cold smoking

How Do Cold Smoke Generators Work? [EXPLAINED]

Cold smoking provides an excellent opportunity to impart the delicious smoky flavors from your favorite wood into your food. To make cold smoking effective and rewarding, you should invest in the best cold smoke generator. But how does a cold smoke generator work?

The objective of a cold smoker is to produce the smoke you use to cold-smoke your cured food. When using a cold smoker, you need to fill it with wood dust and light, and once the wood dust starts to burn, put it in your grill. After that, you can put your food on the grill and begin cold smoking for as long as you deem necessary.

Selecting your wood is essential to smoking because if you get it wrong, you will not impart the desired flavor. Picking the most appropriate wood depends on your taste and preferences and the food you are cooking. However, oak, whisky oak, beech, and maple are some of the best wood to try.

Also Read: What is the best wood to smoke a Brisket? (Find Out Here

What is the Purpose of Cold Smoke?

Cold-smoked foods are raw foods cured before undergoing the cold-smoking process. Since cold smoking occurs within the temperature danger zone, the curing process is meant to remove the moisture that may serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Additionally, the smoke has a preservative impact on the food.

Generally, the main objective of cold smoking is to preserve the food while at the same time imparting a unique flavor to it. The main two stages of cold smoking include the following;

  1. Taking the meat through a curing process to extract moisture and hence, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.
  2. Exposing the cured food to smoke with distinctive flavor with objectives of imparting a unique flavor to the food and also preserving it.

While cold smoking comes with numerous benefits, it is a delicate process that requires you to handle it with great caution. The trick to effective cold smoking is using a cold smoke generator that allows you to keep the food in an unheated chamber and pump the smoke to the food.

Also Read: Smoke Tube for Pellet Grill – (DO YOU NEED ONE?)

What is the Difference Between Cold Smoke and Hot Smoke?

You must have tried smoking your food if you are a barbecue enthusiast. Although cold and hot smoking involves using wood chips to smoke the food, they have differences.

Hot smoking cooks the food while imparting a delicious smoky flavor. On the other hand, cold smoking does not cook the food but imparts it with a smoky flavor and enhances its preservation.

Here are the other differences between hot smoking and cold smoking.

Keeping it Cold

In cold smoking, the food is kept in a chamber, and smoke is pumped into the chamber with the help of a cold smoke generator or similar devices. The chamber in which the food is kept is set at a temperature of 77-85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On the other hand, hot smoking entails cooking food at 225 degrees Fahrenheit and above. At this temperature, the food is easily cooked.

Cooking Duration

Cold smoking is a slow process that can take up to several days. Although some foods may require you to smoke them for 12-48 hours, sometimes you need to refrigerate your food when you stop the cold to prevent them from going bad. 

On the other hand, hot smoking is a faster process that does not take as long as cold smoking.


When it comes to cold smoking, the food is at risk of going bad because the smoking takes place in the temperature danger zone. You must take the food through a curing process to prevent it from going bad. Hot smoking does not require going through the curing process because it is executed at a higher temperature and ensures that food is cooked to the desired level of doneness.

How Long Should I Cold Smoke?

The key to perfect cold smoking is to ensure that you take the food through a curing process to ensure that it does not go bad as you are going to smoke it under the temperature danger zone for a long time.

Also Read: How To Smoke Salt: [WHEN AND WHY YOU NEED TO?]

Generally, the cold smoking duration is 12-48 hours, depending on the type of food and the objectives that you want to achieve. If you have to cold smoke for several days, ensure that you refrigerate your food if you stop to continue to smoke the following day.

The Principles of Cold Smoking

Even though cold smoking has its benefits, such as imparting a smoky flavor to the food, it has its challenges. Therefore, once you decide that you want to cold-smoke your food, you need to ensure that you get it right to save yourself from poisoning. Always consider the following principles of cold smoking for the best results.

  • Always invest in the quality meat
  • Make sure that you have a refrigerator on standby in case you may want to use it
  • Choose the right wood that will not overpower your meat but complement it instead
  • Invest in a reliable smoke generator device for the best results
  • Before you start smoking, ensure that you cure the food

How Long Does a Cold Smoke Generator Last?

A cold smoke generator is an essential tool when it comes to cold smoking as it is the one that produces smoke for cold smoking. Therefore, whenever you think of getting into cold smoking, you should ensure that you invest in the best cold smoke generator.

Most cold smoking generators can last for 2 hours. However, you can find a super high-quality generator lasting up to 10 hours. In addition to the run time, there are numerous other factors that you should consider to get the best smoke generator. Some of these factors include;

  • The type of fuel
  • Ease of Use
  • Compatibility


Cold smoking is an ideal way of imparting a delicious smoky flavor to the food while enhancing its preservability. If you want to try out cold smoking, start investing in the best cold smoke generator and learn the basic principles of cold smoking.

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