If You Love Cheese, Try To Smoke Cheese On Your Big Green Egg
If you have never tried a Big Green Egg, you are surely missing out on a wonderful grilling/smoking experience, especially if you love to smoke cheese.
I purchased my Big Green Egg in July of 2013 as I was thoroughly jealous of my friend Joe. Joe, wouldn’t you know, would make the most succulent meats and fish in his Big Green Egg. For those of you who are not familiar with the Big Green Egg, think of this as a ceramic Dutch oven. The air circulates between lower and upper vents, in essence trapping and retaining heat at a constant temperature for hours on end.
Since my purchase, I have become quite the EGG head, trying new recipes for smoked brisket (still can’t get that right), salmons (both grilled and smoked), desserts (yes you can smoke a pie), pizzas, as well as smoke cheese on the Big Green Egg.
Yesterday was my second attempt at smoking cheese, but I prefer this method of smoking cheese versus using pellets. So here is what you will need:
- One empty baked bean can;
- One aluminum dryer vent;
- Duct tape;
- Two easy-light briquettes;
- Maple chunks or chips; and
Yesterday was a perfect cold day for cold smoking cheese. Yes, cold smoking cheese. For my method, there is no heat at all. The last thing you want to do is actually have heat in your Big Green Egg, as this can do what? Yes, melt the cheese. The first thing I do is I remove all of the old lump charcoal in my Big Green Egg and remove any of the ashes that might be in the bottom of the basket. The next thing I do is I take the flexible, aluminum dryer vent and attach this to the lower vent grate with old-fashioned duct tape. Make sure that you use an ample amount of duct tape to prevent any smoke from creeping out of the vent.
The third step is I take the empty baked bean can and put two briquettes in the bottom. I then take a butane lighter to rapidly ignite the briquettes. After several minutes of making sure the briquettes are on fire, I then take either maple chunk or maple chips and place these into the baked bean can on top of the briquettes. I prefer to use a maple chunk as the chips can burn rapidly and one can loose their smoke. After ten minutes, I attach the other end of the aluminum dryer vent to the top of the baked bean can. Please note, I have also taken then place setter, placed this on the ground, feet down, and placed the baked bean can on top of the place setter.
Once I have determined that my maple smoke is flowing up through the Big Green Egg from the baked bean can, I then take my cheese, placing it on top of a grill extender. For my most recent endeavor, I took a pound of gouda and a pound of mild cheddar, slicing these into smaller chunks to better absorb the smoke.
After my cheese is placed into the Big Green Egg, I close lid. I leave open the top daisy wheel vent, because before I wander off and enjoy a libation, I make sure I have adequate smoke billowing out of the top of vent. Once I can see a fair amount of smoke coming out of the top vent, I close the top vent, nearly shutting the entire top holes completely. By doing so, I am still allowing for the air flow to pass thorough the cheese, from the bottom, out through the top.
I typically smoke cheddar and gouda for one hour. Once the final smoke is done, take the cheese off of the grill extender and place onto a pan. Then place your pan into the refrigerator for approximately one hour. This will help firm up the cheese. Once you pull your cheese out of the refrigerator, do not be tempted to take a bite (okay I did) as you will then want to shrink wrap each chunk in plastic.
Make sure you label your cheese with a date and the type of cheese, as you will want to cure your cheese in the refrigerator for at least three weeks. I know, I know, I have snuck a chunk out earlier than three weeks, but waiting helps the cheese aged a bit more and absorb the smoke.
So there you have it. Easy peasy, smoked cheesy.
UPDATE: JUNE 2018 – Over the past five years I have perfected and modified the way that I smoke cheese on my Big Green Egg. While I still love this methodology for smoking cheese, I now use a slightly different methodology. Today I am mainly using an Amazen pellet tray with apple pellets. After having a near mishap with my coffee can tipping over in a wind storm, this much simpler process for smoking cheese is also a late safer.