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 TUBE SMOKER – $20 – $35 Depending on length
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
SKip this one and go with the A-MAZE-N
DIY Cold Smoke Generators
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.
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.