One of the best ways for the consumer to get honest-to-goodness smoky flavor into meat is to use a method of smoking called cold smoking. This is the process of preserving the food, all without the food being cooked. Although this process takes a bit of work to master, it does produce some of the tastiest smokiest meats a person could ever experience. All they have to do is to purchase the best cold smoker available and put it to good use. To help our readers find the smoker that works the best, we’ve decided to review some of the more common ones available and choose the ones that are the best.
Quick Summary of Best Cold Smokers
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This kit comes with a cold smoker body that can hold up to 6-cups of fuel, an adjustable air pump, top and bottom caps, a threaded outlet tube, and a stainless steel cleaning brush for maintaining the cold smoker kit. This is a kit that allows the consumer to use their favorite wood chunks or chips and is probably one of the easiest kits we’ve used so far. However, with that being said, the consumer is going to need to not only assemble this product but also do some preparatory work—which is not uncommon for cold smoker generator systems. One of the things that the consumer is going to have to do is to make make a 1-1/8-inch mounting hole.
This product is made from precision-machined SCH 40 6061 aluminum. This is a heavy-gauge aluminum that will hold up to many, many years of robust smoking. It’s a product that’s designed to be put on a smoker for cold smoking overnight at temperatures below 100-degrees Fahrenheit. As we’ve said, it can also be used for hot smoking—although we’re not sure if the consumer should use it during hot smoker overnight or while unattended.
Keeping all of this product’s features clearly in our mind, we’re confident enough to say that this is one of the best cold smoker generators we’ve seen thus far. It’s a hard-working product that’s well made and comes with all of the parts that the consumer will need, except for the smoker box. That’s why we heartily give it two thumbs up.
- This is a high-quality well made cold smoking set.
- It can add smoke to both hot or cold smoking projects.
- It comes with everything the smoke master could want.
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Let’s begin our adventure together with some basic features. This product holds four cups of pellets, so it can provide up to 8-hours of smoke. And we do have to say that we like the smoke this unit produces. This generator not only produces a lot of smoke, but it produces a very dense smoke that’s perfect for smoking. And it can pump out that smoke all without needing to be hooked up to an air pump. So, it doesn’t need any power whatsoever. This feature is enough in our minds to place this firmly in the middle of our list of the best cold smokers.
If there’s one thing that concerned us about this product, it’s the fact that it is made out of thin steel that doesn’t seem to have much of a protective coating on it. That makes us concerned that this product might not last as long as it should. That maybe it will begin to rust over time. We’re not completely sure how long this product will last, but we don’t think it’s as durable as we would’ve liked.
Fortunately, this cold smoker doesn’t cost very much, so it’s a very low-risk investment for many people. Plus, if the consumer takes care of it, it’s more likely to have a long life. With those things in mind, we’ve decided to place this at the number two spot on our list. This is a great cold smoker generator that produces a ton of smoke. We just wish it was a little sturdier.
- This product produces robust amounts of smoke.
- This cold smoker doesn’t cost very much.
- We wish it was a little more durable than what it is.
Also Consider: Smokehouse Products Smoke Chief Smoke Generator
This is an electric smoke generator that is manufactured in the U.S and comes with not only the smoker generator, but also a plunger to move down pellets, a hanger mount, a 110AC to 12VDC power adapter, a pellet measuring cup, and a cleanout tool. This product is approximately 9.5-inches by 4-inches by 12.13-inches and weighs around 7-pounds. On most grills, this smoker can be set up next to the grill and can use the rotisserie hole to pipe smoke into it.
This electric cold smoker generator has been thoroughly tested and can be used with gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills, or homemade cold smoke boxes. It takes very little effort to set up and creates a high-quality smoke. It will generate smoke for approximately 3-4 hours before needed to be refilled again, which is another drawback of this unit and the reason it couldn’t ascend higher on our list.
All things considered, we did like how it performed and the only two things that held it back was the fact that it cost more than other units and didn’t smoke quite as long. If it weren’t for those two things, this smoker would be higher on our list because it does produce a nice, rich smoke few other generators can produce.
- This is a well-rounded kit.
- This produces quality smoke.
- The components in this kit are durable.
- This product is a bit expensive.
- This product only produces smoke for about 3-4 hours.
A Smoke Master’s Guide To Cold Smoking
Okay, we admit that we’re being a bit pretentious with the title of this guide, but we wanted to make sure that we grabbed our readers’ attention. It’s been the purpose of our above reviews to direct our readers’ attention towards cold smokers and what they can do. Now, we’re going to redirect our reader’s attention to using these cold smokers to produce the finest meat ever consumed. Now that all of us are straight about our intentions concerning this guide and our reviews, let’s jump into things and talk about how consumers can use cold smoke generators to produce some tasty meat candy.
What Foods Can Be Cold Smoked?
Let’s start this guide by answering one of the most common questions that people ask about cold smoking and that’s “what foods can be cold smoked?” Although many people think of cold-smoked salmon or salami when they think of this smoking process, other foods can be cold smoked easily as well. This includes cheese, tofu, vegetables, and nuts. Of course, people can also cold smoke properly treated meats as well.
What Are Some Potential Cold Smoking Dangers?
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to think about before cold smoking is the dangers of this process. Cold smoking certain foods can be dangerous if the foods aren’t properly prepared for smoking. That’s because the cold smoking process can create the perfect conditions for bacteria such as botulism to grow—if it’s not properly prepared.
When cold smoking meat, the meat should definitely be cured before smoking. That’s because salt will help to slow the growth of bacteria. However, the consumer should remember that salt won’t kill bacteria outright, only slow it down.
The two most common types of bacteria growing in improperly cold smoked meat include botulism and listeria. Both of these bacteria forms can be hazardous, so the consumer needs to take steps to reduce the possibility of these bacteria from growing.
Properly Cold Smoking Foods
Now that we’ve given our readers a basic overview of what foods can be smoked and the potential risks of improperly cold smoking foods, it’s now time to turn our attention to properly cold smoking foods. The following tips will help all of our readers.
Step One: Cure Meat Before Smoking
The first thing that the consumer should do is to cure their meat before cold smoking it. And there are two methods of curing meat: dry curing and wet curing. For this guide, we’re going to concentrate on dry curing, so if the consumer needs to learn the wet curing method, they’re going to have to do that research themselves.
The best meats for dry curing include pork loin, ribeye, strip loin, beef hindquarter, pork belly, sirloin, and brisket. In other words, meats that have layers of fat and have bones in them. The consumer is going to trim some of the fat to allow smoke to penetrate the meat more deeply, but they’re not going to trim all of it. They’re going to want to make sure there’s some fat left on the meat.
Even though we’re not going to give our readers directions on making their own dry cure, we will go over the four main ingredients found in curing rubs. These ingredients include salt, curing salt, sugar, and various spices such as cloves, onion powder, black pepper, garlic, dry mustard, chili powder, cumin, paprika, or brown sugar. The salt and curing salt are the most important ingredients, however, as they will inhibit bacterial growth, draw moisture out of the meat, and preserve the meat’s red color.
Step Two: Prepare The Grill & Cold Smoker Generator
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to do is to prepare their grill/smoke box for cold smoking. This includes making sure that it’s clean and that the hole for the cold smoke generator is drilled—if that’s necessary.
Step Three: Make Sure To Regulate Air Flow
Another thing that the consumer should consider is how air flows around their smokebox. They want to make sure that enough smoke is held in the box but that it can exit slowly as new smoke is introduced to the box. Ideally, the consumer is going to want the smoke to flow upwards and over the meat before it exits the box. This will produce the best results.
Step Four: Consider The Woods Used
The last thing the consumer should do before beginning the cold smoking process is to decide on what woods they want to use. As a general rule, most people use woods that produce lighter smoke than woods that generate heavier smoke. This means using woods such as apple or cherry wood, maple, or alder.