Best Cold Smoker
If you are in a hurry and want to find out what the Best Cold Smoker is then we would recommend Pellet Smoker Tube BBQ Wood Pellet Smoker for Cold/Hot Smoking
Cold smoking foods is one of the latest barbecuing trends from pitmasters to average cooks alike. Cold smoking gives foods a natural smoke flavor without cooking it. The process is very different from hot smoking; therefore, you need different equipment. The following is our review of the best cold smoker options out there.
Here are the cold smokers that we will be reviewing:
- Pellet Smoker Tube BBQ Wood Pellet Smoker for Cold/Hot Smoking
- Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Electric Smoker
- Smoke Daddy Magnum P.I.G. Cold Smoke Generator
- A-Maze-N AMNPS Maze Pellet Smoker
- Smokehouse Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator
What is Cold Smoking?
When you are cooking foods via hot smoking, you place the food in the same area as the burning wood chips or heating element. This allows you to heat the food while it absorbs the smoke and the unique smoky flavor. Essentially, hot smoking is what you do when you want to cook and smoke your food simultaneously. Cold smoking is different.
Cold smoking, when done along with curing, preserves meat while adding a smoky flavor to it. Not all products need curing, but meat does. To cold smoke meat, it needs to go through a curing process that takes out moisture and stops bacteria’s potential to grow. After that, the cured meat is exposed to smoke to add flavor. This can take anywhere from a few hours to many days, depending on the product.
How to Choose the Best Cold Smoker
When choosing the best cold smoke generator, there are some essential features to consider.
One of the most important features of a reliable cold smoker is the build. It needs to be sturdy. Most cold smokers are aluminum and silicon. When you are choosing a smoker, pick a model that is composed well and will provide you with quality performance for a long period of time.
If you have frequent barbecues or parties, portability is an important factor. If the smoker is too heavy, it will not be easy to transport. If this is something that matters to you, you should look for a lightweight cold smoker in order to meet your requirements.
It is not always easy to attach a cold smoker to a grill. You should look for a model that is designed to be user-friendly and can attach to your grill with ease. You can enjoy the smoky food without a ton of struggling this way.
Cold smokers generally vary in price. Depending on the brand and features you want, you could be putting aside a lot of money for one. Set your budget before you begin your search. Make sure the model you choose fits all of your criteria and your budget so you can thoroughly enjoy your decision.
What Wood is the Best for Cold Smoking?
The kind of wood you use for smoking meats will have a direct impact on the flavor of your food. So, which type of wood should you use for cold smoking?
You should always use hardwoods because they are safe for smoking food. Woods like Evergreen will produce a lot of smoke, but they will also release harmful toxins into your food, making the food taste bad. Here is a list of the best woods to use for cold smoking in order from strongest to most mild smoky flavors:
If you are new to smoking, consider starting out with a more mild wood like apple or cherry before going for the full-flavored woods.
Potential Dangers of Cold Smoking
If you are going to buy a cold smoke generator, you need to be aware of the potential dangers of cold smoking to avoid illness or smoking the wrong kind of meat. If you have food that needs a specific temperature, cold smoking can be risky.
Cold smoking uses very low temperatures to flavor and preserve foods. This is done over extended periods. According to the USDA, the “danger zone” for bacteria to grow is between 40-140F. When you cold smoke, your food spends a lot of time in this range. To avoid danger, ensure you have your process down before serving cold-smoked meats to people who may be at risk for foodborne illnesses.
Cold Smoking Safety Tips
If you take all of the precautions, you can enjoy your cold smoked food at home. Here are some practices to ensure you are cold smoking safely:
- Get your meat from a butcher or farm with a good reputation
- Cure meat as soon as possible
- Keep cured meats cold and sealed until use
- Make sure you use only approved smoking woods to ensure the wood has not been contaminated with anything potentially dangerous
Review of the Best Cold Smokers
Now that we have gone over the important pieces of cold smoking, it is time to look at our list of cold smoker reviews to help you pick the best option for your home.
Pellet Smoker Tubes are simple and allow you to cold smoke easily. They are affordable and very easy to use, making them great for beginners. You simply fill the tube with wood chips, ignite one end, and put the tube inside your smoker or grill. This allows you to convert any grill, drum, or smoker into a cold smoker.
With a pellet smoker tube, you are creating a flame and placing it in the same container as the food. It is ideal for larger meats and products because of this. In general, pellet tubes are cheaper and more practical ways to convert your cooking vessel into a cold smoking experience.
- Fits into any cooking vessel easily
- Great for beginners
- Most portable cold smoking option
- Provides hot and cold smoking
- A torch is required to light wood
- Smoke does not blow
- Cannot smoke cheeses or easily melted products very easily
The Masterbuilt 30-inch electric cold smoker is a great option for beginners and pitmasters alike. You can achieve competition quality smokes in your backyard without charcoal or propane. Since it is electric, you simply need to plug the smoker in, set the controls, and let it go. The smoker has a side loader for wood chips, so you can add flavor without opening the door.
This smoker is easy to use and easy to assemble, making it ideal for those who are new to cold smoking. Since it is an electric cold smoker, there is less hassle involved in the overall process, and you can get to smoking right away.
- Built well and sturdy
- Design is simple and easy to operate
- Results of the food are great
- Easy to move around, take apart, and clean
- Paint peels over time due to high heat exposure
- Wood chip holder is smaller than other designs
- Control panel has minor issues over time
- Can retain too much heat
The Magnum PIG is essentially a small cold smoke box with an air hose. To use it, you load the hopped with your choice of fuel and connect it to the smoker. When the fuel begins to smoke, you turn on the air pump that blows smoke out of the pipe and into the chamber to smoke your food.
If you have a space at home used explicitly for smoking, this cold smoker is great. It is built very sturdy and solid without leaking any smoking. The Big Kahuna is easy to install and typically only needs to be installed once, making it easier to use than other cold smokers.
- Generates a lot of smoke
- Is a cold or hot smoker and burns anything
- Airflow is adjustable
- Easy to use and install
- Is not portable, has to be mounted to the smoker
- Have to light the fuel manually
- Tubing can clog easily, needs to be cleaned frequently
- Nowhere to rest air pump
The A-Maze-N AMNPS Maze Pellet Smoker is a favorite among pitmasters. It is similar to a pellet smoker tube in that you load the maze with wood chips and light one of the corners. The maze design is one of the top cold smoker designs because it is simple to use and gives you fantastic results.
Once it is lit, the flame works slowly around the maze to gradually cover and burn your wood chips. If you desire a long, consistent burn, mazes are your best options. This is the ideal pick for big pieces of meat that require more time to absorb all of the smoky flavors.
- Burns consistently for 12 hours
- Ignites from both ends
- Works for hot and cold smoking
- Compatible with most containers
- Cannot actually blow smoke
- Keeping the right temperature can be hard
- Need a torch to light pellets
- Not great in high altitude
When it comes to portable options, the Smokehouse Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator is the way to go. It was created to be used as a universal cold smoke generator. What that means is, you can add smoke to a grill or smoker as long as you have the proper power source. This cold smoke generator is excellent for camping and parties.
The smoker has an electric heating piece that burns and heats your fuel to create smoke that pumps into the cooking chamber. You can get about three hours of smoke from one cup of fuel with this option. If you want to save on fuel or have smaller needs, the Smokehouse generator may be worth considering.
- One cup of fuel generates three hours of smoke
- Attaches easily to a smoker or grill
- Portable and can be used anywhere with a power source
- Does not require matches or fire to light
- An electrical outlet is necessary
- May need a hole drilled to allow smoke in properly
- The design could stand to be updated
In terms of price, portability, and overall quality, the clear winner of the Cold Smoker review round-up is the Pellet Smoker Tube. The reviews on this product were unanimously good, and the quality of the product for the price sets it apart from the other top competitors. If you are looking for a well-rounded cold smoke generator, the Pellet Tube is your answer.
Always remember that cold smoking is not the same as cooking meat fully. It is a process used to smoke and preserve foods for long periods. Ensure that you take all necessary precautions when cold smoking to give yourself the best experience possible.