Cheese Smoke Flavour

Started by SmokemIfYaGotem, December 16, 2023, 01:50:30 PM

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SmokemIfYaGotem

Looking for some advice from all you pros out there.
I smoked some cheese about 4 weeks ago and vacuum sealed it a few hours afterwards.  Today I opened a few packs and I find it all just takes like smoke.  None of the flavours I used to smoke it with are really coming through.

I did 3 different sessions with 3 different smoke flavours: Whiskey Oak, Apple Cherry (mixed), and Beer.  All Bradley branded bisquettes.
Smoking time was about 1hr 45min each time.

Am I doing something wrong?  Or as these just not good flavour choices for smoking cheese?
I had read that some people refrigerate after smoking for a couple of days, before they vacuum seal it.  Could this be the problem?

Otherwise the smoking process went pretty smoothly on my P10.  Temperatures stayed low enough without having to use a smoke tube or an ice tray (outside temperatures were close to freezing).  The end result is just not as flavourful as I was hoping it would be.

Habanero Smoker

Hi SmokemIfYaGotem;

Welcome to the forum.

Looks like your smoking process, packaging and storage is alright. Any of those flavors should have given you good end results. Although I've never tried the Beer on cheese. I don't believe not refrigerating prior to sealing is the cause of the issue. I generally just temper (room temperature) mine in the smoker, or kitchen counter for several hours.

As for smoke flavor that is subjective. As I age, I find that my taste buds are not as sharp. As far as for smoke flavor, could I tell them apart in a blind test, the answer would be no (except for mesquiet or the Bradley special herb blends). Some woods produce a stronger flavor, some add notes of sweetness, etc. That is what I look for when choosing a flavor. You are not going to get the taste of apple, or cherry, or oak. With cheese the difference in flavor may be more subtle. Try eating the cheeses at room temperature, to see if that makes a difference. Warm foods tend to produce better flavors.



     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

SmokemIfYaGotem

Thanks Habanero!
I guess I was expecting a bigger taste difference between them, but sounds like that was just a misunderstanding on my part.

I'll definitely try the different cheeses at room temperature and see how that goes.
I've got about 8lbs of smoked cheese here to experiment with. 😁

Appreciate the info and advice.

Habanero Smoker

Cheese is one ot the hardest things for me to smoke. But it looks like you got it right.

I have a P10, and your post gave me hope that I can smoke cheese in that smoker.  :)



     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

manxman

#4
QuoteAs for smoke flavor that is subjective. As I age, I find that my taste buds are not as sharp. As far as for smoke flavor, could I tell them apart in a blind test, the answer would be no (except for mesquiet or the Bradley special herb blends). Some woods produce a stronger flavor, some add notes of sweetness, etc. That is what I look for when choosing a flavor. You are not going to get the taste of apple, or cherry, or oak. With cheese the difference in flavor may be more subtle. Try eating the cheeses at room temperature, to see if that makes a difference. Warm foods tend to produce better flavors.

I have smoked a lot of cheese using a variety of puck flavours over the years, predominantly but not limited to whiskey oak, oak and apple. Whiskey oak is now my go to puck purely because I find it the most suitable for smoking fish whilst it works well for cheese but can I detect any whiskey flavour? No!  Have I ever been able to differentiate between them with respect to cheese and again I would have to say no in that any minor / subtle differences are more likely to be due to other factors. As I age in addition to my taste buds not being as sharp my level of cynicism has increased and I think in most instances the variations between puck flavours are more of a marketing ploy and fanciful than anything of substance other than strong flavours like mesquite. The same is also true of my pellet grill! For cheese I would avoid a very strong smoke flavour or the artisan puck flavours and play around with smoke times and temperatures to end up with a level of smokiness you and your friends enjoy. To my mind it is this level of smokiness in combination with the type of cheese that dictates how enjoyable the end product is.

It would be interesting to know the actual internal temperature of the P10 when cold smoking cheese, a quick google shows various sources quoting temperature maximum limits of 90F, 85F, 80F, 65F and 50F for cold smoking cheese which very often seem to be selected to suite the narrative of the writer! Personally I would not cold smoke cheese above around 55-60F as I feel this affects the flavour I hope to achieve.

In addition what type of cheese were you smoking, even the addition of smoke to mild / mature / vintage (?US equivalents) has variable outcomes as does block size / dimensions.

Again as Habs points out cheese is one of the hardest things to smoke starting with the fact that cheese itself covers a vast array of products! Bringing it to room temperature before eating is a must and as you can see from the above people have their own ideas as to the perfect outcome.

In my case it was very much practice makes perfect and whilst I never had any unmitigated disasters playing around with the variables does reap rewards in the end! However I would suggest that puck flavour (mesquite notwithstanding) is not one of the major variables in fine tuning the end product. ;)
Manxman