Smoked cheese is delicious and will bring your cheese board to the next level. We’ll go over how to make smoked cheese, from selecting a cheese variety, equipment needed, and what type of wood to use. Don’t be deterred from giving smoked cheese a try if you don’t think you have the right equipment – you can use your standard outdoor grill.
What kind of cheese is best for smoking
The first thing to determine is what kind of cheese works best for smoking. Ultimately you should pick a cheese that you love, otherwise what’s the point? To start with, I would recommend any firm, semi-hard, or semi-soft cheese. When smoking a soft cheese you run the risk of it melting, which will create a huge mess in your smoker. Hard cheeses don’t tend to pick up much flavor due to the density of the cheese. Cheddar, Gouda, Provolone, Mozzarella, Manchego, Edam, Swiss, Gruyere, and Colby Jack are just some of the cheese varieties that work great for smoking.
Equipment needed for smoking cheese
Once you have settled on a cheese variety, it’s time to make sure you have the right equipment. Cheese needs to be cold smoked so it doesn’t melt, a temperature below 90°F is perfect. If you have a cold smoker you are all set. If you only have a hot smoker or a traditional grill, you can still smoke cheese by laying it on a pan of ice while it smokes. A smoking tube is a must-have if you’re using a gas grill.
How to smoke cheese
Keep your cheese refrigerated right up to the time it needs to go in the smoker. The length of time it takes to smoke depends on several factors: the density of the cheese, ambient temperature, type of wood, and the level of desired smoke flavor. Plan on this process to take anywhere between 1-4 hours. I feel that color is an important factor too, so cutting off pieces to taste as you go will ruin the look of the finished product. Smoking cheese is a process that you will improve on, and fine tune each time you try it.
What wood to use for smoking cheese
Different woods offer different flavors as well as varying levels of intensity. The more robust the cheese the more heavier smoke flavor will compliment it, but it is possible to add too much smoky flavor. Fruit woods like Cherry and Apple are always fantastic. If you want a more forward flavor try Hickory or Maple. Alder is nice option for a milder smoke flavor. Check out our full variety of smoking chip flavors and feel free to mix wood varieties to create your own ‘secret recipe.’
The easiest way to smoke cheese
If all you have is a regular grill and just want to quickly infuse cheese with smoky flavor, grilling planks are a great option. Though not technically ‘cold-smoked,’ planked cheeses pick up plenty of flavor, and have the benefit of getting nice and melty. Planks can help protect the cheese from the heat of a grill and wood flavor can be introduced without actually burning the wood. Cedar Planked Brie with Blueberries & Honey is one of our favorite recipes, and makes for an impressive and delicious appetizer.