Why Does Smoked Gouda Taste Like Bacon? (Explained!)

Have you noticed it yourself, why does smoked Gouda taste like bacon?

To be honest, I was actually extremely surprised by just how often this question comes up.

In fact, I scoured various forums and online Q&A sites, and I came across the smoked gouda-bacon conundrum time and time again.

So, there must be something to it, right?

In this article, I’d like to discuss whether smoked gouda does actually taste like bacon or whether you’re experiencing something else.

The reason that smoked gouda tastes like bacon is simply due to the similarities in the smoking process. There is no actual bacon used, although depending on where the gouda was smoked, it may use the same equipment as meat smoking. This can obviously add a further element to the taste. Additionally, maple-smoked gouda cheese is very popular, and bacon and ham are often maple-smoked too. So, once more, the flavor is nothing more than a resemblance.

1. Does Smoked Gouda Have Bacon in it?

The traditional form of smoke gouda does not have bacon in it, although there are varieties that may specifically include bacon as an ingredient.

So, this doesn’t really explain why smoked gouda tastes like bacon.

To be honest, it’s not actually bacon that you’re tasting, but rather the smoking process.

Smoked gouda will obviously get its flavor from the smoke.

Plus, smoked gouda is known to taste slightly different from aged gouda.

Gouda is typically a nutty, sweet, creamy, and mild cheese.

However, depending on which part of the world gouda is produced, the taste can vary somewhat.

As an example, Amsterdam gouda generally has a taste of caramel, butter, and rich milk.

That being said, aged gouda will be nuttier in flavor, and some of the sweetness may have turned to sharpness.

Smoked gouda is usually the younger variety, so will still be sweet and nutty but now with a smoked flavor.

Furthermore, smoked cheeses can often be made using the same equipment as smoked meats, which could potentially explain the bacon-like flavor.

However, liquid smoke is used far more frequently nowadays.

Something else to consider is that one variety is maple-smoked gouda.

Maple wood will enhance the sweet and mild flavor of gouda.

Plus, maple is often used to smoke bacon and ham.

So, what you could be tasting is simply similar to that of a smoked pork-based product.

Therefore, even though you’re not actually tasting bacon itself, the smoking process and the wood used is exactly the same.

This, in effect, could trigger you into thinking that smoked gouda tastes like bacon.

Smoked gouda can also be smoked with hickory chips, and this might well explain the similarities to bacon.

In fact, hickory chips are often said to exude a bacon-like flavor.

That being said, I still believe that the actual resemblance is nothing more than the smoky flavor you’re used to with smoked meats.

Hickory-Smoked Gouda

2. How Do You Eat Smoked Gouda?

Smoked Gouda can be eaten in a variety of ways.

It’s perfect for sandwiches, and as it melts quite well, you can also enjoy a beautifully sweet and smoky grilled cheese sandwich.

Additionally, smoked gouda goes extremely well in salads and a variety of cooked recipes that typically call for some form of cheese.

Smoked gouda, much like most cheeses, goes very well with a variety of fruits.

Plus, I urge you to try a few smoked gouda wedges with a mixture of nuts or chocolate, or both.

And, of course, no cheese would be a proper cheese unless it tasted awesome alongside a nice glass of red or white wine.

If wine’s not to your taste, then try smoked gouda with beer; trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Finally, if you’re anything like me, then simply cut up some smoked gouda and enjoy it on its own – beautiful.

3. Can You Eat the Rind of Smoked Gouda?

You will no doubt notice that smoked gouda has a brown rind.

This is obviously very different from the red rind that you’re probably used to seeing on traditional gouda.

However, it just so happens that you can eat the rind of smoked gouda.

And just so you’re aware, the red rind on traditional gouda is actually made from wax and is, therefore, not edible.

Now, some people will state that the brown rind on smoked gouda actually compliments the cheese itself.

In fact, the rind will enhance the flavor of smoked gouda.

That being said, I know that rind is not for everyone.

So, it is likely that some people will find the rind too strong, bitter, and even texturally unpleasant.

Just to reiterate, the rind of smoked gouda is edible, although it may not be to everyone’s taste.

Final Thoughts

So, I hope you understand that unless smoked gouda actually contains bacon itself, it doesn’t actually taste like bacon.

The main confusion is caused by the smoking process.

In fact, one variety is maple-smoked gouda.

And maple wood is often used to smoke bacon and ham.

So, it could be the maple-smoked flavor that reminds you of bacon.

Leading on from this article, it would only be natural for you to ask about removing the rind from the Gouda.

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