Today I took my first stab at smoked cheese, being that it was on sale this week at Family Fare (local supermarket) and I had just gotten a hold on the temperature control of my Brinkmann Electric Smoker. I decided it was time to take the plunge, I dialed in 100°F on the controller, filled my smoker pan with a mix of Alder and Hickory chips, you know the really fine ones more like big saw dust, figured the might ignite a little better and let the smoker heat up while I prepared the cheese. I took a single 8oz block of cheddar, and placed it in a foil pan which was placed inside another foil pan filled with ice which was in turn placed in another foil pan filled with ice. Now I was the ice pan method to allow for a little bit greater heat in the smoker, while still maintaining a solid block of cheese as opposed to a giant pile of goo.
Well when I went out to place the cheese in the smoker there was a faint wisp of smoke trickling out of the smoker and so I placed the cheese in the smoker and walked away. I came back about a half an hour later only to find that the temperature was percisely where I had left it however, the smoke was no longer happening. It appears that the temperature controller maintains such tight control on the smoker temperature that the element is not left on for a long enough period at 100ºF for smoke to continually be made. Noticing this I bumped the temperature up to 110ºF and again had some smoke and left it to do its magic. Once again I returned to find no smoke, however, at this point I lowered the temperature back to 100ºF walked away and came back 1 hour later to retrieve my cheese.
And to my surprise the cheese did have a light smokey flavor, not like I had hoped for but none the less a smokey flavor. So my attempt was not a complete failure, I have reaffirmed that the temperature controller works really well, however, I have a little smoker problem to deal with.
All in all this was a success and while I contemplate ways to make a smokey 100ºF smoker run, I will munch on my lightly smoked cheese.