How to Smoke Cheese on a Pellet Grill
You walk by the specialty cheese case at the grocery store, and something catches your eye — the smoked cheeses. You think about your pellet grill at home that you use to make amazingly smoked meals and wonder if you can recreate these delicious specialty cheeses in your backyard. We’ve got good news for grillers who have wondered if they can smoke their own cheese or who have wanted to branch out and try new recipes. It is possible to smoke your own cheese, and the results are good enough to gift, but you’ll definitely want to keep some for yourself!
Can You Smoke Your Own Cheese?
Luckily for those who love the artisanal flavors of smoked cheese or those who have never had the pleasure of trying it, you can achieve the delicious results at home. Follow these steps to prepare your cheese for smoking so you get the best possible results:
- Cut wheels of cheese or larger blocks into small wedges or blocks.
- Clean your grill until it’s spotless to prevent bits of food from contaminating the cheese.
- Place cheese on a small mesh rack so it doesn’t fall through grill grates.
Once your cheese is ready, you need to think about the other ingredient — smoke. The key to smoking cheese in a smoker is low temperatures. Many types of cheese, especially softer varieties, can melt at relatively low temperatures, with the fats in cheese beginning to melt at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature gets higher, you’ll end up with a melted mess rather than delicious, smoky cheese. Sure, melted cheese is delicious, but it isn’t what you’re after when smoking. To prevent this, you need to know how to smoke cheese on a pellet grill with low temperatures. Achieving those lower temperatures is possible in some different ways:
- If you live in a cold climate, try smoking cheese in a smoker during the winter.
- If you live in a warm climate, place your smoker in the shade.
- If you need to cool down your smoker, add a pan of ice.
- Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature inside your grill.
- Check the temperature every thirty minutes and adjust ice or wood chip levels as needed.
You’ve got some other factors to consider when it comes to knowing how to smoke cheese on a grill, so be sure to check out all of our tips below before you get started.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Cheese in a Smoker?
Before you venture into this smoking project, you’re probably wondering how long to smoke cheese for on your grill. The amount of time you leave your cheese to smoke depends on the strength of the flavor you want. Some leave cheese to smoke for two hours to develop just enough smoke flavor that isn’t overwhelming. Others prefer subtler flavors and only leave cheese in the smoker for an hour.
You’ll also have to think about the type of cheese you’re using as you figure out how long to smoke it for on your grill. Softer cheeses can absorb flavors faster, so they may not need as long, while semi-hard cheeses will take a bit more time to soak in those delicious flavors. If you have smaller wedges or blocks of cheese, they may not need as much time to smoke as larger pieces, so keep that in mind as you prep.
It may take some trial and error since every setup is different, so be prepared to try different combinations of sizes and smoke times for a variety of cheeses. Label everything and feel free to take notes as you home in on the best possible method.
What Is the Best Cheese to Smoke?
The best cheese to smoke on a grill depends on what you like, but there are some other factors that make cheese better for smoking. You’ll be happy to hear that you don’t need to purchase the highest-quality, most expensive options on the market to smoke. Instead, you just need to:
- Avoid varieties with a rind or wax coating. The rind will make it more difficult for the cheese to absorb the smoky flavor from the process. You can remove wax rinds, however, and cut into a wheel with a natural rind to expose the cheese to the smoke, but you’ll probably get the best results with varieties that have no rind at all.
- Be careful with softer cheeses. Soft cheeses have a higher moisture content than other varieties, meaning they’re prone to melting at lower temperatures than their harder counterparts. Cheeses like mozzarella and brie are soft and begin to completely melt at 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you’ll have to be careful if smoking them. Try hard or low moisture mozzarella if you really want to see how mozzarella tastes when smoked.
- Use cheese with the right hardness. Semi-hard cheeses are among the best for smoking on a grill. Cheddar and Gouda are incredibly popular options, but other delicious varieties include Swiss, Gruyere and Monterey Jack. Varieties like these don’t fully melt until they reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit, so you have a bit more room for error.
Take a look through the specialty cheese case to see what cheese varieties grocery stores sell smoked. Odds are you can create your own smoked version at home of what they sell in stores, but you can also get creative with your favorite types of cheese.
What Are the Best Types of Wood to Use When Smoking Cheese?
Now that you know what cheese to use, you need to know the best wood to smoke it with on your pellet grill. Try for mild flavors until you have a better grasp of how to smoke cheese. Once you’ve tried it a few times, you may want to branch out to other flavors or you may find that the types of pellets you’ve chosen are the best wood to smoke cheese. Common mild options for smoking pellets that go well with cheese include:
Balance flavors between the cheese and the wood pellets you use for smoking. Mild cheeses can get a flavor boost from slightly stronger smoking pellets, while stronger cheeses should only get a mild addition of smoky flavor. Of course, it all comes down to your preference in the end, so experiment with an array of flavor combinations to see what you think tastes best.
How Do You Store Smoked Cheese?
Once you’ve brought your cheese and smoking pellets together in mouthwatering, harmonious flavor, you need to store the results properly. Get ready to practice some patience and take these steps:
- Wrap the cheese in untreated butcher paper or parchment paper.
- After one to two days, remove the cheese from the paper and vacuum seal it.
- If you can’t vacuum seal, place the cheese in a zip-top bag and slowly dunk the bag in a bowl of water to remove the air.
- Label whatever you store your cheese in with the type of cheese and the date you smoked it.
- Refrigerate the sealed bags for two weeks before enjoying.
It may seem like a long time to wait before you can try your smoked creation, but trust us, it will be worth it! When cheese first comes off the grill, it will have a strong smoky flavor on the outside and not the inside, which isn’t what you want to taste. Allow the cheese to sit for two weeks, and the flavors will mellow out and distribute throughout the whole block.
You can also smoke a lot of cheese during colder months, vacuum seal it and store it in your fridge for up to a year — though we doubt it’ll last that long before someone chows down or uses it in amazing recipes!
Create Smoky Flavors With Help From Grilla Grills
Now that you know how to smoke cheese on a grill, you’ve got unlimited potential for your recipes and snacks. What’ll help you achieve that potential? Quality smoking equipment and supplies from us at Grilla Grills. We strive to create consistent, high-quality grills and fuel for all of your cooking needs and to offer it at a value.
Check out our pellet grills to find the best option for you. Whether you choose the Silverbac, Grilla or Chimp, be sure to stock up on fuel for all your smoking needs. You’ll find flavors that go perfectly with cheese and other foods that taste amazing when given the smoked treatment, so what are you waiting for? Create mouthwatering smoky flavors with help from us at Grilla Grills, and you’re sure to impress your friends, family and even yourself!