Smoked String Cheese (In 8 Simple Steps)

If chocolate is a girl’s best friend, what about cheese?

Cheese culture has been around longer than you or I and the BBQ scene is no exception.

Say ‘cheese’ to our picture-perfect recipe and a little insight into the world of cheese products guaranteed to keep your taste buds dancing.

The Types Of Cheese

I think it’s fair to say that we can look at cheese as we can wine. 

You take a natural product (milk) and subject it through old age processes or innovations to achieve a variety of products and greatness!

Let’s just quickly remind ourselves of the different types of cheeses made before we get into it!

Soft Cheese

Soft cheese is well, soft, and usually creamy. 

They aren’t usually as ripe because they mix the acid and milk proteins which is why you get the texture.

Notable cheeses include brie and ricotta. They are versatile to add in pasta or wrapped in tinfoil with a dipped breadstick or 10!

Hard Cheese

Harder cheeses on the other hard and firmer and are usually aged for longer.

With harder cheese, artisan cheese makers may mix cultures of microbes or cave-aged for a stronger flavor.

Notable cheeses are stilton and parmesan. I enjoy a hard cheese like cheddar with pickled onion and ale on a Sunday evening!

Processed Cheese

All cheese is processed but in this case, we are defining cheese that has been cut with additives and preservatives and typically contains just 40% of actual ‘cheese’.

Do plastic wrapping and McDonald’s come to mind?

Why Do We Smoke Cheese?

Why do we smoke anything? 

Erm, let’s see…

  • It adds a depth of smoky flavor and undertones from nutty to meaty.
  • Creates an entirely new product that complements other food and flavors.
  • Can be a way of cooking or preserving.

What Is ‘String’ Cheese?

So what does it mean to string cheese? 

Oh and no, I’m not talking about cheese strings in your lunchbox. (Although they are a great cheese snack let’s be real)

Stringing cheese is a way of presenting and preparing cheese. The same way you would cut the muscle of the rib on a tomahawk steak or butterfly a whole chicken.

Experimentation and texture are also factors and I think it’s safe to say that each hot fresh string cheese strand you try and get into your mouth is a fun feat to deal with.

The Best Cheese To String 

So what cheese are we going to string?

Obviously, with the literal thousands of different types, there have to be some standout winners.

Mozzarella String Cheese

An Italian cheese we know and love. (Especially on our pizza) 

This cheese is perfect to string because, during its process, the curds are put into hot and salty water. 

By doing this, the proteins uncoil on a cellular level and turn into strands! These proteins are then continuously stretched which gives us consistency!  

A type of Mozzarella used is Formozzarella string cheese which is typically deep friend into sticks.

Cheddar String Cheese

Cheddar is our second contestant as delicious string cheese. 

This particular type hailed from England first and has been in production since the 12th century! Who knows if Henry 2nd was served up smoked string cheese but I like to think so.

Heated cheddar still retains its structure when heated which makes it more durable to string. 

The Best Way To Smoke Cheese

What is the best way to smoke cheese?

Naturally of course! You can buy cheese already smoked but where is the adventure?

Get yourself some woodchips for your pellet grill and your desired natural cheese. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

What Do I Smoke My String Cheese With?

There are a variety of methods to smoke with but we advise using a flavored hardwood pellet. 

We like to pick applewood or hickory to incorporate a sweeter and musky flavor profile and these also don’t smolder as hard which produces a lighter smoke. 

A lighter smoke is preferred because it can overwhelm the delicate cheese flavor.

What Do I Smoke My Cheese In?

You’re right to ask!

Don’t just put your cheese on the grill grates as it will melt and we won’t be able to string it.

We want to be putting the cheese in a tin foil tray and covered it with foil so we can protect it slightly and get the right consistency.

What Temperature To Smoke Stringed Cheese?

The ideal temperature to smoke cheese is with indirect heat at 90 F and then adjust at the end to get your desired consistency.

How Long Do We Smoke the Cheese For?

So how long do we smoke?

This does depend on the cheese but the average is around 2-3 hours.

How Do I Know When The Cheese Is Fully Smoked?

So how do we know when to start stringing?

The cheese should be soft but still malleable and structurally sound.

Our Method For Smoked String Cheese

What You Need 

  • String cheese

Equipment

  • Pellet smoker
  • Aluminum foil tray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salad prongs or a large fork
  • Knife

Hickory Smoked String Cheese 

The below recipe is not complex but I find the earthy mushroom goes well with the natural smoke flavor and string cheese texture of the salty cheddar!

I hope you enjoy it!

Step 1: Preparation Of The Pellet Grill & Cheese

  • Fill a pellet tube or maze with your choice of pellets and light it with a torch. Let the flame burn for 1-2 minutes before blowing out. 
  • Place it in the bottom of your smoker and let it smolder. You want a light barely visible smoke. Make sure you have plenty of airflow and leave the smoker o

Step 2: Smoking The Cheese

  • Put the cheese into the pellet grill avoiding any direct heat.
  • Keeping the cheese sanitary is a major component of its shelf life after smoking
  • Smoke the string cheese for 1-2 hours.

Step 3: Packaging the cheese

  • When the cheese comes out of the smoker it will taste very bitter and ashy. I recommend sealing and letting it rest in the fridge for at least 1 month before trying. 
  • Once all of the cheese is out of the smoker begin packaging. Place the cheese in vacuum bags, vacuum seal, and label. Put it in the fridge and forget about it for a month.
  • Smoked and sealed cheese will last in the fridge for well over a year if you keep a clean workstation.

Hickory Smoked String Cheese

The unique flavor of smoked cheese sets it apart from all other cheeses.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 82kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 6

Equipment

  • Aluminum foil tray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salad prongs or a large fork
  • Knife

Ingredients

  • 2 whole String Cheese

Instructions

Step 1: Preparation Of The Pellet Grill & Cheese

  • Fill a pellet tube or maze with your choice of pellets and light it with a torch. Let the flame burn for 1-2 minutes before blowing out.
  • Place it in the bottom of your smoker and let it smolder. You want a light barely visible smoke. Make sure you have plenty of airflow and leave the smoker on

Step 2: Smoking The Cheese

  • Put the cheese into the pellet grill avoiding any direct heat.
  • Keeping the cheese sanitary is a major component of its shelf life after smoking
  • Smoke the string cheese for 1-2 hours.

Step 3: Packaging the cheese

  • When the cheese comes out of the smoker it will taste very bitter and ashy. I recommend sealing and letting it rest in the fridge for at least 1 month before trying. 
  • Once all of the cheese is out of the smoker begin packaging. Place the cheese in vacuum bags, vacuum seal, and label. Put it in the fridge and forget about it for a month.
  • Smoked and sealed cheese will last in the fridge for well over a year if you keep a clean workstation.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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