It’s pretty much the holiday season at this point (if radio stations are playing holiday music, we think it counts), and that means it’s also the season of joy, revelry, and awkward exchanges with those coworkers who work on the other side of the office and you only really ever see when the words “free booze” show up in a company email.
Ignoring office holiday parties for the moment, you, too, might be hosting a holiday party this season. Do you know what you’re making yet? Hummus and chips? Chips and salsa? Mini meatballs that you’ve bought by the bag and drop in a gravy that was powder only moments before?
First, we’ve taught you better than that. There are plenty of options for everything from cocktails to main courses to keep you occupied for years. We now want to add one more side dish for you to consider: smoked cheese.
Why smoked cheese? We’ve got a couple of reasons.
First, it gives you a reason to use the smoker again. It may be getting colder, but you can’t say you haven’t looked lovingly outside at your smoker, cooing to it that it’ll be warmer soon. Well, warmth be damned! It’s time to fire that puppy up.
Second, it’s cheese. Do you really need more of a reason than that? Once you got the method down for one type of cheese, you can experiment.
If you need a third reason, here it is: smoked cheese adds a whole new flavor profile to any meal. You can do anything from smoked cheese on crackers to turkey and smoked cheese sliders to smoked mac and cheese to, well, anything with cheese in it. Those smoky flavors, bolstered by your choice of wood, will only enhance whatever you’re preparing.
Finally (we promise, this is our last reason), smoking cheese is super easy. Want to know how easy? We spoke with the smoker producer Oklahoma Joe’s to find out just how easy. Below, check out their recipe for smoked cheese. All you need to do after that is remember to add your new smoked cheese to everything at your holiday part (except for the Old Fashioneds and one dish for anyone who is lactose intolerant).
How to Smoke Cheese
Cheeses, cut into 1 x 1 by .25” slices:
- Cheddar cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Gouda cheese
- Pepper Jack cheese
- Brick Cheese
Woods for Smoking:
- 1 cup apple wood chips
- 1 cup cherry wood chips
- 1 cup hickory wood chips
- Place a single lit charcoal briquette inside your smoker’s firebox, then pile the wood chips on top.
- Close the lid and adjust the air vent(s) for a 5 percent opening. Make sure the temperature doesn’t rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: it’s cheese, it will melt at high enough temperatures.)
- Place the cheeses inside your smoker and smoke for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheeses from the smoker and serve right away or store in the refrigerator.