How to Smoke Gruyere Cheese (3 Simple Steps)

Imagine delicious thick slices of smoked Gruyere on a crusty piece of bread fresh from the oven.

Pure bliss!

Buying smoked cheese comes with a price tag. 

So why not try smoking your own for a fraction of the price?

Read on, and see how easy it is!

What Is Smoked Gruyere Cheese?

Gruyere is a hard swiss cheese that originated in Switzerland. 

The name is from the beautiful medieval town of Gruyères in Fribourg, western Switzerland.

Smoked Gruyere is cheese infused with the amazing smoky flavors from a smoker grill.

Why Smoke Hard Cheeses Like Gruyere Cheese?

Cold smoking cheese is a fantastic way to add flavor to an already tasty product.  

The smoking process adds a uniquely rich nutty flavor, with earthy undertones.

All types of cheese can be smoked, but hard cheeses are definitely the easiest to work with.

Soft cheeses can become overwhelmed with smoky flavors quicker than hard cheeses.

So need more care and attention.

The melting point is also much lower, so keeping the cheese in one piece can become a challenge!

If you are starting out, stick with hard or semi-hard cheeses.

At least until you gain some confidence in the process. Some other great cheeses to smoke are cheddar, Colby, and mozzarella.

What’s the Best Way to Smoke Gruyere Cheese?

There are a couple of ways and fuel sources for smoking cheese. 

And it can be either hot smoked or cold smoked.

For this article, we are working with the cold smoking method.

This involves smoking your cheese at a low temperature, before the melting point.

The aim is not to cook the cheese, but to produce enough smoke to infuse it with the natural smoky flavors.

What Is Cold Smoking?

Cold smoking smokes the blocks of cheese on a pellet grill or smoker for a couple of hours at low temperatures.

As smoke builds up in the grill chamber, it permeates the cheese without heating it up.

Cheese has a melting point of 80-90°F, so keep the grill temp below this. 

You can use an ice-filled tray to help keep the temps under control inside the grill chamber. 

Just place a wire rack over the ice, so the cheese doesn’t come in contact with the water. It’ll also safeguard against any heat flare-ups.

You want to place the cheese in indirect heat, well away from the direct heat source.

What Temperature Do I Smoke Gruyere Cheese?

As mentioned above, you don’t want the grill temperature to go over 90°F. 

The fatty milk solids in the cheese block start to melt once over this temperature. 

Melting cheese means a big mess on your grill!

If possible, pick a nice cool day to smoke your cheese. 

That way you won’t have outside temps impacting your grill temperature.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke Gruyere Cheese?

Gruyere cheese takes anywhere between 2-4 hours to smoke. 

The softer the cheese, the less time it takes to absorb smoke flavors.  So closer to the 2-hour mark.

Hard cheese will take about 4 hours.

It all comes down to the taste level you want to achieve and the firmness of the cheese.

Now for the Bad News…

Here it is. The cheese only takes a couple of hours to smoke. But you’ll have to exercise patience before planning a cheese feast.

You’ll need to wrap it tightly and allow it to rest in the fridge for 1-2 weeks at least.

If you try to eat it immediately, you’ll find the taste quite acrid and overpowering.

Give it time to mellow and develop. It will be well worth the wait, trust us.

What Pellets or Wood Chips Are Best for Smoking Gruyere Cheese?

The type of wood pellets you use depends on the flavor you want to achieve.

For something fruity try apple, cherry, or peach.

For a nutty boost use a pecan, walnut, or pecan wood chip.

Soft, subtle, and mild are the best for cheese. 

Have a play-around and experiment with different cheeses and wood chips. You’ll soon find a combination you enjoy.

How to Smoke Gruyere Cheese

Step 1: Prep Your Smoker

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 in the bottom of your smoker and let it smolder.

You want a light barely visible smoke.

Make sure you have plenty of air flow and leave the smoker off. 

Step 2: Place Cheese in The Smoker

Place your cheese on clean smoker racks.

Keeping the cheese sanitary is a major component of its shelf life after smoking. 

Place soft cheeses on separate racks from hard cheeses as they take smoke at different rates. 

I.e Gouda, mozzarella and Monterey vs. Sharp cheddar, dubliner, and Asiago. 

Step 3: Smoke The Cheese

Smoke the gruyere cheeses for 1-2 hours.

When the cheese comes out of the smoker it will taste very bitter and ashy.

How to Store Smoked Gruyere

I recommend sealing and letting it rest in the fridge 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 one month.

Smoked and sealed cheese will last in the fridge for well over a year if you keep a clean workstation. 

So now you know how to smoke Gruyere cheese, why not try this super tasty ultimate comfort food recipe?

Smoked Gruyere Mac and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups medium shell noodles, cooked
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 4 oz smoked Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 3 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and diced

Method:

Step 1 – Cook the Pasta

Cook the shell pasta in salty water, as per the packet directions. 

Once cooked, drain and return to the saucepan.

Step 2 – Make the Breadcrumbs

Place the bread in a food processor and chop it into breadcrumbs.  

Set to one side.

Step 3 – Make the Sauce

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.

Once melted, add in the flour. Whisk until it blends into a smooth paste.

Add salt and pepper. 

Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk well to avoid lumps forming. 

Cook on low for 3-4 minutes, or until thickened.

Step 4 – Bring It All Together

Add the white sauce mixture and shredded cheeses to the saucepan of cooked pasta.

Stir until the cheese melts and the pasta is covered.

Add bacon.

Step 5 – Bake the Mac and Cheese

Transfer the Mac and Cheese mixture to an ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Place in the oven at 350°F and heat until the breadcrumbs are toasted.

Smoked Gruyere Mac and Cheese Recipe

Read on and learn how easy and delicious it is to smoke Gruyere Mac and Cheese.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 500kcal
Cost: 46

Equipment

  • 1 pellet grill

Ingredients

  • 2 cups medium shell noodles cooked
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • cup milk
  • 4 oz smoked Gruyère cheese shredded
  • 3 oz white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 slices bacon cooked and diced

Instructions

Step 1 – Cook the Pasta

  • Cook the shell pasta in salty water, as per the packet directions.
  • Once cooked, drain and return to the saucepan.

Step 2 – Make the Breadcrumbs

  • Place the bread in a food processor and chop it into breadcrumbs.
  • Set to one side.

Step 3 – Make the Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Once melted, add in the flour. Whisk until it blends into a smooth paste.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk well to avoid lumps forming.
  • Cook on low for 3-4 minutes, or until thickened.

Step 4 – Bring It All Together

  • Add the white sauce mixture and shredded cheeses to the saucepan of cooked pasta.
  • Stir until the cheese melts and the pasta is covered.
  • Add bacon.

Step 5 – Bake the Mac and Cheese

  • Transfer the Mac and Cheese mixture to an ovenproof dish.
  • Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Place in the oven at 350°F and heat until the breadcrumbs are toasted.

Smoked cheese is divine, but can take a toll on your wallet, so try smoking your own!

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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