Smoked Ricotta Cheese — I know not everyone has a dedicated stove top smoker but I do know that we all have a large stock pot handy. I’m going to show you an easy way to convert that pot to a stove top smoker by using micro wood chips, aluminum foil, and a roasting rack. I’ll explain to you a combination hot/cold smoking method to bring a smoke flavor to whole milk ricotta, that will allow you to use this product in any recipe calling for traditional ricotta. Find your stock pot and roasting rack, and let’s get smoking!
Once you’ve selected a stock pot to use for the smoking, the preparation of the pot is quite simple. Start by placing 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil in the bottom of the pot, allowing it to go up the sides slightly. Then select the micro wood chips of your choice — I’m using a Sugar Maple Minuto® wood chip in size #6 — and spread into a thin layer on the foiled bottom. Add a roasting rack. Mine is round to fit easily in my pot. I also like to line the lid of the pot in foil as all hardwood contains creosote which can cause some discoloration to the pot. The foil will protect this from happening and makes clean up a breeze.
Then place the prepared pot with the lid in place over a medium-high heat and allow the chips to heat until they are consistently producing smoke. This will take less than 15 minutes.
Once the chips have started to combust and produce smoke vapor, it will be time to add the ricotta. I am doing 3 pounds of whole milk ricotta as I plan to make a dessert pastry horn and then keep some spare smoked ricotta cheese for pasta recipes.
After 12–15 minutes of heating, lift the lid and place a heat safe container of the ricotta on the rack inside your smoking pot. Secure the lid in place and allow this to stay on the heat for about 5 minutes. Then shut the heat off and leave the pot with the ricotta inside untouched for about an hour. Let the smoke infusion occur with this cold smoke technique.
Tasting Notes: Any hardwood can be used for the smoke infusion but note that by retaining the pot lid in place, you are limiting the oxygen that can enter the pot. This produces a much bolder smoke infusion than is common with the same wood used on a traditional smoker or grill.
Smoky, Creamy Goodness
Here’s something to keep in mind with this stove top DIY smoking technique. I have a very tight seal on my pot which means it doesn’t take a lot of wood chip product to infuse a smoky flavor in the ricotta. Plus, the fat level of this dairy product attracts smoke vapor well as this is high in water content which smoke vapor is naturally attracted to.
If after about an hour, and after you’ve sampled the smoked ricotta, you still desire more smoke, simply turn the heat back on for about 10 minutes to stimulate the chips for additional combustion. Then repeat turning off the heat and allowing the ricotta to sit absorbing the smoke for the set amount of additional time you want. Once done, refrigerate the smoked ricotta until you are ready to use it, keeping this covered well. If any liquid accumulates while refrigerated, simply pour off before using the smoked ricotta in a recipe.
To get your recipe ideas stimulated, I’ll offer up my Smoked Ricotta Pastry Horn recipe which is super easy, fabulous looking, and can be made with an assortment of filling options. Keep watching our website for the announcement on this recipe release.
What’s your favorite food to stove top smoke? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.
The Culinary Crew wants you to know…
… that experimenting with “Do It Yourself” techniques can certainly apply to using your outside charcoal or LP gas grill as a quasi-smoker too! We’ve heard from many of our followers about deep dished aluminum food serving trays and even pie tins being used to offer a quick and easy try to food smoking.