posted January 24, 2020
Smoked Gouda is an incredible way to add tasty smoked flavor to your cheese. Gouda and smoke make a fantastic pair. Enjoy it as-is, in mac and cheese, or eat it with your favorite cracker. It’s a major people-pleaser.
What is Smoked Gouda?
Gouda is a nice, semi-hard yellow cheese that is made from cow’s milk. The younger the cheese, the milder, smoother, and softer the cheese will be. With age, the Gouda takes on a stronger flavor and becomes harder. It has a smooth texture, and the flavor is a bit nutty and sweet. Gouda is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, likely due to it’s friendly flavor. It’s also delicious in a variety of recipes.
Smoked Gouda has that added element of smoky goodness to it, and it can either be purchased pre-made from the store, or you can smoke it yourself. For our purposes, we’re going to buy regular Gouda at the store and cold smoke it on our smoker.
Smoked Gouda Cheese
Gouda is super creamy and benefits from a bit of time in smoke. Because newer Gouda cheese is a bit softer (than say, a nice, hard cheddar), it’ll take the smoke on faster that harder cheeses. This cheese only needs approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour smoke time to get the cheese nice and smoky for an enjoyable experience.
The nice thing about smoking your own cheese at home is you can control the amount of smokiness that gets infused in your Gouda. You can buy smoked Gouda at the store, but it’s often extremely smoky, and you don’t have any control over what wood is used and how smoky it is. When you smoke the cheese yourself, you have full control over the final product.
Smoke your cheese for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you just want a subtle smoky flavor, only keep your cheese in the smoke for around 30 minutes. One whole hour will give you a good punch of smoke, and it’ll be an awesome experience.
This Gouda can be enjoyed any way you like. Eat it with crackers, or use it in your favorite recipe (like my Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese!). It’ll be great with just about anything that calls for cheese.
Cold Smoking Gouda Cheese
In order to smoke Gouda cheese, you need to cold smoke it. Cold smoking involves smoking your meat in cool temperatures to infuse the food with smoke flavor without actually cooking the cheese. For cold smoking Gouda to be successful, you need outside temperatures to be under 40 degrees F.
For those of you who live in colder locations, winter is a great time to do all your cold smoking. Living in Utah, it’s plenty cold in December through February for me to cold smoke cheese without worrying about it melting.
If you don’t live where it gets cold, or if you’re worried temperatures might spike above 40 degrees F outside, I’ve got a trick to help keep your cheese cold while it smokes. You can keep your cheese chilled by putting ice in a rimmed baking sheet then putting the cheese on a cooling sheet above the ice (so it’s not touching, but it’s close). See the pic above for this. Once the cheese is in the smoke, rotate it every 15 minutes or so to keep the cheese evenly cold. Add more ice as needed when it starts to melt.
How to Smoke Gouda
When you’re ready to smoke Gouda, it’s best to decide what wood to use. My recommended wood is hickory (and this is likely to be the type of wood used to smoke your store-bought brands as well), but maple and fruit woods would taste amazing with Gouda as well.
Prior to smoking, you can choose to remove the wax seal or leave it on. Taking it off prior to smoking will allow for more smoke penetration all around the cheese. In contrast, if you choose to leave the wax on, it will keep the cheese a bit fresher, but you won’t have as much smoke flavor near the seal.
- Prep for cold smoking. When cold smoking, I prefer to use a smoke tube. Fill the tube with your preferred flavor of pellets. Light the end of the tube and allow the flame to burn for 4-5 minutes. Blow out the flame, and the pellets should be producing a nice, steady stream of blue smoke. Place the smoke tube in your grill or smoker and close the lid.
- Smoke the cheese. Remove the Gouda from the wrapping and place the Gouda directly on the grill grates (if temperatures outside are under 40 degrees F) or use the ice modification specified above (if outside temperatures are over 40 degrees F).
- Refrigerate. Remove the cheese from the smoke, and wrap it in parchment paper. Place the cheese in the refrigerator for 2 days, or 48 hours. After those initial two days in parchment paper, vacuum seal the cheese, place it back in the refrigerator, and allow the cheese to refrigerate for another 2 weeks before eating.
- Eat and enjoy. After your cheese has been vacuum sealed and allowed to rest in the fridge for 2 weeks, you can open the cheese, slice, and enjoy.
More BBQ Cheese Recipes
Cheese and wood smoke make a great pair, and these recipes make for some awesome snacks. Whether you enjoy your cheese as-is, or you’re a BBQ mac and cheese fan, these recipes are all winners:
Smoked Gouda Recipe
This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube or our Facebook Page.
- 8 ounces gouda
- Prepare your grill for cold smoking. I like to use a pellet tube filled with pellets. Light the end of the tube. Let it burn for 4-5 minutes, blow out the flame, and it should produce a nice steady stream of smoke.
- Remove the Gouda from the wrapper, place the Gouda on the grill grates. If your outside temperature is over 40 degrees F, see the recipe note below for modifications.
- Smoke the Gouda for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the Gouda from the smoker, wrap in parchment paper, place in the refrigerator for 2 days. Then vacuum seal the Gouda and continue to refrigerate for 2 weeks.
- Serve Gouda with crackers, mix it in with mac and cheese, or eat as-is for a great smoky flavor.
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