Best Cold Smokers & Generators: how to cold smoke

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 24, 2021

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Cold smoking is one of the latest barbecuing methods among pitmasters and amateur cooks alike because it lends a natural smoke flavor to food without necessarily cooking it. But what exactly is cold smoking? For one, it’s very different from hot smoking. The following is our selection of the best cold smoke generator on the market.

Are you salivating at the thought of cold-smoked foods like smoked salmon and sardines? Fancy some Porcini mushrooms? Few things compare with the smell and taste of a smoked meal!

For the uninitiated, cold smoking is a form of food preservation after the meat is cured. The process adds a distinct smoky aroma to your meat or veggies. In the early days, Westerners purposely built a smokehouse where they smoked and stored their meats.

If you want to savor the taste of delicious cold-smoked food, the first thing you need is a quality smoker. Let’s have a look at the best cold smokers on the market in 2021 so that you can choose the best one for you.

What is Cold Smoking?

Hot smoking requires you to place the food in the same place as the burning wood chips or heating element depending on how your smoker is built. This basically heats the food and as it absorbs the smoke it develops that unique flavor. So, hot smoking cooks and smokes the food at the same time.

On the other hand, a cold smoker separates the food from the firebox or heating element. So the part of the device that produces smoke is kept separate from the part of the unit where the food is stored. That’s why food in a cold smoker absorbs the smoke without heating up which means you can smoke food that’s already cooked or even raw without heating it up.

Cold smoking can be a delicious alternative to hot-smoked BBQ, and even the best cold smokers are surprisingly affordable. These days, most can be used as an accessory for your existing grill, are compact, and durable. All the options covered here would make excellent options to enjoy your overnight camping, BBQ parties, family reunions, and other fun events.

Best Cold Smoke Generators reviewed

Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit

Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit

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This Masterbuilt cold smoking kit is designed to convert almost any Masterbuilt hot smoker into a Masterbuilt cold smoker. It’s super easy to install and use but beware because it doesn’t necessarily work for all Masterbuilt devices. It’s particularly incompatible with the Masterbuilt smoker model without the wood chip loader.

Otherwise, most Masterbuilt hot smokers come with a wood chip hole which you can just to attach the electronic cold smoker kit.
You’ll find that it’s super easy to add a Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment when using an automatic smoker which makes the 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit an ideal generator for beginners. Plus, if you’re attaching it to a Masterbuilt smoker then it’ll fit perfectly because they’re both made by the same brand.

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How to buy a bbq smoker video video

The best part about this Masterbuilt electric cold smoker is that it comes with a wood chip chamber with a running capacity of up to 6 hours. It has a unique feeding system that tells you how many wood chips it can handle at a time and it can reach temperatures of up to 100°F-120°F. This is the ideal cold smoking temperature and promises to produce the same fantastic results every time.

This cold smoker generator kit is a good investment for anyone that wants to transform their current hot smoker into a cold smoker. The Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit is quick and easy to use and offers consistent results.

Are you looking for a smoker that you can use for both cold and hot smoking? You can try this model from Masterbuilt.

With this equipment, you can cold smoke your food at a temperature of up to 275˚F. One excellent feature of this model is its continuous wood feed system that can supply smoke to the chamber for up to six hours. You can attach a Masterbuilt digital electric smoker through the side wood chip loader, too. It also features a removable ashtray for faster cleaning. Masterbuilt designed this smoker to allow you to achieve a perfectly smoked entrée. You can operate it effortlessly.

By just pushing a button, the smoker heats wood chips automatically to generate the smoke you need. According to the company, the model is ideal for smoking jerky, bacon, cheese, and fish.

Pros

Cons

Check the latest prices here

Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Cold Smoke Generator

Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Cold Smoke Generator

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The Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna comes with a well-balanced design that doesn’t require a lot of oversight during operation. It’s suitable for cold and hot smoking alike, and all you have to do is pour fuel into the hopper and attach it to your smoker.
Then, you’ll switch on the adjustable air pump as soon as the unit starts smoking so that the smoke comes out from the exit pipe and into the chamber with the food. From then on, this unit will produce plenty of smoke for you.
The most popular aspect of this cold smoke generator is the pump, which comes with adaptable airflow, and it comes highly recommended for anyone that has enough smoking space at home.

You’ll be glad to know that this Big kahuna is built to last and it’s practically leak-proof. Sure, you may need to drill a few holes to install this unit in your home but it’ll be well worth it when you start using it.

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With this cold smoke generator, your barbecues will be a thing of legend this summer, and it’ll definitely help you perfect cold smoking faster than with anything else out there.

Cold smoke your favorite foods with this smoke generator from Smoke Daddy Inc, a family-owned company. This versatile accessory can be attached to any smoker and grill to produce high-quality BBQ low and slow like it should be.

Whether you will be cold smoking or hot smoking your food, you can depend on this sturdy smoke generator.

It is built to last a lifetime with heavy-duty aluminum construction and a unique design that prevents fuel clogs. A single fill will burn for up to 45 minutes and produce an impressive 3 to 4 hours of smoke, ensuring you can kick back and enjoy your day.

To produce the best smoke, use wood chips and larger woodchucks on this generator.

Pros

Cons

Check prices and availability here

A-MAZE-N Cold Smoker – Best value for the buck

Amazing pellet smoker attachment

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This passive cold smoke generator system from A-MAZE-N is versatile and easy to use. All you have to do is fill up the stainless steel “maze” and light it up. That’s all you need to get it going before you load it up with food and it makes a mean smoked salmon.

Since you’ll be using sawdust, the heat and smoke can last for several hours at a time. Thanks to the maze-like design, the sawdust burns slower and that’s what gives it that long-lasting smokiness.

We particularly like the simple and straightforward design of this pellet smoker because it’s incredibly efficient and well-made yet easy to use.
It’s able to produce a lot of smoke for long periods of time and keeping it in check is relatively simple as well.

Pros

Cons

Check prices here

Smokemiester BBQ Smokers

Smokemiester BBQ Smokers

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The Smokemiester pellet smoke generator is designed to work on covered grills specifically, and it’s great for cold smoking because the heat leaks out while smoke is trapped in for maximum flavor.

It’s ideal for smokehouses and covered grills because it doesn’t come with the risk of clogging the outlet tube and yet smoke circulates freely within the burned screen. Furthermore, it’s made from durable powder coated iron which can withstand the highest temperatures without burning out, and it looks easy on the eye too.

The lower lid is specifically designed to perfectly control the smoke coming out of the unit. Plus, you can use wood chips or pellets depending on your preferences, both of which are easy to source and even easier to use.
Since this cold smoker doesn’t run on a regular source of power, it’s safe to leave it working overnight to fully infuse meats, vegetables and other foods with smoke flavor.

Pros

Cons

Check prices and availability here

Smokehouse Smoke Chief Cold Smoker

Smokehouse Smoke Chief Cold Smoker

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If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to smoke your food, the Smoke Generator from Smokehouse is the way to go. It’s easy to attach onto any outdoor cooking device of your choice including grills.

It’s a great way to transform your favorite BBQ grill into a cold smoker in minutes. To get it working, all you have to do is fill it up with wood pellets of your choice and plug it in. It has a nice compact design that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and you can easily place it next to the grill so that the smoke can travel through the device’s rotisserie hole.

The smoke coming out of this cold smoke generator can last for up to 3 hours and that’s based on 1 cup of BBQ pellets. Plus, it runs on 110AC or 12DVC of power.The Smoke Chief is compatible with smokers, charcoal grills, pellet grills, gas grills, and most outdoor cooking devices. Smokehouse sells their own brand of wood pellets in five different flavors including mesquite, hickory, cherry, apple, and alder. As a cold smoke generator, this appliance can be used to smoke all types of different foods, from chicken to ham, beans, eggs, fish, pork, beef, smoked ribs and more.

Pros

Cons

Check prices here

A-MAZE-N Oval, Cold or Hot Smoking

If you want a versatile and user-friendly smoker, this pellet tube smoker from A-MAZE-N offers the best value for your money. It features an oval design to prevent movement on the grill surface. It also stops the smoker tube from rolling. The best thing about this smoker is its versatility. You can use it for both cold and hot smoke processing. During cold smoking, it can produce smoke continuously for up to four hours and reach a temperature of more than 225°F. It can also be used in any grill.Another great feature of this model is its portability. You can easily take it anywhere you want due to its compact construction, and with a durable stainless-steel build, it will take the bumps and lumps of the trip no problem.

It’s perfect for a camping smoking adventure – enjoy eating delicious smoked food while discovering the beauty of nature.You can also use this smoker at your BBQ party or any tailgate event. According to the company, this model is ideal for cold smoking foods like nuts, fish, meat, and cheese.

Check the latest prices here

What is a cold smoking

It’s a pretty old method that is characterized by the food not being served hot.

The temperature around the food is usually below 140 degrees F, that is the key information here.

During cold smoking it is necessary to maintain perfect conditions, proportions and specified temperature, or else you’re posing quite a hazard to your health.

It is nearly impossible to achieve on a regular grill/smoker, which makes it necessary to purchase the right accessories or build an adequate cold smoker by yourself.

Such configuration usually consists of a single smoke making container and a very low amount of heat plus the second container where the food is located (in many cases there are also pipes between the two containers).

When it comes to cheeses, nuts or tofu, the hazard is low, although the problem arises when it comes to meats.

Personally I advise against smoking meat with the cold method in household conditions, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. It’s very easy to make a mistake and at the same time it’s very hard to achieve perfect conditions, which makes it better to buy tested products at a store.

This type of solution is better because you can be sure that the meat goes through appropriate tests and is kept in perfect conditions where professionals watch over the entire process.

Why is cold smoking dangerous

What kind of danger am I talking about? I mean different types of pathogens that pose a very huge threat to your health. Especially for people with lower immunity, pregnant women, children, elders etc.

The risk of poisoning is different depending on the type of pathogen, in certain cases it is pretty high. It’s the worst for ground meat, or sausage. Meat that has been exposed to different tools is at a much higher risk of pollutions and microorganisms.

In case of hot cooking, they all die at high temperature, but with cold smoking the situation is quite the opposite.

You can learn more in detail on safety and risks in the amazing ribs article.

Cold Smoking vs Hot Smoking

First and foremost, the key difference is the temperature the meat is smoked in.

When it comes to hot smoking, as the name implies, it takes place in a higher temperature (usually within the range of 225-250 degrees F).

Such temperature kills all pathogens, which means you don’t have to worry about any problems or the risk of poisoning and diseases.

For that reason it is not necessary to cure the meat for hot smoking as well.

You may use marinade, but it’s only there to enrich the flavor and aroma.

Hot smoking is much easier than cold smoking, it’s easier to provide adequate conditions.

You don’t need precise equipment, you can actually even use the simplest charcoal grill. A kettle grill from weber for example, but to get the best results I recommend a dedicated smoker.

Conclusion

Cold smoking is a great way to imbue your food with delicious smoky flavor without overcooking or heating it at all. To get this result, all you need is a good quality cold smoke generator and the right type of wood like some of these. After that, you simply install the cold smoke generator to your grill or smoker and you’re good to go!

But, we cannot stress enough the importance of using the right cold smoker in order to get the perfect flavor. We’ve made the selection process that much easier for you by reviewing the best products in this category, but as with anything, there can only be one winner.

In this case, the award for the best cold smoke generator on the market goes to the [amazon link=”B008DF6WWE” title=”Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit for Masterbuilt Digital Smokers” /]. This model works with most Masterbuilt smokers and it comes with a 6-hour wood chip chamber, a temperature capacity of 100°F-120°F and it offers consistent performance throughout.cardboard box

What is the Best Wood for Cold Smoking?

Wood produces smoke no matter what type it is, but this doesn’t mean that you should use any and all types of wood for cold smoking. For instance, while evergreen wood catches smoke quickly it also expels certain resins in the process which might completely ruin the flavor of your food.

That’s why pitmasters prefer “clean” burning wood such as mesquite, beech, cherry, apple, and oak. The type of wood you choose will depend on your flavor preferences and you can even combine different types of wood to get the perfect smoky flavor that you like.

However, the key to successful cold smoking is to generate more smoke than you are generating heat. That means you need to slowly smolder the wood instead of lighting it up to burn fast. Wood pellets and wood dust work particularly well for this purpose but you should never use chips because that could spoil the whole thing. That’s because chips are really small and they’re designed for hot smoking instead of cold applications so they burn hot and long.

Is Cold Smoke Bad for You?

Cold smokers are relatively safe and easy to use at home and they produce delicious results. With that said, it can be dangerous when done by someone who doesn’t have the skills and tools needed to safely operate a cold smoke generator.

Can You Cold Smoke in an Electric Smoker?

Yes! They are one of the best kinds of smokers to use for cold smoking as you can set them to smoke ‘low and slow’ for a long period of time.

Get the perfect cheese, fish, and veggies by purchasing a cold smoking kit. You won’t regret it!

Like we mentioned earlier in the article, cold smoking is unique because it only smokes the food without cooking it. This enables you to preserve the natural flavor and texture of the food while adding a nice smokiness to it. The good news is that it’s possible to cold smoke food using an electric smoker and it works just as well and fast as a homemade smoker.

Learn here How to Cold Smoke Bacon at Home

What is a Cold Smoker Attachment?

The cold smoker comes in the form of a peripheral wood chip smoking chamber that you can use to smoke food at low temperatures that range from 100° to 120° F. Most cold smoker attachments are compatible with all Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokers and they come with a very efficient wood chip feeding system. All you need are some standard wood chips and you can generate up to 6 hours of cold smoke.

Can You Cold Smoke in a Big Green Egg?

Cold smoking is a special method of food seasoning that you can use to produce something different using The Big Green Egg. Most of the cold smoking recipes that come with this device are easy to prepare and work according to similar principles as the ones mentioned in this article.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.