Sure, feta cheese is delicious when baked in the oven, but have you tried smoking a block of cream cheese?
Backyard smoking enthusiasts have taken to social media recently to share their own versions of smoked cream cheese: a block of cream cheese covered with spices and a drizzle of olive oil smoked for several hours.
James Tudor lives in Ohio and got lots of attention on Facebook a few weeks ago when he shared his own take on smoked cream cheese. Tudor says a friend showed him how to make the creamy dish a few years ago using red pepper flakes and olive oil. After he and his wife began experimenting with different spice rubs on their own blocks cheese, Tudor says tossing some cream cheese on his smoker each time he smoked meat became a no-brainer.
"Almost every time we try a different blend of seasonings or rubs," Tudor told me. "We give it three hours at 250 F on a smoker, which gives the cream cheese a really nice 'meaty' texture."
Amber Evans said, when she saw Tudor's post shared in a Facebook group for smoker enthusiasts, she decided to try her own hand at creating the smoky snack.
"It looked delicious and I love cream cheese," Evans, who lives in Oklahoma, explained. "I served it with crackers and celery and, between my husband and I, we ate almost the entire block."
Evans shared her cream cheese creation in The Aldi Nerd Facebook group, admitting she'd "jumped on the bandwagon."
"Next time, I want to try garlic and dill, ranch or French onion (dry soup mix)," she added. "And, I might press bacon into one or maybe even try cinnamon sugar on another."
I tried smoking my own blocks of cream cheese and, like Evans and her husband, my family devoured not one, but two blocks in one sitting.
To make my at-home version, I covered one block of cream cheese with garlic-Parmesan seasoning and the other with a salt-based grilling spice. After drizzling the blocks with olive oil and placing them in the smoker for three hours at 250 F, we were rewarded with warm, soft, smoky cream cheese that tasted incredible by itself or with crackers and veggies dipped into it.
The smokiness of the creamy cheese combined with the burst of flavor and spice on the outside of each block was incredible, and even as we were chowing down on the two warm blocks of cream cheese, we were discussing trying a version with everything bagel seasoning or lemon pepper, or a version with bacon and jalapeños pressed into the top.
Kevin Boersma is a grilling enthusiast who shared a TikTok about his own take on smoked cream cheese that went viral. Boersma, who lives in Tennessee, admits when his sister first shared Tudor's post with him, he was skeptical and more than a little worried the cream cheese would melt in his smoker.
"When we ate it, we were like, 'Wait, this is amazing,'" said Boersma, who later made a dessert version rubbed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch seasoning. "That smoke does something magical to the cream cheese, and the beauty of this recipe is I think it would be delicious almost any way you seasoned it."