While it is relatively easy to follow the guide on how to cold smoke cheese on a Traeger grill, there is a specific setup that you need to follow to get that smoky flavor that you want.
Cold-smoked cheese is pretty easy to do, but it can be difficult to get the nice flavor and texture you are aiming for. This is especially true if you do not know much about it.
If done right, cold-smoked cheese will add more flavors to your cheese while also preserving it longer. It can cover the saltiness and make it milder with a hint of smokiness on the surface.
Traeger is a company that is known to produce versatile grills. This is because the grills can turn into high-end smokers that can cook anything you like.
This means that while the grills are powerful enough to put some nice sear marks on your food, they can also manage lower temperatures and cook with the low and slow cooking method.
However, even the Traeger grill’s low and slow smoking capability is not enough to cold smoke cheese. You need some sort of modification to get to the right temperature.
Setting Up The Traeger Grill
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the Traeger grill does not overpower the cheese and melt it during the process. This means preheating the grill ahead of time.
You will also need some things to help maintain the low temperature you want to use in the process. This comes with pans or casseroles for putting the ice in later in the smoking.
You need to set up the Traeger grill properly as well to attain lower temperatures. The best time to cold smoke a cheese is when it is raining outside or colder, like the winter months.
If you live in an area where there is no such thing as winter or cold months like the tropical ones, I suggest setting up the Traeger grill somewhere under the shade of a tree or on your patio.
Cleaning the Traeger grill is also very important before you begin the process of smoking the cheese. Make sure that you brush the grill grates properly and clean off any food residual.
This is to help ensure that the cheese does not contaminate with any kind of bacteria coming from the other types of food you have cooked on the grill. So clean the rill thoroughly.
How to Cold Smoke Cheese On A Traeger Grill
Step 1: Prepare The Tools You Need
You will need to get something to help you make the temperature go lower than what the grill can for this process. The most common way to do this is to use ice placed on a tray.
Prepare two trays for cold smoking the cheese as you will also need the other one to place the cheese on. Of course, prepare the cheese that you want to smoke before anything else.
You will also need to get some toothpicks as they will help later to prevent the cheese from sticking onto the pan or tray. Get some parchment papers ready as well for wrapping them.
Step 2: Preheat The Traeger Grill
Once everything is ready and you are now about to cook, preheat the grill to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and then leave it with the lid closed for at least 15 minutes before cooling it down.
After 15 minutes, the temperature inside the grill might still be too hot for the cheese and so you will need the ice. The goal of preheating the grill is to make sure that the temperature is even.
Allow the grill to cool down and make sure not to rush the process. Most Traeger grills have built-in thermometers on their lids and so you can refer to that and aim for less than 10 degrees.
Step 3: Prepare The Cheese
Once you get all the trays and pans ready, and you are waiting for the grill to cool down, prepare the cheese by first filling the larger tray with ice to the top before it overflows.
This is the main factor that will help in reducing the temperature inside the grill and prevent it from climbing back up once you close the lid. Set it aside and prepare the smaller tray or pan.
Get some toothpicks or cooling racks and then place them on the smaller pan. The toothpicks will be where you put the cheese on directly to not stick to the pan when it is smoked.
Prepare the cheese by cutting it into smaller or thinner pieces. The smaller or the thinner the pieces are, the easier it is to put that smoky flavor into them, making sure to adjust the cuts.
Step 4: Smoke The Cheese
Place the tray of ice on the grill grates once the grill reaches a temperature of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tray of cheese on top of the tray of ice and let it cold smoke.
Close the lid and let the cheese cold smoke for at least an hour before checking it. You should see the temperature inside the grill on the thermometer, so avoid opening the lid.
After an hour, open the lid of the grill and then adjust the temperature. If the heat is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, add more ice to the tray or preheat the grill again if it gets too cold.
Flip the cheese over and then let it cold smoke again for another hour. From there, you can then check the cheese after an hour and let it smoke if you want more color or remove them.
Step 5: Letting Them Rest
Once you get the color you want on the cheese, you can remove it from the grill. Let it rest for a little bit by wrapping it in parchment paper but do not completely seal the cheese with it.
Leave enough room for the cheese to cool down a little and let the moisture evaporate from the surface of the cheese. Once it comes down to room temperature, seal the cheese.
Place the cheese in the fridge and let it stay there for two to three days to let the smoky flavor tone down a little bit. From there, you can enjoy your smoky cheese with your favorite wine.
Leaving the cheese to rest in the refrigerator for at least two weeks will also improve the flavor. This can give you more of the smokiness you want and change it to a harder texture.
Which Cheese Should I Cold Smoke?
The number one challenge when smoking cheese is making sure that the cheese doesn’t melt. That is why it is best you use hard types of cheese if you want to smoke them.
Some favorite suggestions are mozzarella cheese, provolone, and cheddar. Although cheddar is not that hard of cheese, it absorbs the smoky flavor well to be cold smoked.
This is not the simplest or easiest way to cook your cheese so you will most likely make some mistakes before you perfect the process. The secret is to adjust accordingly to the situation.
If the grill gets too hot, you add more ice, if it gets too cold, you will need to preheat it again and wait for it to cool down a bit. Just make sure that the cheese doesn’t melt in the grill.
After one or two tries, you will be able to master the process, especially with the help of an amazing grill such as Traeger. So make sure to follow the instructions above!
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