The Best Cold Smoke Generators for Perfect Smoked Food

best cold smoke generator

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Most of the low and slow barbecue we cook calls for temperatures between 225-300°F.

While that’s low compared to normal cooking, when it comes to smoking cheese, fish, nuts, or even drinks, you need to be able to produce smoke without having to worry about the food getting over-coobked in the process,

Here are the best cold smoke generators on the market

The best cold smoke generators

We’ve picked some of our favorite cold smoke generators at different price points. There are a few different types of cold smoker, so we’ll go through the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is best for you.

1. Best budget cold smoke generator – Buzzlett Maze Pellet Smoker

Designed to work with both pellets and wood chips, the Buzzlett Maze Pellet Smoker is an excellent budget choice that still delivers great results.

Lightweight, durable and portable, this mini cold smoker is perfect for those who want to experiment with smoking, without breaking the bank.

Made from solid stainless steel to avoid corrosion, you simply fill the Maze Pellet Smoker with wood chips, pellets, or sawdust and place it in your grill.

The design of the smoker means airflow is evenly distributed, so you get consistent results every time.

What we like:

  • Inexpensive – Despite its utility, the Buzzlett Pellet Smoker still comes in at under $40!
  • Portable – Measuring just 5″ l x 8″ w, the Buzzlett Pellet Smoker is perfect for on-the-go smoking.
  • Even smoke distribution – The design of the pellet smoker ensures that airflow is evenly distributed, giving you consistent results each time.

What we don’t like:

  • Limited size – The smoker is small, so it might not be suitable for larger food items or grills.
  • Limited circulation – Because of its shape and the lack of a powered air flow, the Buzzlett Maze Pellet Smoker is limited to the amount of circulation your grill naturally produces. 

The Buzzlett Maze Pellet Smoker is an excellent addition to any smoker, and it’s perfect for those who want to add cold smoking capabilities to their repertoire. 

This little pellet smoker is easy to use and gives you consistent results every time. It’s also very inexpensive, making it a great option for those on a budget.

2. Best splurge – Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator

If you’re really into cold smoking and want to spend a little extra to get the best possible results, then we recommend the Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator.

This bad boy is made from stainless steel and can cold smoke for up to 12 hours at a time. It’s also very easy to use, so you’ll be able to get great results even if you’re a beginner.

Unlike the other smokers on this list, the Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator is a powered option that essentially adds a smoking chamber to whatever grill it’s attached to.

Similar to a dance floor smoke machine, it burns chips or pellets and then injects the cooled smoke into your grill.

There are a few downsides to the Smoke Chief.

First, it’s one of the more expensive options on this list. Second, it requires a bit more setup than the other cold smoke generators. You’ll need a port through which you can let the smoke into your grill, and the machine itself runs on electricity, so you’ll need an outlet nearby.

However, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use system that will give you consistent results, then the Smoke Chief is a great option.

What we like:

  • Easy to use – The Smoke Chief is very plug-and-play. Simply load it with wood chips or pellets, set the temperature, and let it do its thing.
  • Consistent results – This machine is great for getting consistent results. No more worrying about whether your food will be properly smoked.
  • Strong smoke flavor – Because it’s powered, the Smoke Chief circulates the smoke more effectively, increasing its penetration into the food being cooked.

What we don’t like:

  • Requires an outlet nearby – Since the Smoke Chief runs on electricity, you’ll need to have an outlet nearby.
  • Can be too smokey – If you’re used to getting your smokey flavor from just dropping some wood chunks into your coals, then you might find the amount of smokey taste produced by this powered smoker to be overwhelming at first. 

If you’re looking for the best cold smoke generator, then the Smoke Chief is a great option. It’s easy to use and gives consistent results every time.

3. Best small pellet tube – LIZZQ Premium Pellet Smoker Tube

Pellet tubes are the least complicated cold smokers. All you have to do is load the tube with wood pellets, light it, and let it smoke.

LIZZQ’s Premium Pellet Smoker Tube is one of the best on the market, combining quality and affordability. It’s made of durable stainless steel and is the perfect size for small to medium-sized grills.

The tube can contain enough pellets to smoke for up to five hours and is small enough to fit into pretty much any grill. Clean up is also remarkably easy, you just pop it in the dishwasher!

What we like:

  • Corrosion-resistant – The tube is made of durable 304 stainless steel and is dishwasher safe.
  • Portable – It’s the perfect size for small to medium-sized grills and to take on the road.
  • Good airflow – The tubular shape of this pellet smoker creates a level of artificial airflow that increases the circulation of the smoke it produces. 

What we don’t like:

  • Too small for larger smokes – If you’re looking to smoke a lot of food in a larger grill, the tube might not be big enough for you, meaning you’ll need to look for a larger cold smoke generator or use multiple tubes.
  • Only five hours of smoking time – If you’re cooking a larger piece of meat low and slow, you’re going to need to refill this smoker a fair few times before the cooking is done.

Overall, the LIZZQ Premium Pellet Smoker Tube is a great choice for those looking for an easy-to-use, durable, and portable cold smoke generator.

What is a cold smoke generator and how do they work?

A cold smoker is a device that emits smoke without reaching high temperatures. This is in contrast to a traditional hot smoker, which uses hot coals or wood to produce smoke.

Generally, cold smokers use wood pellets or sawdust which combusts at lower temperatures and produces cooler smoke.

smoke tube being lighted with gas lighter

Cold smoking is a popular method for preserving food, as it doesn’t require the use of heat and therefore minimizes the risk of damaging or overcooking the food.

The main advantage of using a cold smoker is that you can achieve a consistent smoke flavor every time. This is because the temperature in a cold smoker can be controlled more accurately than in a hot smoker.

Cold smokers can also be used to generate extra smoke when hot smoking or to add a smoke element to electric and gas grills.

Cold smoking vs hot smoking

When it comes to smoking food, you have two options: hot or cold. Hot smoking uses temperatures between 100-160°F, while cold smoking uses temperatures below 80°F.

Hot smoking is the traditional method of smoking food and is best used for meats like brisket, ribs, and ham. The low temperatures of cold smoking are perfect for fish, cheese, vegetables, and nuts, where you don’t want the food to be overcooked.

What are the best foods to cold smoke?

More fragile and mild-flavored foods benefit from cold smoking, such as:

  • Fish (salmon, trout, mackerel)
  • Cheese (gouda, cheddar, brie)
  • Vegetables (Brussels sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes)
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews)

What fuel do you use to cold smoke?

Generally, wood pellets or sawdust are used in a cold smoker. This is because they catch at a lower temperature than larger wood chunks.

an example of chips and pellets on a wooden board

Woods like alder, apple, beech, birch, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, oak, pecan, and plum all work well for cold smoking.

Cold smoking safety 

Despite the name, cold smoking is still setting fire to wood, so there are some safety precautions that it’s wise to observe.

  • Always use a grill or smoker that is designed for cold smoking, don’t put the smoker in your oven or really use it inside at all.
  • Make sure the chimney is clear and there’s no build-up of creosote or soot.
  • Keep an eye on the fire at all times, and never leave it unattended.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by, just in case.

Can you make your own smoke generator? 

Actually, yes, you can. A cold smoke generator can be as simple as a metal box with a few small holes drilled in the top and bottom. You can even roll wood pellets in a few layers of aluminum foil and poke some holes in it.

These DIY options are rarely as effective as a commercial smoker, but they can be a fun project for the weekend. And if you’re looking to save a little money, they might be just what you need.

Get smoking!

When it comes to cold smoking, there’s no substitute for a quality smoke generator. If you’re serious about your smoked meats, then you need to invest in one of these devices. With a quality smoke generator, you’ll be able to get the perfect smoke every time.

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