If you have a smoker or a barbeque grill with a lid, you can smoke cheese to add different flavors to enhance your cheese flavors.
Smoking cheese is one of our favorite uses for a smoker, and we will show you how to do it for yourself with some expert tips and advice!
Included in how to smoke cheese in your barbeque smoker, you will also learn the following crucial information for the process:
- Categories of cheeses and what to look for regarding smoking.
- How to keep your smoker temperatures in check.
- The equipment needed to smoke cheese on any grill with a lid.
Many people who have had their smoker for a while will soon experiment with smoking foods other than meats and vegetables.
Cheese is a great food option to try out in your smoker, and we will give you all the information you need to get it right!
How To Smoke Cheese On Your Grill?
Smoke requires heat, which implies an increase in temperature, which is not good for cheese! So how do you use your grill or smoker to impart that delicious smoky flavor to your cheese?
We have got all the information you need right here to smoke your first cheese in your smoker or grill. The first point of concern is the air temperature when smoking your cheese.
Best Daytime Temperatures For Smoking Cheese
The ideal outside temperature for smoking cheese is 70°F. If the day warms up too much more than 75°F, the temperature increase in your grill caused by the heat of the sun may cause your cheese to melt.
The internal temperature of your grill should not exceed a maximum of 90°F for smoking cheese.
This means that if the day is hot, it would be best to hold off on your cheese smoking for a cooler day or smoke the cheese in the evening when the heat of the day has tapered off.
Equipment Needed To Smoke Cheese
The basic equipment you need to smoke cheese is a grill or a smoker with a closing lid. You can even use this method with a propane gas grill.
The grill will act more as a smoke chamber than a heat chamber since you will not be lighting the grill, which is where the next piece of gear comes in.
A tube smoker is a must to get the full effect of the smoke while minimizing the heat generated in the grill.
Most tube smokers are designed to accept pellets for pellet smokers, so that you will need some pellets of your favorite wood for smoking.
The wood from fruit trees such as apple and cherry produces a light, flavorful smoke, which is great for cheese.
Finally, you will need 2 aluminum trays that will fit side by side in your grill and a bag of ice.
Method To Smoke Cheese In Your Grill
The method for smoking cheese in a grill is termed cold smoking.
It is very easy to accomplish, with the main concern being the length of time to smoke the cheese and the temperature in the grill.
Fill the tube smoker with the smoke pellets for your choice, following the pellet manufacturer's instructions.
Light the smoke pellets in the tube by using a culinary blow torch to ignite the pellets, or use a firelighter cube at one end.
Once the pellets in the tube have ignited, remove the firelighter cube.
Place the tube smoker in the grill and close the lid to allow the pellets to smolder properly. You can prepare the other equipment in the interim.
Fill two aluminum trays with ice. Open the grill and place the ice trays on either side of the tube smoker. The cheese can now be placed on the grill above the tube smoker and the ice trays.
The ice functions to keep the temperature down inside the grill. You will need to check the ice from time to time and top it up as the ice melts.
Now all you need to do is wait and monitor the temperature in the grill to ensure it does not go above 90°F.
Soft cheeses should be smoked for a shorter time than hard cheeses. The recommended smoking time for a semi-soft cheese is 1.5 hours to 2 hours. Semi-hard and hard cheeses can be smoked for between 2 and 2.5 hours.
What To Do With Your Cheese After Smoking?
Immediately after the smoking process, the smoky flavor can be pretty strong on the cheese.
Some people like it this way, but most folks prefer to give the smoky flavor some time to mellow.
The best method to do this is to place your cheese in a ziplock plastic bag ad store it in the refrigerator.
Let the cheese cool down for about 20 minutes after you take it out of the smoker and before you put it in the ziplock bag.
This stops the warm cheese from sweating in the plastic bag, which could cause mold to develop.
This allows the strong smokey flavor on the outer layers to permeate throughout the entire block of cheese.
This mellows the smoke flavor on the outside while intensifying on the inside. We find that a stint of a minimum of 6 hours in the refrigerator or overnight is the ideal duration to wait for the smoke to permeate the entire block of cheese.
What Is The Best Cheese To Smoke In A Smoker?
Most people know that cheeses come in different varieties, where firmness is one of the distinguishing factors.
Cheeses are not only categorized by their flavor but also their density and moisture content.
The firmness of cheese can be categorized as follows:
- Soft cheese. This cheese has high moisture content and is almost runny.
- Semi-soft cheese. These have less moisture but are still a little squishy.
- Semi-hard cheese. This cheese has less moisture content and is denser.
- Hard cheese. This is your hard, grating cheeses with very low moisture content and is considered crumbly.
As you can see, if you want to smoke cheese, you need to get to know your cheeses. The firmness of the cheese will determine the melting point of the cheese, which will affect the outcome of your smoking efforts.
Here are the melting temperatures of each of the cheese types:
- Soft cheese will melt at 131°F
- Semi-soft cheese melts at 140°F
- Semi-hard cheese at 150°F
- Hard cheeses will melt at 180°F
You can smoke any of these cheeses if you are careful, but the best cheeses we recommend you start with are the semi-hard to hard cheeses.
On the semi-soft cheese side, mozzarella and gouda make good options, and on the semi-hard cheese, cheddar is our recommended choice.
Hard cheeses like parmesan smoke well, but these cheeses are usually very expensive. Start with some cheaper cheeses to learn your technique before risking an expensive cheese.
But there are also the curveball cheeses which are soft but lose moisture and firm up when exposed to heat rather than dissolving into a puddle in your smoker!
Acid-set cheeses and goats milk cheese have proteins that can withstand high heat, and the moisture evaporates as the cheese is subjected to heat.
This causes the cheese to firm up rather than melt. Halloumi is an example of such cheese and is one of our favorites to smoke!
Smoking cheese in your grill or smoker is easy. Experiment with different cheese and wood types to get the smoke-cheese combination you like!
If you have a grill with a lid or a smoker, you can spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon and smoke enough cheese to keep you supplied with smoked cheese for a month!
Check out our list of the best cold smokers on the market that you can use for your cheese.