Making a Cold Smoker


Edit: the original article was written nearly six years ago. To coincide with my new youtube video I thought I should update it.

First things first, what is cold smoking?

Cold smoking is when you flavour something with smoke rather than cook it with smoke.

In the UK our bacon is cold smoked as are kippers, smoked salmon, cheese, garlic and nuts.

Many people still cold smoke the old way, lighting a fire and funnelling the smoke from one container to another one much further away. It involves having a decent amount of space and tending a fire constantly.

How I cold smoke

The easiest way is by buying something called a cold smoke generator. This is a small metal holder that slowly burns saw dust over about ten hours.

This device is left in a closed container with a few holes drilled in the top and bottom. My first cold smoker was made out of two old wine boxes (photo below). It’s important to have these holes. Otherwise stale, rank smoke will build up and impart an acrid taste to your food.

You don’t need to spend much time or money making the actual smoker, you can use an old cardboard box or a filing cabinet. It really doesn’t matter.

What to buy

I’m putting a link to the cold smoke generator I bought nearly ten years ago. I’m also going to put a link to some cheaper sawdust. The company (ProQ) that sells the cold smoke generator sells saw dust at a fairly extortionate price.

Cold smoke generator:

Cold smoke generator kit with saw dust:

Cheaper saw dust:


Some recipes are as simple as putting a lump cheese, garlic or almonds in the smoker and leaving it to it.

However with meat and fish things are slightly more complicated. The normal process is to salt the meat/fish first. This ‘cures’ the fish. Once cured dry the fish. You should notice that it will have firmed up and the flesh has a slightly tacky exterior. This is called the pellicle and its vital, its what the smoke adheres to.

You should be able to find a number of recipes here

Good luck and let me know in the comments how you get on!



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.