Miss Betsy's Cold Smoke Generator

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Introduction: Miss Betsy's Cold Smoke Generator

Fall is already here, the days are cool and unlikely to push the thermometer over 70F, which means perfect weather to make bacon!
Last time I made bacon I used a pretty complicated arrangement of a stove and stove pipes to cool the smoke and guide it into my smoke chamber; this time I made myself a small and easy to maintain "Cold Smoke Generator".

Materials needed:
16/14 oz. can
36 oz. coffee can
#6 metal screws
8" piece of 3/8" iron pipe
Several brass and copper fittings and pipe (get your idea from the pictures)
1/4" O.D. plastic hose
Some kind of feet (I used 3 shelf brackets) Make sure the apparatus doesn't tip over and set your house on fire!
An old aquarium air pump. (Even a new one isn't too expensive ~ $20).
Wood pellets or Hardwood! saw dust to fire the thing up.

Tools you should have and which will make completion of this project a lot easier -_^

Drill / Drill-stand
Assorted drills
Screwdrivers
Pliers
Hack- Jigsaw
Metal file

Step 1: Main Parts

I decided to use a 16oz. can as burner chamber and a coffee can as reservoir for the wood pellets. Should be available in every household.

Step 2: Attaching the Burner

Put the smaller can centered in the middle of the bottom of the coffee can and mark with a pen. I divided the circle in 8 pie shaped pieces and drilled a hole in the middle of this circle. With the help of a jigsaw I cut along the lines so that I could connect these 2 cans. Bend the sheet metal up, set the smaller can on top and use metal screws to secure it.

Step 3: Preparing the Venturi Tube

In my parts drawer I found this 8" piece of 3/8" galvanized iron pipe. With the help of a drill and a file I made a slit roughly in the middle. The plastic hose, coming from the aquarium air pump, was attached with some connectors and brass fittings. You will have to play around a bit depending on what you find.

Step 4: Preparing the Burner

In order to make the burner work, you will have to drill 3 holes; 2 to push the venturi pipe through, and 1 to ignite the hardwood pellets and provide oxygen for the embers. I used a 9/16" drill which is about the right size for the 3/8" pipe to fit through snug.

Step 5: Assembling the Cold Smoke Generator

I had 3 shelf brackets at hand to use as feet which works great but I am sure there are plenty other ways to stabilize the smoke generator. Just make sure you don't set your house or garage on fire!
In the pictures you see a prototype where I used a drain strainer as bottom for the burner. I found out that this didn't work so well so I made the version with the 3 holes in the burner. This latest version works at least 2 hours  without maintenance which is sufficient.

Step 6: Trial Run

The cold smoker doesn't need much wood pellets to run and produce sufficient smoke. What you see is plenty for at least 8 hours of operation which will soon produce some fantastic bacon. (I will tell you about that in a separate instructable!)
Watch a short video of the smoker in action:

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42 Comments

Any idea as to the amount of air the pump is putting out? I'm using a pump for a 20gal aquarium and it doesn't seem to produce/pump enough air to keep the smolder going.

Sorry I don't :/ - the pump was an old 1 that came with my 55gal tank

OK, I am new to smoking and really only need to smoke some ricotta since I cannot buy ricotta affumicata (smoked ricotta) in the USA. My question is, where do you place the item you are smoking? Inside the large can? I really would like to make this because I live in an apartment and it looks small enough for what I need to use it for. Also, can someone make a suggestion for an alternate pipe since the galvanized pipe can give off toxic fumes?

I'm afraid I have to disappoint you :( What you see here is just a "Smoke-generator". For smoking cheese or meat you need a "Smoke-chamber" as you can see here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Miss-Betsys-Excellent-Bacon/ - unfortunately I doubt that you will fit that in your apartment. You might find the right thing by looking around here on Instructables. A word of caution though, smoke might contain toxic particles!

any cheap grill with lid would serve well for a smoke chamber...heck even a zip-lock bag would work to cold smoke cheese and such.

Black iron, or gas pipe, available at most hardware's and,.. I got it at LOWES....It comes in precut sizes....

I have been considering smoking things for a while now, but never got very far. Your generator looks simple enough, although I have yet to come across a coffee can that size.

Gallon paint can , ask at store for an empty one, not used..???

lowe's and the home despot both sell new, empty quart and gallon sized paint cans and lids.

As I found out, it is not really necessary to use such a big can as a reservoir, as the smoker doesn't use very much pellets / sawdust. In need, I am sure, a neighbor or colleague at work could help out with a coffee can.
In any case, good luck!