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Smoked Cheddar Cheese

Of all the smoked cheeses, Cheddar is definitely my all-time favorite. Once you taste the home-smoked version, you just won’t be content to buy the presmoked stuff any longer. Gouda, Muenster, Edam, mozzarella, Swiss, and pepper Jack are also great choices for this recipe.–Jeff Phillips

LC Smoker Not Required Note

Remember those wooden crates from Hickory Farms, the ones that came around the holidays, shrink-wrapped and packed with wee rounds of smoked cheese? Even as a kid, you knew that they could taste soooo much better. And you were right. Here’s your proof. Nibble it at will, stack it on a cracker, or melt it on a burger. Smoker not required–or so it seems to us–given that the Three Hot Coals and a Woodchuck method described in the recipe below could easily be achieved on a grill.

Special Equipment: Apple, alder, or cherry wood chunks or chips

Smoked Cheddar Cheese Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 4 H
  • Makes two 8-ounce chunks

Ingredients

  • Two 8-ounce blocks Cheddar cheese

Directions

  • 1. Set up your smoker [Editor’s Note: or grill] to maintain a temperature of less than 90°F (32°C). It is imperative that the heat be no higher than 90°F (32°C) to prevent the cheese from melting all over your smoker. There are several options for creating the much-needed smoke while keeping the heat to a bare minimum. I know it sounds like a nursery rhyme, but the Three Hot Coals and a Woodchuck method is actually a simple way to cold smoke. Place the cheese on the grate of your smoker. Set three lit charcoal briquettes flat in the charcoal pan or firebox of your smoker. Place a flat wood chunk on top of the charcoal to create smoke. Provide a little airflow and replace the charcoal and/or wood chunks as needed to keep the smoke going for the desired period of time. You can also purchase a device to create smoke that will turn any smoker or grill into a cold smoker. The two devices I have used extensively are the Smoke Daddy and the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker both of which are inexpensive, hassle-free, and do a wonderful job.
  • 2. Place the blocks of cheese directly on the grate and apply light smoke for about 4 hours. Remove the cheese from the grate and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Store the smoked cheese in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before indulging to allow the smoke flavor to permeate the cheese and even mature slightly. (Uh, if you simply cannot wait 2 weeks, who’s going to tattle on you? Just know that the smoke flavor will be more pronounced and even somewhat bitter or, dare we say, acrid. If you can resist temptation, a perceived virtue that we usually find to be highly overrated, you’ll be rewarded with a more mellow smoke presence.)
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