Cold Smoker

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Project by KelvinGrove posted 03-07-2013 04:15 PM 8896 views 20 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As I look at the projects on here I see examples of intricate carving, outstanding lathe work, wonderful joinery, fantastic finishing work and beautiful use of wood of every type. My first project on here has none of these. I selected this for two reasons. First, it is one of the few things I have done that I have taken any pictures of and, more importantly, it involves my two favorite things…saw dust and bacon!

So here is my cold smoker. We have used it to make our own bacon and to smoke cheese as well. It is not elegant but it is practical. And it makes my wife smile!

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

28 comments so far

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 3413 days

#1 posted 03-07-2013 04:36 PM

mmm nice… I could use one of these later this year…

Can you use any kind of wood for cold smoking?


View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 4471 days

#2 posted 03-07-2013 04:49 PM

Tim just a few questions.

In the cold smoke box, what is the temp while smoking?
What temp do you run your fire box at during cold smoking?
What type of wood did you use for the cold smoke box?

Thanks for posting!

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Elksniffer's profile


103 posts in 4686 days

#3 posted 03-07-2013 04:49 PM

Tim Great looking smoker. There is alot of volume there to fill. I’ve been a builder of projects that were aimed at utility for as long as I can remember and get great satisfaction using them. We put up alot of meat each year and it is a tradition passed down from my parents and grandparents. My smoker is a vintage 50’s all metal refrigerator that looks pretty humble compared to yours. What can you tell me about the heater or smoke generator?

View Lanaug's profile


188 posts in 3497 days

#4 posted 03-07-2013 04:53 PM

this is the kind of project I can really support and we need more of. Nice smoker box.

View KelvinGrove's profile


2063 posts in 3201 days

#5 posted 03-07-2013 05:11 PM

Thanks everyone, happy to share.

As for the wood, I use hickory. I selected that because I have two acres of it and get it for free. (Cheap, free and delivered yesterday are my three favorite flavors…those and bacon) The temp in the cold smoker is never more than about 10 degrees about ambient. By the time the smoke travels through the 20 feet of dryer vent tube it has cooled off. I try to run the fire box at about 250 since I am using it to hot smoke a turkey or Boston butt at the same time. (Hey, if I am going to fire this thing up I am going to smoke everything in sight!)

The box was just built from interior grade plywood. I would not use anything pressure treated because of the heavy metals used in the treatment. But since the box never gets hot nothing picks up any taste of pine. I hang the bacon on bamboo skewers

The process is simple. I connect 20 feet of dryer vent tube from an el’cheapo hot smoker (bought at that Orange place). As you can see, the meat hangs on skewers between the cross pieces. If we do cheese we have screens that slide in on the rails and the cheese just sits on the screens. We do cut the cheese down into 1/8th pound chunks and have found that rolling it in a little cracked pepper and sprinkling on some garlic powder is the bomb! (Hello? Homeland Security? I just said bomb on the internet!) But don’t use galvanized screen though! The zinc is not good for you.

To smoke a run of bacon takes about 20 lb of charcoal and two to three 5 gallon buckets of wood chips. I start on a Friday night by lighting the hot smoker and letting the starter fluid burn off. Then just load it up, light a cigar and wait. I check the fire about every 30 minutes and add wet chips as needed. For cheese it only takes a few hours. When you take it out it will feel wet. Let it air dry because wiping it off removes the flavor. Bacon on the other hand takes about 48 hours. A full run of bacon requires about 6 cigars ( I recommend CAO Gold double coronas) and a pint of whiskey.

Other questions, feel free to ask!

PS, the reason it is painted black is because on a 90 degree Georgia day with humidity below about 60% this thing can sit in the sun and get to about 160 degrees. Talk about a mega dehydrator! And at other times I can stick a heat lamp in it and do the same thing. And before anyone says anything, I’m not all that smart, I an just a cheapskate!

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3601 days

#6 posted 03-07-2013 05:40 PM

Have you tried it with salmon or a large trout? You will get something just as good to eat as bacon and cheese!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View harvey4804's profile


120 posts in 3970 days

#7 posted 03-07-2013 05:43 PM

That looks delicious!

-- Ryan, FRMR HMM165 - HMX1 01-10

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 3413 days

#8 posted 03-07-2013 07:09 PM

one pint of whiskey!!

I’m sure I’ll let the food smoke way more than 48 hours if I drink that :D


View NaFianna's profile


537 posts in 4315 days

#9 posted 03-07-2013 07:22 PM

That is a great setup. Well done

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4145 days

#10 posted 03-07-2013 07:29 PM

Cant get better Wood & Food
Looks similair to my meat drying cabinet
Might just try running smoke through it
Welcome to LJ’s


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View KelvinGrove's profile


2063 posts in 3201 days

#11 posted 03-07-2013 07:43 PM

Thanks NaFinna – is go bráth nó go dtiocfaidh an díle
ná feictear é arís ar lár.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

View CampD's profile


1833 posts in 4775 days

#12 posted 03-07-2013 07:47 PM

Mmmmmm Bacon!
and cheese!
and wood!

-- Doug...

View GerardoArg1's profile


1016 posts in 3282 days

#13 posted 03-07-2013 08:21 PM

Yeeeeaaaaa!!! Great work. I got hungry! Good combinations.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1530 posts in 5413 days

#14 posted 03-07-2013 09:52 PM

RetiredCoastie, I’ve heard that some folks use dry ice or liquid nitrogen to bring the temperature of the secondary chamber down below freezing. If one is concerned about food safety, that’s an option.

(I also think I remembered reading in Hervé This’s book “Molecular Gastronomy” that if you put a large static charge on metal racks, you could pull in the smoke flavor even harder, kinda like those ion air cleaners except pulling all the particles into the meat.)

Tim, thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been thinking about working out something like this for a while, it’s amazing how simple it looks once someone else has done it!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3295 days

#15 posted 03-07-2013 10:01 PM

First off, WELCOME to LJs. This is a great site, I’, sure you’ll love it. Secondly… “cold” and “smoke” never seemed to go together in my mind, but when I see this setup I realized “Why Not?”

Cool smoker! Me LIKEY!

And lastly, what part of Georgia? We lived for 11 years in Manchester (over on the Abalama side), Than back in the mid-80s we lived for a few years in Vidalia (yep, the onion place). And sometime in the next year we are moving back there to my father-in-law’s birthplace. A little tiny farmimg community named KITE. About 35 miles from Dublin (along the I-16 coridor)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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