Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Cheese Maker#8 - Steve Nichols

Steve Nichols
Des Moines, IA

Steve Nichols (55) is one of the few folks we know about who made our 30 Minute Mozzarella the first time he tried it and then smoked it!  How cool is that?

He has actually been smoking cheese for at least 6-7 years.  He's hoping to make more of his own cheese, but unfortunately, his mom has been ill, so a lot of his projects are on hold.

One of his projects in process is a drum smoker.  These are typically made from food-grade barrels (as shown at left).  Steve hopes with his new set-up he will be able to cold smoke nuts, berries, salt, cheeses, meats, etc. in the summer months.

Meanwhile, Steve is cold smoking up a storm with his old Brinkman Gourmet smoker.  He says "It is VERY CHEAPLY MADE but I put out some GREAT Q on it."  The digital thermometer makes sure the temperature stays under 100F.  He uses 2-3 briquettes at a time, with a chunk of wood laying on top.

The picture below is the cheese Steve smoked one Sunday afternoon for himself and a buddy.  There is 3 lbs. of Mozzarella, 2 lbs. of Muenster, 1 lb. of Provolone, Monterey Jack, Swiss, Hot Pepper Cheese, Colby, Mild Cheddar and Brie.

The Brie was a challenge.  Steve took a fork and scored the outer coating- both sides and the edge.  He smoked it with maple (his favorite) and the temperature never got above 70F.

This is the Mozzarella he made, sliced up to smoke.

He smoked the Mozzarella with a summer sausage and some string cheese (on the left).

After 2- 2 1/2 hours, the cheese and sausage was smoked to perfection.  (Note:  Steve likes a lot of flavor, which is why he smokes for a comparatively long time.)

Another day, Steve smoked store-bought Mozzarella and a Cheddar/Monterey Jack combination.  He smoked the Mozzarella for 1 1/2 hours and the other cheese for 2 hours.  The temps got away from him and climbed to 114F, hence the grill marks.

Another day's accomplishment.

It just gets better and better!

And for the finale-smoked garlic!

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