheeses tend to turn out better than the more expensive cheeses.
- Try experimenting with fresh mozzarella and or Gouda
- A-Maz-N Pellet Tube Smoker
- This beauty is the key to greatness. The 12" tube fits most types of grills and provides about 4 hours of continuous smoke when full.
- Wood Cooking Pellets
- A propane torch or lighter
- Any torch or lighter will do although I am partial to the Bernzomatic.
- Tin foil or Formaticum Cheese Paper
- I didn't have any of the special cheese paper for this demonstration so I just used tin foil. Wax or parchment paper would probably work too.
- Zip lock bags
- Any size will do as long as your cheese block fits in it.
Step 2: CAUTION - CUIDADO - CAUTION
You have been warned.
Step 3: Fill the Smoking Tube With Pellets
Fill the smoking tube with wood pellets to the position indicated in the picture.
Step 4: Prepare the Cheese
I purchased two - 2lbs pound blocks of Vermont Cabot cheese for this Instructable. I then quartered the cheese so the smoke can permeate the cheese better. You can also just use a standard block of cheese from the grocery store without having to cut it.
Note: I would stay away from specialty flavored cheeses as they tend to taste poorly with the smoke flavor. I have also used fresh mozzarella and Gouda with positive results.
Step 5: Light 'em Up
IMPORTANT: Grill temperature must remain below 90°F throughout the entire smoking process in order to avoid melting the cheese.
(melted cheese == bad)
- Start by lighting the wood pellets with the torch as indicated. (Please seek adult supervision for this step)
- Let the pellets burn for about 2 - 4 minutes or so.
- Blow out the fire and the pellets will now start to smoke.
- Place the tube near the rear of the grill under the main cooking grates. If you are using a gas grill I would place it on one end of the grill (right or left side)
- Start this process when the ambient temperature outside is below 60
- Place the grill in the shade or start smoking after dark to keep the temperature in the grill lower
- Place a bowl or tray of ice on the lower rack below the cheese to help keep the temperature in the grill below
90°F when smoking in warmer weather.
Step 6: Smok'n Time
Place the cheese near the front of the charcoal grill. Note the spacing between the cheese so the smoke can swirl around the cheese. Close the grill cover and ensure the smoke is venting properly.
- For charcoal grills ensure that the lower vent and upper vent are wide open in order for the smoke to vent out.
- For a gas grill place the cheese on the opposite side where you placed the smoking tube. You will have to prop open the grill cover slightly, about an inch or two, to allow the smoke to escape if you do not have a vent on top.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that the smoke is venting properly. If the smoke does not vent properly then the smoke becomes stale and can give your cheese a creosote taste.
Now we wait. It takes about 4 hours to burn through the entire tube.
- When using a fruity or lighter wood like cherry, apple or maple 4 hours is a good amount of time. If you are using mesquite or hickory then you may want to decrease this time by half by putting in half as many pellets in the tube.
Step 7: Individually Wrap Cheese and Place in Ziplock Bag
When the smoking tube has exhausted the pellets and no more smoke is coming out of the grill the cheese is done. The cheese will have a slightly yellow / deep orange color around the entire block of cheese.
Next tear off enough tin foil to completely wrap your cheese. If you have Formaticum Cheese Paper then you can use this. In my case I used about 14" of tin foil per block.
Once wrapped you can place wrapped blocks individually or together in Ziplock bag(s). The cheese will have a strong smokey smell so this is a must.
Lastly place the cheese in a refrigerator and wait at least a week before consumption. The smoke will continue to penetrate the cheese giving it a deeper, richer and smokier taste.
- I would suggest that you place the cheese in a separate refrigerator if you have one. (aka - beer fridge)