Started Smoking… Meat!

Home Made Cold Smoker
Home Made Cold Smoker

So, yeah… Lately I took on a new habit. Smoking… meat, you silly! The need came as I was prepping some Hungarian Gyulai Sausage (post will follow soon) that needed about 8 hours of cold smoke, at 90 F degrees maximum. I needed a simple device that would house the meat, and where smoke went in then smoke went out. Here’s how I did it!

The Smoke Chamber

I started by looking for a galvanized metal trash can, which I found at Menards. Try getting the largest ones they carry. Then all I had to think of is was a way to get the smoke in and out of the thing.

Galvanized Trash Can

I cut two holes on opposite sides of the trash can — on one almost at the bottom for the smoke inlet and the other one close to the top for the exhaust. The idea here is for the smoke to fill in the whole trashcan for an even smoking pattern.

Cutting the Hole

Next I bought two 4″ flanges — one straight for the smoke inlet and one 90 degree angle for the exhaust  — that I adapted and mounted into the holes I cut in the trashcan (I fastened them with screws). Also I used HVAC tape to seal the joint:

DSC_0986 DSC_0988 Flared Duct DSC_0990 Smoke Outlet Inner view Smoke inlet

Once I had that taken care of, it was time to add the four bolts that would hold the BBQ rack from where I’ll hang the goodies to smoke.


For the chimney I got about 15′ of aluminum duct and secured it using a ladder as it was too wobbly to be supported only by the 90 degree exhaust flange mounted on the top of my trashcan.

Smoke Outlet Adapter The Chimney

That was it for the smoke chamber.


The Smoke Generator

After deciding that I am not going to pay $50.00 (or more) for smoke generators, etc., and watching one of Alton Brown’s videos where he is cold-smoking a salmon in a cardboard box, I decided to use my existing Weber grill as the cold generator. All I needed was a Hot Plate, a small cast iron skillet, a 4″ to 3″ flange adapter and a 10′ extensible aluminum tubing and some hard wood for smoking.

I started out with preparing the adapter to fit over the vent in the Weber’s top using the same technique as earlier with the flanges in the smoke chamber.

Smoke Generator Adapter

Weber Cover Tweak

Then I simply placed the Hot Plate on the bottom of the grill and routed the cable through a small opening on the side of the grill. On went the skillet with the soaked hardwood chips.

Hot plate Wood chips ready to smolder

Next, I attached the extensible aluminum duct and fastened it with clamps on each end. I was so READY for smoking since I had some Gyulai sausage that I had just made! I also added a small 12v computer fan to the exhaust of the smoking chamber that will pull the smoke in a even flow.

For the first try I had to adjust the speed of the exhaust fan by using a 6v wall adapter that brought the speed down to a nice steady smoke flow. The temperature in the smoking chamber didn’t rise beyond 85 F degrees, which was great! Also I was smoking in 35 F weather so that might have also contributed to a low smoking chamber temperature.

This contraption makes a great way to smoke meat for curing all sorts of sausages, etc. Just made a batch of bacon – sublime! You cannot beat real smoke. Liquid smoke is an awful substitute you usually get on store bought bacon.


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20 thoughts on “Started Smoking… Meat!”

  • This is hilarious and creative! This is something Brian would do. You should see his home made HD T.V. antenna. Creative!

  • I am Serbian and one thing I miss about the old country is smoked meats, but the old way. I am in Southern California, and cannot do prolonged smoking, but I have to bookmark this post for future references – it looks like it would accomplish a lot, and a fridge might be useful for our not so wintery temps!

  • Dana! Thanks for the reply! Indeed there are! Just had another batch of bacon! Priceless and cannot be compared with the liquid smoked on you usually buy in stores.

  • Lana! Thanks for the comment! You could cold smoke if the temperature doesn’t rise above say 90 F. You might do it at night when the temperature is the lowest. See, I am in Chicago, and dream of high temps outside (right now we have 20 degrees!). Brrr. Thanks for the comment!

  • Are you at all worried about picking up nasty chemicals from the galvanized metals in the trash can and heating ducts?

  • Nice job! Just a couple of questions, if you have the time to answer. Do you really need the exhaust pipe as long as you have it? if so, why? Is the garbage can really big enough to make a good smoked fish or meat? Would it be better if the heat source were further away from the smoke box?

    thanks Gouthro

  • This looks like a fantastic set up there is nothing like home smoked food.
    I wonder if had you thought about incorporating a water tray?

  • This is just what I was looking for! I don’t have an old school locker to build Alton Brown’s cold smoker (but I loved that episode.) My brother smoked my kielbasa for me this year, but he has the BBQ-style with the side attachment for the smoking chamber, and it just got too hot to cold smoke the meat. Since it is charcoal-fired, the charcoal also added as much flavor to the meat as the apple wood did. The results were OK, but not perfect, and he went through a large bag of charcoal for every 20 lobs. of sausage, adding to the cost. The elecetric hotplate sounds like a much better solution, and won’t add any extra flavors to the kielbasa. Can’t wait to build it and try it out!!

  • This is exactly what I need.
    Iwill try it.
    Though I want to cold smoke Jamon, thus I need to fit a long pipe from the fire to where the Pork will be hanged. Do I need to pickle the meat beforehand?
    More info as to cool the smoke along the pipe wil be apreciated.
    Kind regards
    Andre` Holt

  • Foarte bun inventie. Tu esti destept. Nu pot sa fumez slanina cu aia. Zi buna. Dumnezeu sa te binecuvânteze.

  • My parents bought a smoker from Home Depot, just about the same size as yours. We all (kids) go over and smoke any and all meat…pretty often 🙂

  • hi. i have just built a cold smoker, and i would love to gain some tips on:

    1. how long to smoke salmon, for instance, after curing?
    2. do you soak your chips, first?

    david leonard

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