Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s cookout season. Those summer grill sessions call for more than just good company and crisp brews: You’ll need plenty of cheese to knock back while you cook. We all know that smoky, charred flavor is great on meats and veg—but don’t stop there: There’s a slew of smoked cheeses that’ll step up your summer spread.
From soft and spreadable to hard and snackable, these are our picks for the smoked cheeses you need this summer:
Go for a dollop of this and it’s instant bonfire vibes. Cold-smoked over applewood, this creamy, light-as-a-cloud cheese is beautifully balanced. It’s savory and smoky but rounded by ricotta’s fresh brightness. Best savored simply with a glug of olive oil and grilled toastettes.
Vermont-based Maplebrook Farm’s signature mozzarella is a stretchy and creamy dream to eat. In this version, the pillowy balls of fresh cheese are smoked over cherry wood chips for a slightly smoky flavor. It’s perfect for giving meatless dishes a hearty, savory punch. Try melting over grilled eggplant or squash.
Turn up the heat with this chili-packed cheese. Grafton shakes up their standard cheddar with a mix of habañero, jalapeño, and pasilla peppers, then smokes it over maple chips. The result: a simultaneously buttery, spicy, and smoky snack that begs to be cooled down by a swig of frosty pilsner.
Following the centuries-old tradition of New England’s native Abenaki tribes, Boston Post Dairy’s Smoking Goud is smoked over dried corn cobs. The resulting cheese is super smoky and almost meat-like with notes of bacon and ham—sure to satisfy carnivores and vegetarians alike. Take it full circle and grate over buttered corn on the cop, straight off the grill.
This classic Dutch-style gouda from Wisconsin is flecked with smoked cumin seeds for a subtle flavor reminiscent of tacos. It’s smooth and creamy, perfect for melting over burger patties. Try shredding and making into pimento cheese dip for an addictive grill-side snack.
The folks at Rogue know how to make a good blue and this is no exception, with a balanced blend of caramel sweetness, salt, spice, and earthy notes from being smoked over hazelnut shells. Use it to add a kiss of campfire to your dip or dressing and watch your friends go wild for that woodsy flavor.
Nothing says warm weather like fresh chèvre. Up in Smoke takes chèvre to the next level. It’s smoked over alder and hickory chips, then wrapped in smoked maple leaves and spritzed with bourbon for a complex smoky and slightly peppery flavor. Pair with your favorite chilled bourbon cocktail and soak in the sweetness of summer nights.