We had a few large blocks of cheese left over from a trip to Amish Country in Pennsylvania. They sat in the freezer for quite a while, but I had an itching to try something new on the Big Green Egg. We had a get-together with some friends and needed some finger food, so I whipped up some homemade soft pretzel bites to use with this delicious smoked cheese dip. We are going to smoke the cheese and then we’ll show you how to make the pretzel bites and the smoked cheese dip in the next two posts. DELISH!
How to Smoke Cheese
I read several different techniques to smoke cheese in the Big Green Egg:
- Use a second BGE for the smoking, and use a dryer vent to force the smoke into the inlet of the second Egg. While I would love to try that, I couldn’t convince Ginny to let me buy a second BGE just for this dip. What the heck?!?
- Use a Smoker Box. I thought about adding some wood chips in to the smoker box and giving a light smoke to the cheese. I didn’t want to spend the money to buy one, and really didn’t want to wait.
- Use a low and slow smoking. I emptied out most of the charcoal and added two hickory wood chunks. The key here is to closely monitor the temperature inside the grill to make sure the cheese doesn’t melt. This is the route I chose.
Setting up the Grill
I emptied all but a handful of charcoal lumps and lit them. After they caught, I added two large hickory chunks that my neighbor’s parents brought. It didn’t take long for the smoke to start billowing.
I set the plate setter in place for a nice indirect heat, and added the cheese blocks to a disposable pan.
I kept the temperature below 200 degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes. Once I could see the cheese starting to get soft, I took it off the grill to cool. It doesn’t take long to smoke these!
What Types of Cheese to use for Smoking
I read that soft cheeses would not work as well for the direct smoking that I did. Fortunately, I had a block of cheddar, a block of pepper jack and a block of swiss. The swiss was a bit soft, but did REALLY well.
The key is to choose a larger block of cheese and a hard cheese.
What to Make with Smoked Cheese
- I used the cheddar for a fantastic smoked cheese and beer dip. Seriously – it was to-die-for! I couldn’t tell if I liked the pretzel bites or the cheese dip better! The cheese had that awesome smoky, earthy flavor and it added a special kick to the dip.
- Smoked Mac and Cheese! I will be using this on my grilled macaroni and cheese!
- Sliced for a great twist on a deli sandwich.
- Cubed, and served with toothpicks and other finger foods like the Cranberry Chili Beer Brats.
- On a grilled pizza!
- Good ‘ol cheese and crackers. Can’t go wrong with that!
- Smoked cheese quesadillas.
- Use this in other dips that have a southwestern flair.
- Substitute smoked cheese for any cheese in a breakfast casserole. Again, this is an earthy flavor that is really unexpected.
- Use the smoked cheese in a hashbrown casserole. You know the one we all make from Cracker Barrel. Delish!
- Sprinkle on baked potatoes or use in a twice baked potato.
- Use the smoked cheese in a scalloped potato dish.
How Long does Smoked Cheese Last
If you keep it refrigerated, a nice smoked cheese will last around three to four weeks. If you freeze it, it will last another three to six months. Vacuum seal it to extend the life even longer.
- 1 lb hard cheese
- Set up the grill for a low and slow indirect heating
- Light the grill, but keep the temperature below 225 degrees
- Add the smoking chips of your choice
- When the smoke is billowy, place the hard cheese in a disposable pan and add it to the grill.
- After 20 minutes, remove the cheese. If the temperature gets too warm, the cheese will start to melt, so watch it carefully
- Let the cheese cool completely and slice!