Some cheeses such as gouda are great to smoke in a pellet grill. It’s a semi-hard cheese, when combined with smoke it takes on a whole new level of deliciousness. That said, can you smoke cheese with the wax on?
Can You Smoke Cheese With Wax On?
Yes, you can smoke cheese with the wax on, but the wax will prevent the smoke from penetrating the cheese near the seal. Removing it before smoking will allow the smoke to penetrate the entire cheese.
Smoking cheese with wax, is no different than smoking cheese without wax. The smoking process is the same, the only difference is that you’ll need to remove the wax before or after the smoking process.
That said, it can be confusing as to why cheeses have wax on the, which ones have it and if it’s edible.
We’ll answer all of these questions and more in this article.
Why Do Cheeses Have Wax?
Most cheeses with food safe wax are hard or semi-hard cheeses. The wax helps retain moisture and acts as a contamination barrier against mold, excessive drying, and airborne bacteria.
It also helps the cheese keep its shape and gives it a nice appearance. The majority of the time, the wax used on cheeses is not edible.
So, Which Cheeses Have Wax?
Some well-known cheeses that have an edible wax coating are:
* Red Leicester
That said, the most popular waxed cheese to smoke is gouda. This is because it’s easy to smoke and it’s an incredible way to add flavor to it. Gouda and smoke make a great combination.
Will The Wax Melt?
At 90°F, cheese begins to liquify. That said, the wax will not melt during the smoking process. When wax is applied to the cheese, it is applied using low or high heat up to temperatures of 224-236°F.
While cold smoking cheese, the temperature in the grill will reach 45 – 60°F, depending on the outside temperature. Smoking cheese should be done on a cold day, as the outside temperature will act as a buffer, keeping the grill temperature from getting too high.
If smoking cheese on a hot day, you’ll need to take precautions to ensure the chamber doesn’t get too hot.
At the low cold smoking temperature, you don’t have to worry about the wax melting. Even if the temperature in the grill rises to 80°F or higher, the cheese will start melting before the wax coating does.
Can You Eat The Wax On Cheese?
The food safe wax, is not edible, and contains no nutritional value. Some store bought cheeses have an edible rind that can be consumed safely. However, there’s a huge difference in wax and edible cheese rind.
As in most cases if you’re not sure you should be eating it, then you shouldn’t.
How to Smoke Cheese With Wax?
As mentioned above, the process for smoking cheese with wax is the same as smoking it without wax. Here’s the process on how to do it:
- Prep the smoker for cold smoking
- Fill the smoke tube with your favorite pellets (I like using applewood)
- Place the gouda on directly on the grill grates.
- Allow the cheese to cold smoke for 1-2 hours depending on how you like it.
- Remove the cheese from the grill and wrap in Saran Wrap or parchment paper.
- You can either remove the wax before storing it in the refrigerator or remove it after it has mellowed out for a few weeks.
- Leave it in the refrigerator for 2 days or 48 hours.
- After two days, vacuum seal the cheese and refrigerate for another 3-6 weeks.
- The cheese should be ready to eat, so slice, serve, and enjoy.
How to Remove the Wax From Smoked Cheese?
The process is the same, whether you’re removing the wax before or after smoking.
Most store bought cheeses with wax will be cut in half, making it easy to remove it. You can use a pairing knife or spoon to get under the cheese, without breaking it.
Once you’ve cut through the wax, you can peel it off like an orange. If the wax is being stubborn, place the cheese in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This will make it easier to remove the wax without damaging the cheese.
That said, you’ll want to make sure the cheese reaches room temperature before smoking it.
If you purchase a whole gouda wheel, you’ll need to get a little creative, to make sure you don’t cut off the edible cheese part with a knife.
This video shows you how to remove the wax from gouda, which is one of the most popular waxed cheeses to smoke.
The next time you’re thinking about smoking a semi-hard cheese with wax, such as Gouda, it’s fine to leave the wax on. Just know that you’ll need to remove it before or after the smoking process.
If left on, you won’t have to worry about removing the brown dark edges before eating it. This is because the smoke won’t be able to penetrate the edges near the seal.