When it comes to cold smoking your favorite cheeses, cured meats, and even vegetables, simple and straightforward is best. If you’re willing to spend a few dollars, a quality cold smoke generator is a must-have BBQ accessory for any serious pitmaster who wants to cold smoke their food the right way.
There are only a few brands that actually offer a powered cold smoke generator, while many more options exist for finding a cold smoke adapter. In this edition of the best cold smoke generator reviews, our BBQ experts at Fire Food Chef consulted with one another and researched a ton of online user feedback.
These are currently your best options for either a cold smoke generator or adapter for your gas or charcoal grill.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? These are our Winners:
Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Cold Smoke Generator
Why is it better?
Last Updated: April 1, 2020
By William Clay: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding cold smoke generators available for those who are interested in cold smoking their food the right way. The best 7 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best cold smoke generator currently available on the market.
Best Cold Smoke Generator of 2020 - Top 7 Picks
Best Cold Smoke Generator Reviews of 2020 (Full)
Read the full review for each cold smoke generator below, as well as a summary of the pros and cons for each make.
1. Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna Cold Smoke Generator - TOP PICK OVERALL
- Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 5 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Stainless Steel, Aluminum Construction
- 8” inch Cylinder
- Threaded Outlet Tube
- Adjustable Air Pump
- Spring Baffle
- Shoot Across Tube with 3ft Silicone Hose
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Brush
Best Suited For
- Cold smoking or hot smoking
- Wood chunks and wood chips
The Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna is the granddaddy of all cold smoke generators. Built for use with any smoker, pellet grill, gas or charcoal grill, the Big Kahuna lets you convert your favorite grilling station into a cold smoking unit. And it smokes like a steam engine train!
All the necessary components are included to assemble the cold smoker and attach it to your smoker, but you may need to do some basic drilling when attaching the flexible tubing. It only requires drilling a 1-1/8” hole into the side of your application, as low as possible, and attaches using the provided washers and lock nuts.
You can get up to 45 minutes of burn time with each load of wood chips or chunks. A high output adjustable air pump provides an adequate air supply for burning larger wood chunks. For the best results you’ll want to use wood chunks or wood chips rather than sawdust.
The Big Kahuna is large enough to serve large cookouts or an intimate backyard patio gathering for Sunday football. Whether you want to cold smoke in volume for a large cookout, or you’re catering for a very small group of personal friends in your backyard, the Big Kahuna can handle the workload.
Made exclusively in the USA with heavy gauge, precision machined aluminum and stainless steel components, the Big Kahuna Cold Smoke Generator is durable and easy to clean as well. With regular cleaning, this is an investment that’s sure to last you several years.
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 4 x 12.13 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds
- Smoke Chief Hanger
- 110VAC/12VDC Power Adapter
- Clean-out Tool
- 8oz Measuring Jar
- Instruction/recipe Book Included
Since the late 1960’s Smokehouse has been expanding on their line of BBQ grilling applications, smokers, and accessories. Among their many products, the Smokehouse 9500-000-0000 is relatively new, and with a few minor improvements could easily be a contender for the best cold smoke generator overall.
Smoke Chief’s powered cold smoke generator design can pump smoke and smoke your foods longer and at much lower temperatures than a grill or smoker can achieve. With one cup of BBQ pellets, you can get up to 3 hours of smoke, which even beats the 45 minutes of smoke time per cup of wood chips you get with the Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna.
The Smoke Chief 9500-000-0000 is designed for use with gas grills, pellet grills, charcoal grills, smokers and numerous other outdoor cooking applications. Set up is fairly straightforward thanks to the power adapter, but transferring smoke from the unit to your application is another matter.
While the setup works for many types of grills, there’s no permanent pipe inlet fixture for attaching to your grill, smoker, or Green Egg, for example. Since the smoke tube is relatively short, it builds up creosote very quickly over the course of an hour, which can be dangerous and unhealthy.
There’s no doubt the Smoke Chief can generate tons of smoke for hours, but the lack of a pipe fitting and tubing makes the design less efficient at actually smoking your food. With a more thoughtful design, the Smoke Chief could easily become the best cold smoker out there, but not yet.
Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches
- Weight: 12.2 Ounces
- Removable Wood Chip Tray
- Detachable Smoke Tube
Let’s face it, not everyone is a grilling and smoked meat nut. The previous picks are for heavy duty grilling lovers, but what if you just want to cold smoke smaller portions of food without the expense of a heavy duty cold smoke generator?
Well if you’re looking for a hassle free way to enjoy smoked cheeses, fruits, and meal sized portions of meat, the Wancle Smoking Gun should suit you perfectly.
How The Wancle Smoking Gun Works
- Place your food ingredients into a sealable container, leaving a small space for the smoking gun house.
- Place wood chips into the wood chip tray, press the power switch to turn ON the smoker.
- Ignite the wood chips with a handheld lighter until the wood begins to burn
- The smoke will be gradually drawn into the sealable container where the food absorbs the aroma.
As you can see, it’s a simple design that can actually be used indoors to smoke just about anything safely and quickly. The wood chip tray removes easily for cleaning but the wire mesh is a bit wide spaced, causing some of the chips to fall through.
For such a small device (this thing fits in the palm of your hand) the internal fan pumps out a decent volume of thick smoke. Although there aren’t any accessories included like a cover, batteries, or wood chips, the quality and consistency of the smoke more than makes up for it.
ENJOY READING: The Secret To Cold Smoking: A Hand Guide For Beginners
- Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.4 x 5.9 inches
- Weight: 6.4 Pounds
- Cold Smoker Body (11.5” inch Cylinder)
- Threaded Outlet Tube
- Shoot Across Tube with 3ft Hose (silicone)
- Adjustable Air Pump
- Spring Baffle
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Brush Included
Who’s your daddy? Smoke Daddy! Family owned and operated, Smoke Daddy creates grilling applications for grill lovers. The Smoke Daddy Magnum PIG is ideal for smokers six cubic feet and larger, with all the same great features of the Big Kahuna.
Designed for overnight unattended smoking, larger barbecues and smokehouses, the Smoke Daddy Magnum P.IG. does require some technical skill to install, but it’s totally worth it and can be adapted to just about any grill application, including a kamado egg.
Like the Big Kahuna, the Magnum P.I.G. is made from heavy gauge SCH 40 6061 precision machined aluminum. To attach it only requires drilling a 1-1/8” hole into the side of your application, as low as possible, and attaches using the provided washers and lock nuts. On a full load of wood chips you can get up to 2.5 hours of consistent smoke.
The smoke outlet tube is positioned above the fuel source to prevent clogging, with a removable end cap for easy lighting the wood chips with a torch blower. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can maintain smoking temperatures under 100 degrees for the perfect balance of flavor and aroma with the Magnum PIG.
- Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 9 inches
- Weight: 14.8 pounds
For those of you with technical know-how and a love for DIY projects, you need to head straight for the Bradley Smoker BTSG1 990056 Generator With Adapter.
Featuring the same design as the generator used in their premium line of Bradley Original and Digital Smokers, this cold smoke generator also includes a stainless steel adapter, allowing you to easily convert any DIY structure into your very own smoker.
If you already own a Masterbuilt, Bradley, Traeger, Camp Chef, Weber or other brand of grilling appliance, this durable and efficient cold smoke generator attaches easily for hours of controlled, low temperature smoking. Even if you’ve constructed your own DIY smoker, you can attach it fairly easily for cold smoking in any season, hot or cold.
Thoughtfully engineered and designed, the Bradley BTSG1 eliminates the need to set up a burner. You also don’t have to closely monitor it for smoke and temperature because once you light the wood chips or pellets, they burn for hours.
A blueprint to build your own smokehouse is also included with the generator.
(Electric Food and Drink Cocktail Smoker)
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.3 x 3.2 inches
- Weight: 1.75 Pounds
Ideally suited for indoor or outdoor use, the MITBAK Handheld Cold Smoking Gun is a handy alternative to a powered cold smoke generator. Like the Wancle Cold Smoking Gun, this is a handheld, portable gun you can use indoors to quickly infuse small portions of meat, cheese, beans, fruit, or vegetables with savory, smoky flavor.
For almost a third of the price of most powered cold smoke generators, the MITBAK offers you controlled smoke that can be generated quickly to add a subtle layer of nuanced flavoring to any recipe. Beef, Fish, Chicken, Turkey, ice cream, cheese, cocktail drinks, fruits - the possibilities are limitless.
While the MITBAK isn’t as powerful or high capacity as the other top picks in our review, it really doesn’t need to be. Assembly is easy to do and cleaning it is much less time consuming due to its Compact size.
Wood chips are included, as well as a long-lasting, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
- Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
Affordably priced and compact the Mazonia Portable Infusion Smoker Gun is another great option for cold smoking a wide variety of meat, cheese, cocktail drinks, Sous Vide recipes, and even desserts!
Although it’s a handheld unit, the design is not very ergonomic. That being said, it makes a great smoking tool for any beginner who doesn’t want to invest heavily into a powered cold smoke generator just yet.
Designed for use with real wood chips, this is the perfect alternative to smoking on your grill without all the hassle, mess and cleanup to worry about. There is no heat source, just a fan and a dome connected by a tube so it’s very lightweight.
With the Mazonia Portable Infusion Smoker Gun in your kitchen, you can have fun exploring smoking different recipes as well as different varieties of wood. The trick to using the Mazonia is you have to light the chips using a secondary lighter. The device is essentially a very compact little vacuum that sucks the flame towards the chips so they ignite quickly and smolder.
What Is A Cold Smoke Adapter?
Very simply put, a cold smoke adapter allows you to modify or ‘adapt’ any standard smoker for the purpose of cold smoking. Different smoker brands design and manufacture cold smoke adapters for use specifically with their own line of pellet grills or electric smokers. Bradley, for instance, offers a cold smoke adapter for their electric smokers.
Many die-hard pitmasters and BBQ pros choose to make their own DIY cold smoke generator . If you have any experience with tools and the time, there are affordable ways to make your own with a few simple household supplies.
How To Build Your Own Cold Smoker
How To Use A Cold Smoke Generator
A cold smoke generator allows you to smoke food that is cooked or even raw, without heat. Unlike hot smoking, humidity is the enemy of the cold smoking technique.
Smoking temperatures are typically much lower than your average cooking temperature . To successfully cold smoke, the ambient temperature should be as low as possible. Try cold smoking on cool evenings, in early spring, fall or winter for the best results.
Tips For Choosing A Cold Smoke Generator
- Food is always isolated from the heat source (ie burner) so that it doesn’t overcook or burn. Cheeses, cured meats, fish, poultry, and even vegetables can all be cold smoked without being cooked .
- The cold smoke generator you choose should allow for easy connection to your smoker or grill. Additional drilling should not be needed.
- Ventilation is needed to reduce humidity so that the smoke that enters the food chamber is cooler.
- A powered cold smoke generator includes an air pump for regulating the flow of smoke into the chamber.
- Passive cold smoke generators can be used on any charcoal or gas grill to keep food isolated from heat while absorbing smoke and flavor from smoldering wood. They are the most straightforward, easy to use and clean.
- Cold smoking is a very time consuming process that can stretch over several hours and even days.
- Pellets or wood chips need to smoulder for several hours. Sawdust can also be used.
- Ash produced by the smoldering wood should be kept separate from the food and easy to remove.
Can You Cold Smoke With An Electric Smoker?
Yes! You can adapt your electric smoker for cold smoking with a cold smoke adapter kit, or a powered cold smoke generator.
To adapt a smoker or your grill for cold smoking, you need a separate smoke box for holding the cured meat, cheese, fish, or other food. You also need a means of transferring the smoke from the smoker to the smoke box. This is usually done by means of a pipe or flexible tubing.
A cold smoke adapter is considered a BBQ accessory. If you already own an electric smoker by Masterbuilt, Camp Chef, Bradley, Weber, for example, a cold smoke adapter or cold smoke generator kit may already exist that’s perfectly designed for your model.
Best Wood For Cold Smoking
Choosing the right type of wood will improve the taste and aroma of your cheese, salmon, vegetables, or cured meat .
- Sawdust: Great option for cold smoking over several hours but can become too moist if ambient conditions are not right.
- Wood Shavings: Burns and smolders evenly for several hours. You should always use 100% natural hardwood as opposed to soft wood for smoking.
- Wood Pellets: Burn slowly and efficiently to produce a clean smoke for hours. Pellets can also be found in different flavors (alder, cherry, hickory, mesquite, etc)
- Wood Chips: Not ideal for producing a slow, burning smolder because they are dense, have a larger surface area, and absorb moisture more easily than shavings or sawdust. Use different flavors of wood to enhance the aroma and taste of your cold smoked recipe.
Producing a healthy, clean smoke should be your aim whether you’re cold smoking or hot smoking. The right balance of moisture, dryness and heat is necessary to create a consistent smolder over several hours.
7 Delicious Wood Varieties For Cold Smoking
- Alder Wood - perfect for seafood, pork, poultry and game birds
- Apple Wood - use with pork, beef, poultry, game birds and lamb for a subtle, yet sweet flavoring undertone to your cold smoked food
- Cherry Wood - light and sweet, but tart, works well with game birds, venison, some sauces
- Pecan Wood - best suited for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, duck and turkey.
- Oak Wood - strong flavoring for beef, pork, but mix it with another wood variety for a balanced flavor (oak and applewood for example)
- Hickory Wood - robust flavoring for pork, ribs, beef, veal, chicken, some seafood and cheeses.
- Maple Wood - adds zest to vegetables, cheeses, poultry and small game birds. You can also pair it with other stronger woods or fruity woods like apple or peach.
Whether you prefer smoking your own cheeses, curing delicious meats, or experimenting with different varieties of wood, a cold smoke generator will give you new options to explore. You can enjoy your favorite electric smoker all year, or fire up your charcoal grill in cold weather for delicious smoked recipes of your own making.
Quality options are available for passive or powered cold smoke generators, so research each brand carefully before investing. User reviews are a great way to get insights into the product and the company before you shell out precious dollars.
And of course, the BBQ experts here at Fire Food Chef are always on the hunt for the best BBQ grills and accessories. More reviews to come!