A method of flavoring and preserving food that’s been used for thousands of years is cold smoking. It’s an art form that doesn’t cook the meat like hot smoking does, but instead kills off the bacteria and infuses the meat’s fibers with lots of flavors. It’s also a process that can’t be done in most smokers. No, to enjoy this method of meat and cheese preservation, the consumer is going to have to invest in the best cold smoker that they can find. To help with that process, we have reviewed some of the models that we think are the best and that we think our readers are going to enjoy.
- Editor’s Choice
Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Smoke Generator (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended
Smokemiester BBQ All-In-One Stainless Steel Smoker (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider
Smokehouse Products Smoke Chief Smoke Generator (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Smoke Generator
The Big Kahuna is a cold smoke generator that’s designed to provide the consumer with everything they need to smoke their favorite meats or cheeses—except for the smoker, of course. This model comes with a cold smoker body, a top cap, a threaded outlet tube, an adjustable air pump, a 3-foot silicone hose, a spring baffle, and a stainless-steel cleaning brush. Now that we know what’s in this cold smoker set, let’s examine the pieces and see how the parts are made and how they work together.
The smoker body is made from heavy-gauge SCH40 6061 aluminum that’s precisely machined so that it will maintain a proper seal. This product is approximately 16-inches by 4.5-inches after it’s been assembled—which is large enough to hold about 6-cups of fuel. It’s designed for smokers that are 6 cubic-feet or larger and is also designed so that it can be used for overnight or unattended smoking.
The manufacturer of this product recommends that wood chips or chunks be used as the primary fuel for this smoker and that smoker pellets shouldn’t be used. This is a product that will work on any smoker or grill where it can be mounted to a vertical wall. It does require the consumer to drill a 1-1/8-inch hole into their grill or smoker, but once that’s done, the consumer can install this quickly and easily.
All of these features come together to make one of the best cold smokers that we’ve seen. However, the versatility of this product does not only make it good for cold smoking applications but also makes it suitable for hot smoking as well. That means that this product can be easily used by the consumer to smoke briskets, pork chops, steaks, ribs, pork shoulder, or just about anything else the consumer needs to smoke. And because it’s so well made, it should last the consumer for quite some time.
– This can be used for both hot or cold smoking.
– This is made from quality components.
Also Recommended: Smokemiester BBQ All-In-One Stainless Steel Smoker
Another cold smoker that we liked is this one from Smokemiester. This is a model that costs less than other cold smoke generators but otherwise does a good job of smoking. It doesn’t feel quite as durable as some of the other units we’ve reviewed, but that’s reasonable considering that this is a model that has a significantly lower price tag than other models. In this review, we’re going to go over its main features and construction to see where it excels and where it falls short.
As is the case with most smoke generators, this is a model that’s going to require the consumer to do a little bit of prep work before they can install it. They will have to drill a 1-1/8-inch hole into their BBQ grill below the burners so they can install the insert outlet tube and secure everything down with nuts. That’s not a lot to do, but it is more than some people might be willing to do to get it installed.
This product holds approximately 4-cups of pellets, which is enough to create 8-hours of smoke at a time. It has a 4-inch diameter that makes filling it easy and it’s powered by either wood chunks or wood chips—not pellets. It’s also a product that doesn’t weigh a whole lot and can easily be cleaned.
This product is made out of 304 stainless-steel and is coated with heat-resistant paint that can stand up to 1,200-degree Fahrenheit without peeling or flaking off. This is also a product that’s manufactured in the U.S.
One of the things that we especially liked about this product was that it was easy to use. Once the consumer has it installed and loaded with wood chips, it’s very easy to start up. It can be up and running in just a few minutes. That alone makes it worth including on this list.
– This is an inexpensive cold smoker unit.
– It does a great job of generating smoke.
– It doesn’t feel as durable as other units.
Also Consider: Smokehouse Products Smoke Chief Smoke Generator
The last cold smoker unit on our list is this one from Smokehouse. This is a product that costs a little more than some of the other units that we’ve reviewed, which is why we didn’t place this model at the top of our list. However, we still feel that it’s a good unit for those consumers who don’t mind paying a little bit extra for a quality product. Let’s examine this set a little bit more closely to see where it excels and where it potentially fails at its job.
Unlike some of the other models we’ve reviewed, this model doesn’t require the consumer to drill a specialized hole—if their smoker has a rotisserie hole. The smoker can use the rotisserie hole to pipe smoke into the smoker. Of course, if the consumer doesn’t have this hole on their smoker or grill, they are going to have to drill one that’s large enough for them to insert the cold smoker’s tube.
To sue this unit, all the consumer has to do is to pour pellets into it, place the cap on the tube, align the cap with studs, push the cap down and then twist to seal. Once all of that’s been done, the unit can then be connected to a power supply and switched on. In no time flat, it will then generate the smoke that the consumer needs. This product can turn 1 cup of wood pellets into 3-hours of smoke. The smoke can be used for smoking chops, steaks, chicken, or just about anything else.
This product comes with the actual unit, a hanger mount, a cleanout tool, a measuring cup, an instruction manual, a plunger to push pellets down, and a 110AC to 12VDC power adapter. That’s everything the consumer needs (except for wood pellets) to introduce smoke into their favorite meats.
– The components in this kit are well-built.
– It does a great job of cold smoking.
– It costs more than some other units.
It’s our sincere hope that some of the cold smokers that we’ve selected are the ones that our readers are going to appreciate and want to buy. As we always try to do with our articles, we’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but we do understand that we might not have covered everything, so we’ve decided to go ahead and write a guide on cold smoking. This guide is designed to help all of our readers get started with cold smoking quickly, and be ready for the process when they have their cold smoker set-up.
Getting Ready For Cold Smoking
Anyone who has tried to find a dedicated cold smoker knows how difficult the process can be. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find a smoker that goes down as low as it needs to go for this process. Cold smoking is done with temperatures that are anywhere from 68-degrees to 86-degrees Fahrenheit. Even among smokers that claim to be able to do cold smoking, temperatures only went down to 100-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just too high for cold smoking.
Because most smokers can’t handle cold smoking, most consumers will have to probably turn to a cold smoke generator like one of the ones we’ve listed. Cold smoke generators allow the consumer to build their own cold smoker or to adapt an already owned smoker/grill to cold smoking. This process works very well, but it does require the consumer to prepare the smoker or grill they’re going to use.
Before trying to install any cold smoke generator to a smoker or grill, the consumer is going to want to make sure that they read the instructions that come with the unit completely. Some models require the consumer to drill a hole in the side of a vertical wall on the grill/smoker, while others might be installed through a hole that’s already found in the unit—usually through a hole intended for adding a rotisserie option to the smoker.
Of course, the cold smoker adapter isn’t the only thing that the consumer is going to need. They’re also going to need wood chips or pellets, curing salts, and some basic utensils for handling meat and cheeses such as utensils, containers for preparing and storing meat, and other things that the consumer might need for the cold smoking process.
The Basics Of Cold Smoking
Okay, once the consumer has the grill/smoker, the cold smoker generator, the meat or cheese they’re smoking, and the basic utensils for smoking, they can now begin to think about the process of cold smoking itself. Below are some things the consumer is going to want to think about before beginning the process of cold smoking.
Do It Someplace Cool
If it’s 100-degrees Fahrenheit outside, and your smoker is in full sunlight, then you’re not going to really do any cold smoking. Oh sure, you might start off cold smoking, but the outside temperature will raise the temperature of the meat in the smoker and you won’t end up with a true cold smoke. So the consumer should make sure they choose a cool day, a cool part of the day, or someplace that’s cool in their yard for the process of cold smoking.
Keep An Eye On Temperature
Before cold smoking, the consumer should make sure that they have a thermometer set up inside their smoker so that they can monitor temperatures. They should also have a way to monitor meat temperature as well.
Smoke Straight From The Fridge
Unfortunately, we’ve seen quite a few people let their meat come to room temperature before they begin cold smoking. That’s not only wrong but is also dangerous because that means that the meat is going to spend a lot of extra time in the danger zone. A better way to cold smoke meats is for the consumer to go directly from the refrigerator to the cold smoker.
The Basics Of Cold Smoking
Now, we want to spend some time giving our readers the basics of cold smoking using both dry curing and wet curing. Our readers should be advised that the following points are not a step-by-step method for cold smoking. For that information, the consumer should seek out information written by professional smokers on the subject of cold smoking. Below are merely points that give our readers a basic overview of what they will be doing.
- Meat should be completely coated in curing salts for one day
- Flavoring ingredients can be added before cold smoking.
- This is the best method for dry curing.
- Brine is made using one cup of water per 1 tablespoon of salt.
- The meat is placed in a bowl large enough to hold it and the brine.
- The meat should be soaked for at least one day.
- This method usually requires the meat to have extra cooking time to cook out extra brine.