How to Cold Smoke on a Weber – Cold Smokers Reviewed

Cold Smoking Cheese on a Weber

Cold Smoking Cheese on a Weber

Let’s get a few things straight about cold smoking. It’s not really “cold” – it’s just not hot. Cold smoking is a technique you use to apply smoke flavoring to foods without cooking or heating them. You can use cold smoking to smoke salmon, smoke homemade bacon, smoke salt, smoke nuts, and my favorite… smoke cheese.

You do NOT need a bunch of specialty equipment to cold smoke. You don’t need to build elaborate contraptions with cardboard boxes, coolers, clay pots, hot plates, ductwork, etc. You just need your trusty Weber kettle and some very affordable accessories or a bit of ingenuity.

Sawdust / Pellet Cold Smoke Generators

For most people, these affordable cold smokers are the perfect solution. They’ll turn your Weber grill or smokey mountain cooker into a cold smoker without any modifications. They’ll produce plenty of smoke, even for FULL loads. They’re easy to use, and there’s a ton of smoke wood varieties available in both pellet and sawdust form. No batteries, no wires – just a small fire and a bunch of perfectly sweet wispy smoke. They produce very minimal heat, barely enough to melt a piece of cheese when it’s placed directly over the smoke generator.

A-MAZE-N PELLET SMOKER$34.50 with a free pound of pellets!

A-MAZE-N Pellet/Dust Cold Smoker

A-MAZE-N Pellet/Dust Cold Smoker

By far the best maze smoker available. This 5×8″ cold smoke generator will produce a nice amount of smoke for about 11 hours (which is plenty long for most home applications.) I like to light both ends for more smoke, which lasts about 5 hours. The A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker has sturdy double walls to prevent the embers from burning through. It can use pellets OR sawdust. I’ve found that it works best with pellets. To light, hold a torch to one end for about 30 seconds. A lighter WILL work, but it will take more than a minute to get the flame going really well. Let the flames openly burn for about 10 minutes. This is important! If you don’t let it burn for 10 minutes, chances of the maze burning out is VERY high. After 10 minutes of burning, blow the flames out and let it sit for a few minutes to make sure the smoke keeps rolling. Place the maze on the charcoal grate of your Weber and put the food on the cooking grate like normal. If you’re smoking cheese, put a metal pan or something directly on top of the maze to help diffuse the tiny bit of heat those embers produce. For bacon, salt, nuts, etc – there’s no worry. I’ve used this product to smoke 25 pounds of bacon in a single session. This is a GREAT product!

A-MAZE-N TUBE SMOKER$20 – $35 Depending on length

A-MAZE-N Tube Cold Smoker

A-MAZE-N Tube Cold Smoker

From the same company who makes the pellet smoker (above) – this device is a tube made from the same material (metal with a bunch of holes.)
There’s a few key differences. This device comes in three different lengths. The 6″ will smoke for two hours, the 12″ will smoke for 4 hours, and the 18″ will smoke for 6 hours. The AMAZEN Tube smoker has a smaller footprint than the pellet maze. It would definitely be the better option for non kettle use. It produces more smoke than the regular pellet maze. The 18″ tube holds exactly the same amount of pellets as the 5×8″ maze – but only smokes for 6 hours compared to 11. The Pellet Tube doesn’t work with sawdust – so you’re stuck with pellets.
In my experience, the tube is easier to use for most situations, especially if you’re supplementing smoke in a gas grill or even with a load of charcoal for a hot smoke. However it’s not as flexible in options. You can only use pellets, and you always get the heavier smoke. With the maze you can light a single end and get the lighter smoke or light both ends for a heavier smoke.
If my wife were to only let me have one – I’d have the 18″ tube.

Pro-Q Cold Smoke Generator$35

Pro-Q Cold Smoker

Pro-Q Sawdust Maze

I’m going to be honest. This was my first cold smoke generator. I had a few good runs with it, but after about a year it didn’t function as well. It seems like a great design. It lights with a tea candle instead of a torch, which is super easy. It only uses sawdust, no pellets. It will burn for 12 hours. My first couple runs burned nice, but it became undependable. One run it would go out after 2 hours, the next run it would burn through the walls and all my dust would be gone in 4 hours. The walls are too flimsy to hold up.
SKip this one and go with the A-MAZE-N

DIY Cold Smoke Generators

soup can soldering iron cold smoker

Soup can soldering iron cold smoker

There’s lots of options here, especially if you’re handy. My favorite is the soup can soldering iron combo. Pick up a cheap soldering iron and modify an old soup to hold the tip of the iron into a pile of wood chips or wood pellets. You can simply stab the tip of the iron into the side of the can near the bottom and fill the can up with chips if you want, or you can get fancy with little support systems. Either way, some foil placed loosely over the chips or pellets will help prevent open flames from consuming all of your wood source. Check it every 30 to 40 minutes to make sure its still working. You’ll have to deal with the electrical cable, which will fit through the one touch vent without any issue.

Smoke Daddy, Smoke Pistol, and other high end cold smoke generators
Products like the Smoke Daddy are in a different league. Certainly overkill if you’re doing small batches in your kettle or even WSM. However if you’re cold smoking something every month, or if you have a GIANT smoker or even a custom smokehouse (or an old fridge) – these types of devices are perfect. I don’t have enough experience to tell you which is best – but after reading a few reviews it looks like the Smoke Daddy is a safe bet.

Cold Smoking on your Weber Charcoal Grill

If you’re smoking bacon or anything that isn’t sensitive to the minimal heat produced, simply place the cold smoke generator on the charcoal grate and place your food on the cooking grate. Keep your vents open to keep the generator going smoothly.

If you’re smoking cheese, it’s best to use a big tray of ice to prevent softening and melting. Use an aluminum chaffing tray, or a large flat pan on the cooking grate. I roll down the edges a bit and shape the pan to fit within the kettle. Fill it with ice and place another cooking grate directly on top. Place the blocks of cheese over the ice and smoke away.

If you’re smoking nuts or salt, use sheet pans and don’t worry about the heat. Just stir and mix the nuts every 30 minutes to get even heat and smoke.

To increase grate space, you can place a 2nd cooking grate upside down directly on top of the first. If you have the Cajun Bandit Stacker or a rotisserie ring you can use it to add height for up to 6 additional grates.

Cold Smoking on your Weber Smokey Mountain

The same techniques apply; however everything becomes easier (except for using the rotisserie ring.)
If you need a heat barrier, fill the water bowl with ice. You can extend the middle grate and the top grate, but the middle grate is more challenging. The top grate flipping trick still works on a WSM, but you’ll only have room for 2, possibly 3 levels.

If you’re using a 22″ WSM, be sure to light both ends of the MAZE to make sure you get enough smoke to fill that massive cavity.

Cold Smoking on a Weber Genesis, Spirit, or other gas grill

Place the smoke generator on the flavorizer bars and leave all the burners OFF. Place food or ice tray directly on the cooking grates.

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Cold Smoking by burning chips/pellets in your one-touch Gold ash bucket
Several members have come up with a rather ingenius method of cold smoking without ANY additional equipment. They simple place a few lit briquettes in their premium ash bucket and cover them with wood chips, chunks, or pellets. The smoke rises through the vents of the kettle. As clever as this is, I gotta go on the record advising against it. Given the vent openings on the bottom of a Weber are 20% or less of the total ash bucket area, and the fact that the ash ring itself is well ventilated and NOT tight fitting at all, more than 80% of the smoke from this method is going to blow away instead of entering your kettle. Furthermore, the heat and smoke will leave stains and soot on the exterior porcelain of your kettle. This method, as clever as it is, is inefficient, messy, and ineffective.

3 comments… add one
  • Jeff Link Reply

    When I purchased my A-maze-n Pellet smoker Todd told me about a trade in deal where I could get a slightly used one for 50% the price. People who wanted the tube smoker were trading in their maze ones. Personally, I like my maze smoker.

  • wekmoe Link Reply

    This is how a yurok indians do their salmon, but in their smoke house with lots of salmon.You can cold smoke in a weber kettle. I cut the salmon into half inch pieces and sprinkle kosher salt, brown sugar, and fresh cracked pepper to taste, just like you would a salmon that you would cook regular on the stove, or else it tastes too salty, sugary. No need for brine. Pat dry after 24 hours. Pellicle it up for a few hours. Make a 4×2 aluminum foil smoke tray. Leave the top open, cut small knife holes all around the tray. Put 4 lighter fluid soaked briquettes in the tray. Light it, but not in the bbq so you don’t heat the kettle. Wait till the briquettes are white. Put tray in kettle. Put soaked chips, non soaked chips, and lumped wood chunks, and mix those into the briquettes. Any wood you want will do, depending on the smoke flavor you want. Put on the side of the kettle for indirect smoking. Place grill with salmon on the other end. Put thermometer in bbq. It should stay under 90 degrees. Maybe 100 sometimes, but you want that towards the end anyway, but it will be cooler most of the time. Put more briquets, woods chips and chunks every couple hours as needed. The tray should be full at all times. Less if its getting too hot. Slow smoke 12-24 hours. You can leave it overnight, just put more wood before bed. It should smolder for 4 hours or so.. Then its done when sushi/flaky consistency in center of salmon. If too sushi like, put extra chips so temp rises to about 125-145. For half hour or so…. Cold smoked salmon…. Done.

  • paul Link Reply

    when smoking on a weber kettle you would put the lid on or off? or would that depend on how strong you wanted the flavour?

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