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I have been doing smoked cheese in my old 009 for a number of years. I have tried to get the smoke color that the commercial smoked cheese has on it, but can't seem to figure it out. The cheese does get darker, and has a great smoked flavor, but the color doesn't come close to the commercial stuff. Is there a secret to getting this color?
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Figure the commercial smoked cheese is done in large smokers where the cheese is located in the middle and evenly surrounded by heat and smoke or maybe rotated automatically throughout the smoking area. In our small environments, our smokers do a good job but heat distribution is somewhat uneven. Some of the cheese and even an individual chunk will receive uneven heat varying the color from piece to piece and along an individual piece. It bothered me at first, but now I ignore it and just enjoy the flavor.

That said, I would love to have someone share a technique that produces evenly distributed flavor and color. I suspect if we learned our smokers hot spots and cooler spots, and we took the time to rotate the cheese during the smoke from hot spot to cooler spots, our results would improve. Next time I smoke some cheese, I'll do some experimenting and see if I can improve the results. I'll report back with the results.
I can't argue with either of the above. Commercial producers need to make a product that's apealing to the eye to sell. As pags said- it still tastes good and that's the important thing- I just did 3 pounds of smoked sheeses for a work Christmas party and it was completely gone before the day was out. I think the taste is more important.
Idaho Mike,
If it is the caramel color you are referring to. You may obtain it by doing a cold smoke for a number of hours depending on the intensity of your smoke. I usually obtain the nice caramel color in the five hour area. Recommend that you do not allow your cheese to get above 75° as the texture of cheese starts to change at 80°. I will pull mine at 70°and re-smoke it when conditions are cooler until the desired color is reached. Hope this helps. Anymore questions, please ask.
MR. T
quote:
Originally posted by wilheldp:
Is there a way to smoke cheese in a FEC-100? I don't see a cold smoke kit for it on the website, and it seems like it would be difficult to get a pellet smoker to hold a temp that low.

put a piece or 3 of burning charcoal in a pan cover with chips or pellets. Too much of the coals will make too much heat; so play with it and remove coals if it starts heating up.
Person could try foiling some of the shelves and put a pan of ice between two of them along with the cheese. I would think if you foiled the one right above the exhaust, it might help draw out some heat and then use the top two with a pan of ice.

I'm sure if I guy played around with different options, it could be done.
I have a FEC100 and do alot of cold smoking usually under 70F or at ambient. Use the FEC100 as you normally would but re-purpose the smoke to another box. I use a oak wine barrel with a couple of weber racks mounted inside connected with about 20' of flex tubing. This lets me cold smoke at the same time I'm cooking butts or anything else. Aside from that if you only wanted to cold smoke Pags advice on a amazen smoker would be the most reliable way to go. I have both but usually use the wine barrel

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I usually cook around 225F in the FEC100 and the barrel stays around 70-80F depending on the ambient temperature. On HOT days all bets are off, when it's 95F out you can't get below that temp... The 20' of 6" flex duct does a good job of cooling down the smoke. I leave the barrel lid open until the FEC100 is up to operating temperature and running smooth, about 20 minutes. I haven't experienced any back flow or restriction issues over the past year. I use the KISS approach for airflow. Six corks in the lid and a 2x2 block to keep the lid ajar if needed. The cabernet barrel lends a mellow flavor to the cheese, sausage, herbs, salmon, etc that I cold smoke

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A friend did a small machine shop job for me so when he needed a favor, I said "Sure, I'll smoke some cheese that you can give to a couple friends for Christmas"
He must have brought over fifteen pounds of cheese in a cooler ! Heh. I got it all done in one day. It was cool out so I just waited until the old Smokasaurus was cooled down and ran another batch. Finished in the PM in the dark.
Hi Pags, I left out the rest of the routine which is right off these pages. Use the insulated shelf on the bottom and I like the fish grill on top because the cross bars add more support for the cheese.
I do put a small metal baking pan with ice on the insulated shelf just below the cheese.
I use chips instead of a chunk because they start smoking immediately and pour out lots of smoke. Store bought smoked cheese is a pale comparison to cheese cooked this way.
You can sometimes get away with 95 degrees but best is to shut off the oven at 90-92 degrees or you might wind up cleaning out your smoker with a spatula. Ambient temp is important. I like to smoke at 65 degrees or less outside. That allows lots of time to ramp up to 90 and get some good smoke exposure. If it gets too hot, forget it. Smoke the cheese early am or pm to get a low ambient temp.
Tried Alder chips once and thought although it was good, it lacked something the cherry puts into the cheese.
My wife really likes Yellow Cheddar, I like a lower calorie Irish white cheddar sold at Trader Joes markets. Also my favorite cheeses to smoke are Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan, Romano, Toscano and Pepper Jack. Probably the single tastiest cheese for me is the Gruyere. Toast your favorite bread, put some smoked Gruyere and smoked turkey on it, what ever condiments you like, microwave it until the cheese just starts to melt and get ready to make a second one because you are going to like it.
Also get your favorite cracker with a bit of cheese and a bite of apple or pear with it and you will be in heaven.
Not that I like to eat.

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