DIY Cold Smoker for Meat

Updated February 21, 2017

Bacon is arguably the most popular smoked meat in the world, and with good reason---it's delicious. You can make it and other smoked meats at home by using a meat smoker. You can also make a cold smoker for meat by yourself without a terrible amount of effort. Soon, all the delicious smoked meats you ever dreamed of can be yours.


You want to smoke the meat, not cook it. When that's the case, you need a cold smoker---which can be a challenge, since the smoke needs to come from something that's on fire. Cold smoked meats should be below 37.8 degrees Celsius in order to most readily absorb the smoky flavour you're giving them.

Hot Smoker

Smoke comes from fire, so what you'll really need to do is to have two smokers that are connected. In your hot smoker, you'll light a fire using whatever fuel you want to use to impart certain flavour characteristics to your meat. The smoke will then need to travel through a tube to get to where you're holding the meat for smoking. You can use a commercial hot smoker for this process. You can also modify a charcoal grill if you're willing to cut yours up for a sacrifice to the smoked meat gods.


Choose something that's heat resistant---remember, one end of your ducting is going to be awfully close to your heat source. If you choose metal, be certain that it's nonreactive and lead-free. Make sure to seal around the outside of both ends of the ductwork once you've connected it between your cold and hot smokers. You don't want any of that lovely smoke escaping into the outside world, do you? You want it going to your cold smoker and giving your meat delicious flavour.

Cold Smoker

Your cold smoker can be anything you don't mind permanently imbuing with the odour of smoked meats. Since it's going to be cold, heat resistance isn't a major concern here. However, whatever you choose, you'll need to cut a hole in it to bring the ductwork inside that will connect your cold smoker to your hot smoker. You'll also want some sort of rack inside, on which you can place the meat you're smoking. This way, the smoke will surround and permeate as much surface area of the meat as it can. You could even use plastic for this part of the process, since the meat will be cold. To make the area even colder, you might consider placing some ice in the bottom of your cold smoker, or resting your cold smoker in an ice bath. The colder your meat is, the more smoke flavour it will retain. If you smoke it below 5 degrees Celsius, you can smoke it for a longer period of time, too---since you'll be observing good food safety standards and practices.

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About the Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.