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If you own a smoker, you know all the amazing cooking options you have available to you from brisket, to other kinds of meat, to peppers, and even to cheese. Smoking cheese has become extremely popular for the backyard pit master in recent years.
Having good wood is crucial to really put flavor into your cheese while you’re smoking it. The type of cheese you choose will affect the kind of wood you buy. Oak wood for example does a great job of complementing the flavors that are in Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack.
Other common wood types popular for smoking cheese are apple, cherry, pecan, and hickory. We will go over all the flavor options below, as well as some great brands to choose from when you are ready to start smoking cheese.
If you’re unsure about how to actually flavor your cheese, be sure to check out our guide on how to cold smoke cheese after you read this!
Oak is one of the most common wood choices for smoking cheese because it flatters so many different kinds and types of cheese. When in doubt, oak is a good place to start if you are new to using wood to smoke cheese.
Keep in mind that oak burns for a long time and can reach higher temperatures than other kinds of wood. If you smoke the cheese for too long, it will begin to melt and not stay intact.
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Apple is one of the mildest flavors of wood you can purchase. It keeps more of the natural flavor of the cheese and also sweetens it. It will also add a smoky flavor that is more delicate than what oak adds. The apple flavor will never overwhelm the natural cheese flavor.
Cooking with Apple wood is easier than smoking with other wood flavors, so it is great for beginners. Apple wood does not get to extremely high temperatures.
The cheese will absorb many flavors from cherry wood which makes it a unique choice for adding in a sweet, heavy, and heady aroma. It will provide a variety of flavor profiles to your cheese. The flavor is still pretty mild, so it won’t take away from the natural flavor of the cheese.
Pecan adds a stronger and more robust flavor to cheese than many other wood options. Pecan wood is also great for mixing different varieties of wood if you want to experiment and try to create your own custom flavor.
For hard cheeses, pecan wood will give it a mild to medium intensity of flavor. It will also be nutty and savory. While assertive, the flavor from pecan wood will also be delicate enough to balance with the natural flavor of the cheese that you are smoking.
If you are using a block of cheese with a very strong natural flavor or using hard cheeses, hickory is a perfect choice. The flavor will end up tasting like bacon and it is intense and robust. Some people even make grilled cheese sandwiches with hickory wood.
Hickory wood is paired with cheeses like cheddar and stilton. It will help mellow the cheese’s natural flavors and mask some of the more pungent aromas. Start cooking with low amounts of heat and gradually increase until you have higher heat.
Hickory wood can be tough to get right the first few times, so be patient. Also, try cooking with other woods before using hickory.
Peach wood gives a very unique flavor that other kinds of woods simply do not provide. Peach flavor wood can bring a flavor that is very sweet, mild, and floral.
This makes an ideal choice for cheese that is already mild and needs a special flavor added to it. The peach wood will naturally add a light red coating to any cheese that you smoke which makes it look fancier for entertaining and feeding guests.
There are several different flavors of wood, and each provides something unique to cheese while you are smoking it. Oak and Apple are the most popular kinds and are the easiest to pair cheese with.
It’s also worth noting here that we are suggesting wood chunks, which are fit for use for most types of smokers. However, if you have a pellet grill, for example, you’ll need to get the above flavors in wood pellet form instead of chunks. Learn the difference between “regular” wood and wood pellets right here.