You can spend big bucks to buy expensive imported smoked cheese at the grocery store, or you can take a piece of a budget-friendly variety and make it taste like a million bucks in a smoker.
Any type that’s thick and solid enough to not fall through the grate is a perfect candidate, and smoking cheese in an electric smoker is easier than you might think.
The process enhances the flavor and gives you a new take on some of your traditional favorites. Here are seven tips to do it like a pro.
Do it on a Cold Day
Pick a day where the high is 60 degrees or below to ensure your cheese won’t melt during the smoking process.
Use Smaller Portions
To produce the best flavor when smoking cheese in an electric smoker, you’ll want to use smaller portions. That way, it’s able to penetrate more of the piece.
Remove the rind and then cut it into two by four-inch blocks or small wedges for best results.
Bring it to Room Temperature
Although it’s possible to smoke cheese straight out of the refrigerator, you might get sub-par results. Instead, set it on the counter and allow it to rise to room temperature naturally. Wipe off any excess moisture, and then place it in your smoker.
By drying off your cheese, you’ll help it to produce a better skin with more flavor that doesn’t dry out during the process.
Select the Right Wood
If you use your smoker regularly, you already know that wood selection is key. Picking an option that has a flavor that compliments your cheese and will enhance the flavor when combined.
Mild cheeses do best with wood that has a delicate flavor pallet like pecan, or cherry. Heartier cheeses combine well with pungent woods like hickory or oak to give them a bit of a bite.
Use a Low Temperature
Remember, when you’re smoking cheese in an electric smoker you want to keep the heat as low as possible and keep your vents open. The goal is to keep it at 90 degrees or lower during the process to prevent your cheese from sweating or melting.
Monitor and Turn Your Cheese
Keep a constant eye on the temperature, and turn your cheese every 15 to 30 minutes to ensure that you get good smoke penetration on all of your surfaces.
Time it Right
Our final tip is to make sure that you smoke your cheese for the appropriate amount of time to get the results you desire. It doesn’t take long for it to start absorbing the flavor, and if you go too long, you run the risk of over smoking it.
Depending on the type of cheese you use, you may only need between 30 minutes and a few hours to do the job right. In general, softer cheeses with more moisture like:
Take less time than harder, dryer varieties. Experiment with a few different types to determine what tastes best to you.