Freshly sliced cold smokers mozzarella cheese with a vibrant tomato and basil salad in the background.

Cold Smokers for Cheese and Foods (with Tips and Guide)

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

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You have various options for cold smokers when it comes to cheese. I’ve used all of them, and I wanted to help you on your cold smoking quest.

Cold Smoking is something I love to do; it can bring out a whole new dimension of flavor. It doesn’t require anything apart from a little cold smoke (and a chamber – more on this below).

Sometimes you only need 15 or 30 minutes of smoking cheese to get a desirable flavor. But remember that you won’t find out straight away what the smoke-level flavor is.

Best Cold Smokers for Cheese

After many years here is the equipment for the cold smokers, all very simple to set up.

Cold Smokers – Quick Guide for Equipment

Now let’s overview each cold smoker for your delicious cheese.

Charcoal and Wood Method

Charcoal wood basic smoker large 1

I came up with this simple process.

I used a camping gas burner to get a single piece of charcoal lit.

You need some form of blue heat hot butane lighter torch.

I like a crème brûlée torch. If your grill gets hot enough, you can also use a gas burner on high to get a piece or two of charcoal going.

You want a quarter or less of it white and burning. This means it can smolder for about half an hour.

A decent chunk of low & slow charcoal will burn for 30 minutes to an hour, which is plenty of time to cold smoke your cheese.

You can even use a ‘snake’ method and have 1 piece of lit charcoal burn through and have another piece on the other side.

Remember, it does depend on how large the chamber where you are smoking is whether it is a grill with a hood or in a metal container, smokehouse, low and slow hot smoker, or inside an old fridge, for instance.

This may seem a bit obvious With cold smoked cheese, but it needs to be a little cold to make it!

The general guide to cold smoking is it needs to be under 86°F/30°C.

Above this meat, like fish actually starts to cook, it’s also just safer to create a cold smoker for the cheese in a colder environment, as it is a dairy product.

I like to smoke cheese at under 60°F/15°C, often just in the evening as things cool.

You want a little airflow when cold smoking, but the old saying that less is more when it comes to the cold-smoked flavor, is very true.

I’ll be surprised what 15 or 20 minutes of cold smoking will do to the cheese flavor. Up to 2 hours, with decent airflow through the hard smoking area, is key.

Any type of smoking wood, like wood pellets, sawdust, or wood shavings, can be used. It goes without saying that you’re using a low resin hardwood; either you bought the wood at a store or got your own.

Fruit trees and grapevines are beneficial for having your own easy supply from pruning and trimming. (dry and chip it)

So, as mentioned, get some charcoal burning, put half a handful of smoking wood on it, and then provide a little bit of airflow.

Pellet Tube or Maze Smoker

Pellet tube cold smoking starting with torch
Getting the pellet tube going

It’s probably one of my favorite ways to do cold smoked cheese, even though I have a huge range of options at home.

I prefer to keep it simple, I did explore the idea of refining a motorcycle exhaust baffle as a cheap pellet smoker DIY style.

But going around mechanics. I could only find big, chunky car exhaust baffles; the metal was very heavy, and I would’ve probably had to spend a lot of time drilling more holes.

So for $30 a board pellet tube, you stand upright, fill it with pellets, get the top lit with a decent lighter torch, let it burn for six or seven minutes, and blow it out (here is a post on using a pellet tube).

If you’re not smoking meat or don’t plan to you could probably get away with the 6″ pellet tube, you still get two or three hours of smoking out of one load.

With the 12″ pellet tube, you can get 4 to 6 hours, depending on what type of wood you use.

Maze smokers are all similar designs, but you can sometimes use a tea candle set up to start the maze.

Some of the designs are only for sawdust, and some of the designs are for sawdust and pellet wood.

Check out some pellet tube and maze smoker I recommend here.

Also, here are some tips on using a pellet tube smoker for cheese and many other foods I highlighted:

Cold Smoking Accessory

If you have an electric smoker you can get an offset separate cold smoking attachment sometimes.

It’s a little investment but it means you can switch it on and use electricity easily to pump some cold smoke.

You do the cold smoking in the main chamber just with the power off and no heat going into it.

It depends on your setup, there are a couple of accessories to existing barbecue and low & slow smokers.

Certain brands like the electric Masterbuilt Smoker, have attachments that can attach to the side for cold smoking. Here is an article I wrote about it.

Smoke Generator

There aren’t a lot of smoke generators on the market, but they do a good job of producing cold smoke, and you can control how much air pushes through them and, hence, the amount of smoke.

They work on the venturi effect, so air is pushed through the middle, pulling the burning smoke in a vertical tube through it. Pretty ‘Cool’.

You can attach these to any space or cooking area, so the one that I have used in a very old kettle grill sometimes.

Cold smoking, cheese and other foods
Cold-smoking wild duck, salt, cheese and eggplant

I can place things on the grill inside and pump in the smoke like this.

Basically, it’s a variable pump with a dial, considering I’ve had it for about 8 years and only done a little bit of maintenance on it that’s lasted a while.

It can be the most significant investment for cold-smoking some cheese, though! But I wanted to give you towns, so more if you want to expand your cold smoking repertoire in the future!

Check out more about one of the decent smoke generators I wrote here.

Cold Smoking Cheese – Length of Time

I definitely wouldn’t go more than 1 to 2 hours for most cheeses, but it all depends on your taste preferences and how much airflow you’ve got going through.

The goal for me, is not to overpower the flavor of the cheese.

If your looking for the 'ducks nuts' (that means a very good bit of equipment). A smoke generator can be used as a cold smoker, or adding smoke to indirect cooking which equates to a form of 'low & slow' bbq or making smoked ham and some much more.

The inventor of smoke generators was Smokai, it's a simple device that uses the venturi effect and a variable air pump to control the amount of smoke you are pumping.

I have a range of cold smoking options, and the Smokai is my favorite.

 

Smokai on barrel 2 large 1

By far the smokai is the most efficient cold smoker I've come across because you have control. 

It also burns very clean, which flavors the food exceptionally well. I've been using smoke generators for over 10 years, and this one is the ducks nuts.

Check out this review I did of the Smokai Smoke Generator here.

If you are new to cold smoking, cheese can often be a great start project, here is a video I recorded all about cold smoking including cheese which may help.

Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.


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Comments

  1. Hi man, i’m from New Zealand and have been hunting, fishing and diving since a kid (i’m now an ageing teen at 52yrs). I also make cheese and grown mushrooms. (still a bit of crazy stuff going on here but non the less nailing some tasty morsels). I have always loved cooking my bounty and feeding my “guinea pig” friends as opposed to thinking of the money I could make selling it. Progressively I have developed a real interest in smoking, curing and more recently drying meats.I plan to open an open air restaurant specializing in cooking on open fires and promoting wild meats as a gift from the land in all forms.
    I just wanted to say that today I came across your website for the first time and have learned more and gained confidence in three hours of reading than I have over the past 5 years of youtube etc.
    Coincidentally, (Because we are locked down so I have time) I have just started building a meat and cheese curing system. Your advice has been easy to follow and so damned practical, thanks. I have been online and much of the gear you recommend is on its way to me.

    I have just said to my partner that when we plan our next overseas trip I would cherish to opportunity to meet you if it was possible.

    All the best for you and your family in the current unfortunate circumstances.

    Laurence

    1. Author

      Hey,
      I’ve been doing this cured meat blogging thing for quite a few years. I have to say, this was the kindest comment I have had!
      Glad to hear it’s helped – it’s a noble craft.
      All the best,
      Tom

    2. Author

      Wow!
      You’ve had a really good binge on my content!
      What a great time to learn more about this curing stuff now, during unprecedented times.

      All the best,
      Tom

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