Cold smoking is a special way of smoking your food because it is done without the heat and it doesn’t actually cook the food, but it does give it a special smoked flavor. So, how do you cold smoke? Before I explain you the process, let’s see what makes cold smoking so different from hot smoking.
The main difference between the hot and cold smoking process is that during hot smoking your food is in the main unit as the wood chips, heating element, and other features. That means that it absorbs the high temperatures and smoke. The food during hot smoking is both cooking and smoking it at the same time.
|Masterbuilt Cold Smoker Attachment|
|Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator|
|Bradley Smoker Cold Smoke Adapter|
So, how to use a cold smoker? They work a little differently. You have a separated cabinet for producing smoke (firebox) and for the food. That means that the firebox pumps the desired amount of smoke into the cabinet with food, without any heat, thus making it cold smoke. That means that the food in the cold smoker is only smoking (without the cooking part) adding yummy flavor to the food only.
How does a cold smoking work?
The temperature required for cold smoking is around 100°F which is very low so the food you are smoking in the cold smoker will remain raw. You can’t prepare food at that low temperature and cold smoking only gives the smoked flavor to the food, it doesn’t cook it. That is why every food you intend to cold smoke you have to cook before the process. The simplest way to do that is to prepare any of your favorite foods, such as a brisket, before (grilling, bake, roast) and then put it in the smoker for a final smoking touch.
Another thing you can do is to cure food before smoking. Curing is leaving the meat in a dry room so it can develop a pellicle. When it is done, then you can cold smoke it at least 24 hours of continuous smoke because it has to get that smoke flavor. Curing is a process which usually lasts for weeks or even months, which doesn’t make it suitable for homes. Since the cold smoking process doesn’t prepare the food, scientists don’t recommend to do that at home, especially with meat or fish because that is the best way for most bacteria to spread.
If you want to try cold smoking and you want to get a cold smoker, I suggest you try it with less dangerous food like the cheese or even jerky (after you dehydrate it of course). Smoking cheese is easy to do with a home cold smoker because it is a slow smoking process and will add lots of smoky goodness.
Best cold smokers on the market
If you are looking for a true electric cold smoker you won’t be able to find it because there aren’t any cold smokers for sale. But, there are smokers that can smoke food at low temperatures but they can’t produce a temperature low enough to call them cold smokers and they don’t have two separated chambers.
The better solution for this situation is to get the cold smoke generator. Those generators are actually cold smoker attachment that can turn your ordinary electric smoker in the best cold smoker in no time. They are easy to install and they are actually cold smoker boxes.
Today I want to focus on best cold smoke generators which can turn your electric smokers into cold smokers and can provide you excellent results.
Masterbuilt Cold Smoker Attachment
The first smoker unit I will review it the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment. Since their smokers are only made for hot smoke, you can use this cold smoker kit to turn your Masterbuilt smoker in the cold smoker.
It is very easy to install to the main unit, but it doesn’t fit all Masterbuilt smokers. Don’t worry, there is only one Masterbiult smoker in that category and that is their analog smoker because it doesn’t have wood chip loader.
The hole for the wood chip system that loads the wood chips is the hole you use to add the electric cold smoker attachment to your Masterbiult smoker. It is easy to install and easy to use. If you have a Masterbuilt smoker (not analog) this is the best cold smoke generator for you to use. It is made by the same brand which means it will fit like a glove.
This electric cold smoker has its own wood chip chamber which you can fill up so it can smoke for almost 6 hours of consistent smoke. You don’t have to think about the number of wood chips because this little cold smoker has its own continuous wood feed system. All you need to do is fill the chamber up. This best cold smoker for Masterbuilt units produces temperatures 100°F-120°F which is a good range for the cold smoking process.
This stainless steel little cold smoker generator can turn your Masterbuilt smoker unit in a cold smoker easy and fast. That is why it is so popular. It is easy to use and easy to clean which means that cold smoking with this cold smoker box is a breeze.
If you are interested to learn more about this Masterbuilt cold smoker, I suggest you take a look at my Masterbuilt electric smoker page where you can learn everything about Masterbuilt smokers and other accessories or related products like this cold smoker attachment and a Masterbuilt cold smoking kit.
Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator
Another interesting cold smoke generator is made by Smoke Chief and it is made so you can attach it to any smoker or grill on the market. I am not completely convinced with that statement, so I would advise you to do the research before you buy this electric cold smoker box because there are some generators that ask you to drill a hole in your unit. If you don’t have a problem with that, then great.
It has a small pipe which you have to fit in a hole of your smoker or grill. If you have that kind of hole than you are safe, but some units require drilling that hole.
The Smoke Chief cold smoke generator runs on pellets and you can fill the electric cold smoker with a cup of pellets that can last for about 3 hours. It is not like the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment, but it is still impressive. It has its own power cord which means you can plug it in and in few minutes it will start producing smoke. Be sure to only use when doing outdoor cooking.
This cold smoke box is great because it produces a lot of smoke which means you can cold smoke everything from cheese, seafood, and meat. It is also easy to use, all you need to do is fill it up with your choice of wood pellet, install it to your smoker/grill, turn it on and it will start smoking.
The Smoke Chief is a cold smoke generator made by the Smokehouse products and if you are interested in the electric smokers made by the same brand, take a look at my Smokehouse Products post.
Bradley Smoker Cold Smoke Adapter
The Bradley cold smoker is an adapter you can put on your Bradley smoker, no matter what model you have because it fits them all. You can easily find it in stock on amazon.
The adapter is great because it gives you that extra chamber you need so you can cold smoke ham, salmon or even cheese. The thing that makes this Bradley cold smoker adapter so interesting is its location.
It is located right between the smoking chamber and the smoking generator and it can only fit on the Bradley smokers because they have a special design.
As you can see it on the picture, this cold smoker adapter has a tube which leads the produces smoke in the smoking chamber without raising the temperature and that is what cold smoking is all about – using smoke, not heat.