Smoked mozzarella cheese and smoked cheddar cheese are easy to make at home! Follow this simple recipe to learn how to smoke cheese. Take your charcuterie to a new level and make your own smoked cheeses with minimal equipment and almost no hands-on time.
It is amazing the smoky flavors you can get that turn cheap generic cheese into delicious smoked treats. The challenge with cheese smoking is to balance the smoke's heat source so as to produce enough flavor, but not melt the cheese. Once you smoked your first cheese, you will start smoking all of them and having fun finding new delicious flavors.
Smoked mozzarella cheese and smoked cheddar cheese and two of our favorites because they are so inexpensive to make. The cheap store-bought cheese tastes amazing after an hour of sitting in smoke.
What are the best cheeses for smoking?
There are so many good cheeses to smoke. I recommend thinking about what flavors you like the best and what applications you plan to use them.
Hard Cheese: Sharp Provolone or Parmesean has a great taste that holds up to smoking. You may need to let these smoke a little longer to ensure they get good flavor.
Semi-Hard Cheese: Gouda, swiss, cheddar, and pepper jack are deliciously smoked. They absorb smoke fairly quickly and have so many applications.
Soft Cheese: Mozzarella is one of my favorite smoked cheeses. Brie is a little tough with the thick rind. If you slice it open and expose the inside, it will smoke well. Just be sure to keep the temp cold with lot of ice to keep it from melting. Brie doesn't require much heat to melt.
What to do with smoked cheese
Eat it! Honestly, it is great just as a snack. You can use them in the way you would other cheese.
Charcuterie Boards: There is something cool about being able to present a great charcuterie board and take credit for the delicious cheese.
Pizza: Just shred the smoked blocks of smoked mozzarella cheese and use it as a delicious topping for your pizza. You could even make Traeger Pizza with already smoked mozzarella cheese to boost the flavor!
Burgers: Slices of smoked cheddar cheese take any burger to the next level. Or how about smoked swiss cheese and mushrooms on a smoked turkey burger. Now I am getting hungry!
Breakfast: Smoked cheese omelets or egg bakes are delicious. We recently made several smoked cheese egg bakes for a brunch we hosted, everyone loves the smoky cheese flavors.
Sandwiches: Another easy, natural application for yummy cheese. You could also have great grilled cheese or paninis with your smoked cheese.
What tools are needed for smoked cheese?
Grill: You will need a grill with a lid to keep the smoke contained so the cheese absorbs the smoke flavor. I like using my Weber kettle charcoal grill because I can adjust the vents to allow some airflow, you don't want too much air flowing because the smoke needs to be contained to flavor the cheese, but you want some so that the moisture doesn't just condense all over the cheese.
Smoker Tube: A smoker tube generates a great deal of smoke. The size of the tube will determine how long it will be able to produce smoke.
Lighter: I recommend a butane torch or pastry torch to light the pellets. You need a good strong hot flame to get this going quickly.
What is the fuel for smoking cheese?
Wood Pellets: Food-grade wood pellets, not the ones for heating your home. They will come in all flavors like cherry, oak, hickory, apple, and pecan. You can also blend different ones together to come up with your own signature flavor.
Wood chips: Wood chips are harder to maintain the smoke. You will get them started similar to the pellets, but they don't burn as evenly. They offer great flavor and several different options as well. If you don't have pellets, wood chips are a great alternative.
Can you place the cheese directly on the grilling grate?
You can. For a softer cheese, I recommend using foil, parchment paper, or even butcher paper beneath the cheese. If you place the cheese on foil, you will want to make sure you are flipping it throughout the smoke to ensure that the smoke permeates all the sides. Butcher paper is great because the smoke can still penetrate through it.
How do you keep from melting the Cheese?
The smoker tube does but out some heat. The goal is to try and keep the grill at room temperature or cooler. Here are a few tips.
Ice: A great way to balance that is to add a large bowl of ice cubes to the grill. I like to put the ice closer to the cheese than the smoker tube to work most effectively. The firmer the cheese, the less ice will be needed to maintain the temperature.
Cold weather: Pick a cooler day to make it an easier task of keeping the smoker cool. In the winter, you might be fine with no ice, the cold weather will accomplish what you want.
Shade: Avoiding the direct sun, will help to keep the grill temperature down. The key is to assess all the factors and work to maintain the perfect environment for the cheese to absorb smoke without melting.
Instructions for how to cold smoke cheese
Step One: Start your smoke. Get your smoke tube going so that you have a steady smoke before you put the cheese on the grill.
Step Two: Place the cheese on the smoker along with a bowl of ice. Place the lid on the grill
Step Three: Rotate and turn the cheese to ensure the smoke flavor is evenly applied. You don't want to open the lid of the grill too frequently, but every 15 minutes would be sufficient.
Step Four: After at least an hour of smoking, your cheese is done. You can serve it immediately or put it into sealed bags and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, but sometimes the smell of the smoke can fill the fridge if not wrapped well.
Can I freeze smoked cheese?
Yes, you can. I recommend using freezer bags and vacuum seal them to keep them best.
How long should I cold smoke cheese?
You can vary the time based on the intensity of the smoky taste you are looking for. I have found that semi-hard cheese is best cold smoked for about an hour. From there, I go longer for harder cheeses, and shorter for softer cheeses.
Remember to turn and rotate the cheese every fifteen minutes, as well as maintain a temperature that will not melt the cheese. The smoked mozzarella cheese and smoked cheddar cheese you see in these photos were both smoked for an hour.
- 16 oz mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz cheddar cheese
- Start the smoke tube so that you have a steady smoke.
- Place the cheese on the smoker along with a bowl of ice. Place the lid on the grill.
- Rotate and turn the cheese to ensure the smoke flavor is even, about every 15 minutes.
- After at least an hour of smoking, your cheese is done.
- You can serve the smoked cheddar or smoked mozzarella immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.