Miss Betsy's Cold Smoke Generator

Picture of 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
Hack- Jigsaw
Metal file

Step 1: Main Parts

Picture of 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.
MonicaP1212 days ago

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?

MissBetsy (author)  MonicaP1211 days ago

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: http://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!

BillD1718 days ago
cutshopguy2 years ago
Hi Miss B,
love your work. Just a question about how you fire up your wood, whether its hardwood pellets or wood chips or whatever, to produce the smoke? How do you get it to the smoke point and how do you maintain the temperature so as to continue producing smoke?
MissBetsy (author)  cutshopguy2 years ago
In front of the can is the firehole as described in the instructable. The hardwood pellets are ignited there with help of an blow torch. The aquarium pump is used to create a Venturi effect in the tube inside which means it sucks air (oxygen) in and keeps the ambers ambering and blow out the smoke on the other side in direction of the smoke chamber. Everything clear now?
How are the ashes removed?
MissBetsy (author)  texaskathyy6 months ago

Ashes fall through the bottom holes, can be cleaned out through the fire-hole or are removed when the fire goes out and the smoker is emptied and readied for a new run.

Do you need to add a grill Inside the coffee can to put you meet on it?

Would a baby formula tin/can be big enough?

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.
MissBetsy (author)  Dominic Bender2 years ago
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!
GregS3 MissBetsy12 months ago

We just bought a house and inherited several dozen gallon sized paint cans. Properly cleaned, one of those should work as well as a coffee can

also bewary of the wood pellets cuase many of them use toxic binders.
streetrod52 years ago
Very well constructed smoker - it looks professional. I was thinking about making Alton Brown's bacon smoker, but although easier, it takes up more room. Plus, this one looks cool.
MissBetsy (author)  streetrod52 years ago
I looked up "Alton Brown's Smoker" and that is a hot smoker whereas my smoker is a cold smoker, two completely different philosophies!
MissBetsy, you are so right; I had misread AB's instructions. What I really wanted was a COLD smoker. So, really, you've saved my bacon!
swalker32 years ago
Hi Betsy thanks for a great instructable. I have a question though, approximately how far inside the larger tube of the venturi tube does the small tube need to go? I'm guessing just past the slit from the way you have arranged the parts in the second picture?
MissBetsy (author)  swalker32 years ago
Yes that is about right. It's a try-and-error- thing and you will see at which position it will produce the most smoke when you do a trial run. Mark this position then because you might have to take the element apart for cleaning purposes.
Ttalos2 years ago
I think this is a fantastic idea and plan on building one myself. I just though I would throw out a caution about using the galvanized pipe. Since the pipe will get hot it will give off some Zn fumes. This can be toxic if too much is inhaled or added to your food. If you can use another metal I would suggest it. If not you can remove the Zn and use the pipe safely.
Looks like a good system to me. I've been looking at making a cold smoker for quite some time. I have a couple of old Dishwashers and a refrigerator, which might make a useful smokebox. As yet I hadn't designed a smoke generator, though I may try to make an electric heater to burn the wood chips. The airpump is a new thing, I might even be able to re-use the refrigerator compressor for this.
MissBetsy (author)  Nemesis2010772 years ago
I was thinking myself of using a refrigerator as smokebox. That way I could even in summer keep the contents safely cool. A dishwasher might work just as well.
To your idea with the electric heater: I tried this last time I made Speck. I had the heater right in the smokebox which made the contents way to hot and then the whole thing started to burn which wasn't so good either. So be careful if you go this way!
t.rohner2 years ago
I think this generator is very nice, but a bit complicated.

I wanted to build a smoke generator, that doesn't generate much heat.
The other advantage was a very economic wood dust usage.
I was looking for building material, but didn't get lucky.
So i ordered this one.
I have no affiliations with them, but it smokes for 10 hours with just a little bit of wood dust.
If you can build it for a reasonable price, do it.
MissBetsy (author)  t.rohner2 years ago
That looks very simple and I am sure one can regulate the amount of smoke easily. Probably less attention involved than with my version of a cold smoker. But as I mentioned somewhere, what I really would like is a wood stove and an attic in an old farmhouse to produce bacon.....
You would like something like that ;-)
Miss Betsy,
Thank you so much, this is inspiring. And I love your bacon instructable.
Two questions.
Where are you located?
Can you please make a Speck instructable?
My grandfather taught me to love it on fresh bread.
He was from Cortina in SudTirol.
Much appreciation.
MissBetsy (author)  Ricardo Furioso2 years ago
Thank you and your grandfather from Cortina had access to probably the best Speck in the world. The big difference between my method and the speck you know is the choice of meat. Traditionally Südtirolean and Italian Speck are made from the hindquarter of the pork and the relation of lean meat to fat is higher. I might try this next time.
For 12 years now, I reside close to the Niagara Falls, NY
Courageous story.
He was born in Cortina in Sudtirol.
His people fought against the Italians in the Great War.
When he returned to Cortina, it was flying an Italian flag.
He could not bear it. Instead of becoming an Italian citizen he became an American citizen.
I would love to know how to make any Speck.