As most of you know I run a Smoking Meat, making sausage and other homemade foodie stuffs forum and there have been a few inquiries about using this new gizmo called the A-Maze-N Smoker. I have read about it for awhile and finaly decided to give it a go .... on cheese.
This thing could easily be used in a grill to smoke cheese or most any other cold smoked foods you can think of so I thought I would share my review in case someone else has thought about getting one..
Got my A-Maze-N Smoker in today. Boy that was fast! Todd has a new A-Maze-N Smoker product that uses wood pellets or saw dust and was kind enough to let me know so I got the new one instead of the old one which just uses just saw dust. Very nice of him to do that, that is great cutomer service! I probably would have kicked myself later of I found out the difference. He was also kind enough to throw in 4 different types of pellets for me to try with it.
I ordered the 6x6Package #1 and enough dust to keep me going for a while. I had no idea how much I needed and the package came with 1 hickory, Cherry and Maple so I bought an extra Hickory, and Cherry and 2 apple and 2 Pecan woods. Then he threw in a pecan, cherry, Maple and Pitmasters blend of pellets.
He sent a UPS shipping tracker so I knew it was coming today. I picked up a few blocks of cheese to smoke and I'll probably throw in a few of my aged cheese wheels for a test run tomorrow after work.
Check out his site here:A-Maze-N Smoker LLC
I will do a full review of the product after I use it but right now I am very impressed with his fast shippng and customer service!
Here's the package:
Came home and dug out a bunch of small half wheels of cheese and the few I picked up the other day. Lit off the A-Maze-N Smoker with one row each of apple, hickory and pecan dust and we'll see what happens.
I have a few half wheels and wedges from 2009 I'll use, Zamorano, Montaso, Manchego, Crosta Rossa Pistacchi, and an unknown along with a soft commercial Colby pepper jack in the smoker for the trial run and a tray of red chili pepper and paprika to test on spices. These are well aged sharp cheeses so it'll be a real test to absorb smoke.
I am really impressed by the construction of this little 6x6 inch smoker. It is very well made. Check this thing out ...
Top the angle makes air flow better and help support the pellets.
You could stand on this thing and not hurt it! Welded all the way around! Here's the bottom
and all full and ready to go.
One thing I figured out was you need to leave a bit of space in the end you lite so push the sawdust back a bit so it will lite easier.
Now we wait .... :-?
I didn't get started until late (after work and dinner around 6:45 pm). This thing burned nice and slow for several housr, not sure how long I went to bed and let it burn itself out. It was in the 40's last night so no big deal for the cheese. Also gave it some time to air out but that's okay.
Finally got around to trying the cheese. Not bad. Light smokey flavor as you want and too easy to get there!
You can actually see the progression from one wood to the other in the cheese as well as taste it. The apple side took very little color and the pecan side was very dark. The Manchego seemed to be a smoke magnet for all woods. Interesting observation.
I might suggest closing off the dampers some. I has mine wide open and as light as the smoke is I think I gave up more than I kept. It was also very windy and raining so I suspect that didn't help. I was a bit apprehensive about closing it down any as Mike said his was to strong - but he also used pellets not dust which Todd said might be to strong for cheese.
I am definitely pleased with this unit and am anxious to try it with other things including the pellets.
It also did extremely well with smoking the spices. Just give them a stir ever few hours for even distribution. You really get a nice smokey smell on the paprika and chili pepper. This is PERFECT for smoking spices because it is cool and dry so you don't get the clumping you get when you add the spices to a hot smoke and a nice long slow cold smoke it right on! I don't think you can really see the difference but when you put it back in the jar you can really smell it. If you compare the two picture one looks a bit less bright.
Well that was my review. For those of you that like smokey cheeses but don't have a smoker this thing is right on! Also saves a fortune on smoked spices too. This would also be great for jerky and that sort of thing.
Haven't tried the pellets yet but Todd from A-Maze-N Smokers said it should be used for bigger things like ham and I am not doing ham for awhile.