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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Smoking Cheese - Electric smoker


smoked cheese in an electric smoker

Oh! It's been a long time. Sorry about that. 

But hey, it's that season again and my family is gathering food and doing summer stuff and one of the big summer things is smoking cheese. 

We don't have a cold smoker. Our smokers are both electric, and both are Smokehouse Products smokers. One was bought off season at a heavily discounted price- but honestly, it would have been worth full price for how much we use it. The other one is smaller and I got it from a garage sale for free. 

The primary thing we use our smokers for is CHEESE. My family loves smoked cheese but it's expensive. Locally it's about 17 dollars a lb. With a coupon, I can get cheddar cheese for about 3.00 a lb. 

So when it comes to smoking cheese, I've used green apple wood that my son and I whittled into chips, purchased chips, and purchased hardwood for smoking and grilling- also whittled into chips. 

The Chief line of smokers from Smokehouse Products use chips in a small pan on top of an electric element. Fairly low voltage at 450W in my Big Chief model. You set it up on a non-combustible surface for smoking. 

The big issue for smoking cheese in this kind of smoker is that it is NOT a cold smoker. In fact, it runs about 165F, and cheddar melts at 150F. Well, that's kind of a big problem if you want pretty and yummy blocks of smoked cheddar. 

So what we do is get blocks of cheese and cut them down to the sizes we want and put them on the top two racks ONLY. Then under that on a shelf, we put a big pan of ice. The ice helps cool the smoke- and we leave the top open an inch or two so it draws the smoke out of the top across the cheese. 

We like our cheese a little smokier, so we run 3 pans full of chips through it then let the cheese cool a bit before wrapping it in plastic wrap. 

I can do 4 or 5 lbs of cheese this way at a time, and it might be 3 dollars worth of wood chips if I used purchased chips instead of apple wood or other types of woods that are good for smoking that I can get for free, and at 450W, for a full 2 hours costs less than 20 cents to run the smoker. So if I get the cheese for 3 lb a lb, and do 4 lbs, finished cost is less than 4.00/lb to smoke it myself. 

My youngest LOVES our smoked cheddar. So it does get more expensive that way. She eats about twice as much cheese when it's smoked!