How To Smoke Mozzarella (In 8 Simple Steps)

Cheese? Yes, please!

Smoked mozzarella? You bet fella!

Have you picked up a cheese board and straight away devoured the smoked golden brown block of cheese?

Are you wondering about the process behind smoking cheese or more specifically, mozzarella cheese?

Don’t you worry because today is recipe day for cheese lovers!

 

What Is Mozzarella Cheese?

You must have heard of mozzarella! It’s on your pizza, in oven bakes, and melting in pop culture as one of the most famous cheeses.

This type of cheese comes from Italy and traditionally is made with buffalo curds that are put into hot and salty water. 

This water stage helps the cellular proteins uncoil which gives it its string and soft consistency which is exacerbated when heated.

Fun Fact: The average person in the USA consumed 11 pounds of Mozzarella in 2020!

Fresh Vs Processed?

Fresh mozzarella is usually a lot softer and retained in the brine in the form of a ball when you buy it. 

It effectively isn’t as processed as its shredded counterpart you typically see in supermarkets.  

Shredded mozzarella is still tasty but with less moisture, not as creamy, and with less salt. I typically use the shredded version to melt over my favorite food whereas I eat fresh straight from the packet! 

Today we will be smoking the fresh mozzarella cheese blocks.

Why Does Smoked Cheese Taste So Good?

The smoking process creates a multitude of reactions within the milk fat and protein of popular cheeses.

Not only does it create stronger flavors and a new depth of flavor, but it also can cure fresh cheeses to make them last longer.

I want to add that smoking also creates a new aesthetic, usually a deep brown color, and forms a different texture which adds to maximizes the flavor compounds for a whole new experience. 

Smoking blocks of cheese is awesome.

Just do it!

Why I have Chosen To Smoke Mozzarella 

So why mozzarella?

We briefly touched on how the mozzarella proteins are affected when the cheese is prepared. These proteins are stretched and create the perfect vessel when heated to absorb the smoke flavor.

Mozzarella is also typically a mild cheese that will take on and maintain a smoky flavor than its other stronger flavored cheeses.

Oh, and mozzarella is also widely accessible and cheaper than other cheeses.

Note: Monterey jack cheese is a great substitute if you don’t fancy mozzarella!

The Best Way To Smoke Mozzarella

Are you now asking yourself what’s the best way to smoke up some mozzarella? 

100% naturally of course.

I advise cold-smoking mozzarella cheese on a pellet grill with wood chips for real smoke and maximum flavor.

Don’t even think about using artificial smoke flavor as it will likely damage, especially the softer cheeses.

TIP: You can also use a kettle grill or a charcoal grill with a tube smoker.

What Do I Use For Smoke Fuel?

What kind of smoke are we using?

The best hardwood pellets to use in my opinion are hickory. 

hickory vs mesquite flavor - stack of hickory wood

The smoke produced from the hickory wood is lighter than some of the others and the particles give a sweet musky outside to your mozzarella with an internal warm and salty milky flavor.

Another option would be applewood or maple but it’s entirely your freedom to experiment!

What Do I Smoke Mozzarella In?

Can I put the mozzarella straight on the grill grates?

Yes, we are going to put the cheese directly on the pellet smoker as we are cold smoking but if we were hot smoking above the required temperature then an aluminum pie foil tray would be better suited.

What Temperature Do I Smoke Mozzarella?

What is the ideal temperature for a cold-smoked Mozzarella on a pellet grill?

No more than 90F is the adequate grill temperature for cold smoking. We will be putting them on the grill grates away from direct heat and watching them carefully.

The fat in the cheese melts at around 100F so make sure you monitor carefully otherwise they will melt into the drip tray and be inedible.

I can’t this second think of anything sadder than scraping cheese out of your dirty grease tray into a waste bin. 

 

How Long Do I Smoke Mozzarella For?

For how long do I leave the Mozzarella smoking?

It does depend on a few factors but from my experience, it takes roughly 2-3 hours of cold smoking for the flavors to develop and a colored outer-crust formation. 

Just please make sure you are smoking on indirect heat. 

How Do I Know My Smoked Mozzarella is Ready? 

When can I tell my Mozzarella is ready to enjoy?

If you are using a temperature probe, it should read 90F internally.

The texture should still be firm enough to handle with a crust and creamy center if cut into. The color should be brownish and you should be able to smell the smoke on your fingers after handling the cheese. 

This means the smoke particles have absorbed into the fat molecules which is a fancy way of saying it’s damn smoky!

Our Method For Smoked Mozzarella

I hope I have satisfied your cravings and let this recipe combat any future cheesy obsessions.

What You Need 

  • 1 kg fresh mozzarella cheese balls

Equipment

  • Pellet grill
  • Hickory wood pellets
  • Pellet tube 
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil

Smoked Mozzarella 

 

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 airflows and leave the smoker off. 
  • Unpackage the fresh mozzarella and drain out excess brine.

Step 2: Smoking The Cheese

  • Put the mozzarella in the back of the grill on the grates but away from direct heat. Make sure you place your cheese on clean smoker racks.
  • Add a temperature probe to the cheese.
  • Smoke until the internal temperature is 90F.
  • Check the cheese following the above information to know when it is done.

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

If you are smoking hard cheese at the same time place soft cheeses on separate racks from hard cheeses as they take smoke at different rates. 

Smoke soft cheeses for 1-2 hours a?

Step 3: Packing the Cold Smoked 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 one month.

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

Smoked Mozarella Cheese

This smoked mozarella cheese will satisfied your cravings and let this recipe combat any future cheesy obsessions.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 112kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 5

Equipment

  • pellet grill
  • Hickory wood pellets
  • Pellet tube
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Fresh mozarella cheese balls

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 airflows and leave the smoker off. 
  • Unpackage the fresh mozzarella and drain out excess brine.

Step 2: Smoking The Cheese

  • Put the mozzarella in the back of the grill on the grates but away from direct heat. Make sure you place your cheese on clean smoker racks.
  • Add a temperature probe to the cheese.
  • Smoke until the internal temperature is 90F.
  • Check the cheese following the above information to know when it is done.
  • Keeping the cheese sanitary is a major component of its shelf life after smoking. If you are smoking hard cheese at the same time place soft cheeses on separate racks from hard cheeses as they take smoke at different rates.

Step 3: Packing the Cold Smoked 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 bagsvacuum seal, and label
  • Put it in the fridge and forget about it for one month.

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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