Cold smoking is a popular way of preparing your meats that makes an interesting alternative to barbecuing. It doesn’t have to be meat - indeed, cold smoking fruits and vegetables also creates an exciting twist - but most cold smokers have meat as their main focus.
Cold smoking is primarily a method of preserving your meat to make it last longer without the need for refrigeration, but it can also give your food a unique flavor that you can’t achieve any other way.
Cold smoking differs from regular hot smoking in that the temperatures used are much cooler. With cold smoking, you must cure the meat first, both to remove moisture and prevent bacteria from growing on the surface.
After this stage is complete, the meat is cooked in smoke to keep the cure locked in and introduce that appealing smoky flavor. You must be careful not to overheat the smoke, as you could end up fully cooking the meat and ruining the effect.
On the other hand, hot smoking uses much higher temperatures that can cook the meat more easily. You do not need to cure the meat beforehand with this method, because the heat kills all the harmful bacteria that might be on it.
Nevertheless, you will probably find that most hot smoked foods are cured or marinated anyway, because people enjoy the taste.
Cold smoking takes far longer than hot smoking, mainly due to the temperature differences detailed above. This means that it is particularly important to find a cold smoker that is right for you, and that will complete the whole process with minimal fuss.
Cold smokers are available at different price points, so it can be tricky to figure out which one you should get. Luckily, we’ve done our research and compiled a list of our 5 favorite models, ranging in price from low to high - at least one of them will suit your personal budget.
If you have a limited budget available to you, it is likely you’ll be looking for a smaller, more basic model. This handheld cold smoking gun may fit that description, but it can certainly hold its own among the bigger players in the market.
Measuring only 6.4 x 2.2 x 4.9 inches in size, the diminutive device can still cold smoke any foods with ease, and makes minimal noise while doing so. It weighs just ⅔ of a pound, so you can hold it for long periods of smoking without your arm getting tired.
The Flavor Blaster is made from aluminum and ABS plastic, giving it a strong, durable base that will not rust, whatever you subject it to. You can detach the smoke cleaner from the rest of the smoking gun, which allows you to clean it easily between uses.
The heavy-duty metal fan attachment is resistant to heat, so won’t melt and can withstand high smoke temperatures without any impact on its functionality.
In just a few minutes, you can introduce a delicious smoky flavor to your food that will make it taste as if it’s been cooking for ages. If you wish, you can even double smoke food items to intensify the smokiness.
This cold smoker is suitable for all kinds of foods and drinks, from meats and vegetables, to desserts and cocktails. It comes with ½ an ounce of apple wood chips, but you can also use things like spices, herbs and dried flowers to create your fuel - these will add unique flavors of their own.
Try using hickory chips rather than the apple ones to bring a smoky bacon flavor to your meats.Pros
One of the more affordable options available, the Meva smoker is a great option to suit any budget. It doesn’t come with as many accessories as some of the others, but it includes all the essentials to cold smoke your favorite foods: dome cover, cup lid cover, and 1 jar of apple wood chips.
The equipment is simple to use, so you will get the hang of it quickly - no gimmicks or complex setup instructions.
The single operating button can deliver 2 different smoke levels, so you can choose the speed and intensity at which your foods are smoked.
Whether you just want to add a light smokiness or create a full smoky flavor, you can achieve both of these results with the same device. The flexible hose and nozzle make this cold smoker user-friendly and contribute to its high level of practicality.
In terms of dimensions, the Meva Smoker measures roughly 13 x 11 x 6 inches and weighs in at less than 3 pounds. This means that it can fit easily into whatever space you have available, as well as being super portable to bring with you if you want to take it to a dinner party.
It was first manufactured in 2018 and has been selling rapidly ever since, without the need for design updates, so get your hands on one while you can!
This cold smoker comes with a host of accessories for all your smoking needs - there are 14 separate pieces, including a smoking gun, smoking lid and desk lid, flexible hose, wood chips (in 7 flavors!), and more!
There is also a cleaning brush, so you can keep your smoker in great condition between uses. Out of all the cold smokers we have tried, this one represents the best value for money in terms of what it is included, due to the sheer amount of extras included.
You can use your Home Smoker with many different foods, so you can get creative with your smoking. Of course, meat is always a popular choice, but the brand recommends trying fish, cheese and pasta as well.
Or, if you want something a bit different, why not try a cool cocktail using freshly smoked ingredients? This smoker is extremely versatile and will add a great, smoky flavor to any food or drink.
One of the main characteristics of the Homia Smoker is its portability. You can take it anywhere with you and smoke your food with minimal fuss and maximal speed. It is not bulky, so it won't take up a lot of space in your kitchen.
There are also two smoking speeds to choose from, depending on whether you want a moderate or high level of smoke. The result is that your foods will absorb an intense smoky flavor, perfect for any occasion.
This is a dual-function smoker that works equally well for hot or cold smoking - buying it will save you forking out for two individual products, so you can cater to all of your smoking needs.
The accompanying grill adapter works with ceramic grills such as the Big Green Egg, letting you combine the appliances with ease. There is also an adjustable air pump, which allows you to control the air flow, for regulating smoke output or lighting the smoker in the first place.
The Big Kahuna smoker is made from dense aluminum that has been machined to precise specifications. It is therefore firmly sealed, making it incredibly durable so you know it will last you a long time.
Of course, such materials have to be looked after properly to maintain their quality - even this is made easier with the stainless steel cleaning brush included in the package! You can scrub away any tough stains, keeping it looking fresh and ready for anything.
Another possibility with this particular smoker is smoking food overnight. It has been designed so that you can leave it on unattended while you sleep, and don’t have to worry about anything bad happening.
This makes it ideal for smokehouses, which trade on hot and cold smoked foods; it is also great for anyone who has a serious passion for smoking meat, and who will get lots of enjoyment out of it.
The price is among the more expensive cold smokers out there, so you should be sure about your investment before purchasing.
Right at the top of our price scale is this hefty smoker that really means business. Its 19 x 22 x 34 inch measurements give it an actual cooking area of 4 x 11 x 13 inches (572 square inches), so you can cold smoke a range of foods at the same time.
There are 4 individual racks included, allowing you to separate your different food items as they smoke. This means that you can cater for party sizes both large and small.
The interior of the smoker is made from stainless steel, so it’s super easy to clean and maintain. Plus, it won’t rust, so you don’t need to worry about water contact. The exterior is powder epoxy, a highly durable material for appliances, and the rest of the structure is double-walled carbon steel.
All these materials work together to create an extremely sturdy construction that will last a long time, making it a sound investment if you can afford the initial purchase.
Another excellent feature is the proficient smoke diffuser system, which gets rid of old smoke and keeps fresh smoke streaming throughout the chamber.
This eliminates the annoying substance known as ‘black rain’, so there’s no risk of it dripping onto your food and ruining it. Such attention to detail is what sets Bradley Smoker apart from its rival brands, ensuring its continued success in the cold smoker market.
It can be difficult to know what you’re looking for when buying your first cold smoker - other than the price, what else should you be considering when making your decision? Cold smokers come in various shapes and sizes, with a range of different functions and features.
There are two types of cold smoker: electric and manual. Electric smokers are fan-assisted, which means that it is easier to create a steady stream of smoke. Manual smokers require you to light them by hand, but they do work in conjunction with other smokers or grills that you already have.
If you need a more portable machine that can be supported by different containers, an electric smoker is your best bet. You can mount electric smokers onto any container you have in place, so it doesn’t necessarily have to fit inside to use it.
If you would prefer to have minimal fuss during long periods of cooking, opt for a manual smoker - they can go for over eight hours without refueling, while electric ones can only manage a few hours of smoke at a time.
All cold smokers are fueled by wood, but it comes in various forms depending on both your preference and your smoker type. For electric smokers, it is better to use fine shavings or sawdust, while manual smokers should take small chips or pellets.
All of these options are readily available to buy both online and in stores, but you may find it easier to store one type over the others. For example, wood shavings are more compact, while wood chips can take up room with parts that stick out.
While cold smokers are mainly used to prepare meats, they are also versatile and can be used for many different purposes. Here is a selection of foods you can cold smoke and why they are great to try:
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