• Homemade Low-Cost, High-Character Cold Smoker Contraption

    by  • August 7, 2013 • Featured, Homesteading, Meat • 10 Comments

    Today I will reveal the second craziest homemade cold smoker ever created.

    It was born from a desire to cold smoke a molasses cured, home butchered ham without breaking the bank and inspired by the craziest homemade meat cooking devise, my father’s Hillbilly Ham House.

    Behold Alex’s Cold Smoking Contraption.

    cold smoking contraption

    To build this beauty, Alex started with a gifted excess mini Weber grill and removed the top vent. He arranged a length of round furnace pipe acquired for $3 at the Habitat ReStore into the hole, followed by a $5 length of flexible dryer vent. Connections were reinforced with aluminum duct tape, $5 a roll.

    mini weber cold smokersmoker vent

    The dryer vent ran into the modified lower vent of our existing large charcoal grill. Alex used the angle grinder and many curse words to extend the hole enough for the pipe to fit in properly. The grill remains usable to cook off meat with charcoal.

    Useage is simple: Build a small wood fire in the mini Weber. Put the meat on the big grill and monitor temperature. After 18 hours, you have ham!

    The dryer vent was incapable of handling the smoke heat for the duration and melted through once. Alex cut off the effected part, reattached with tape, and went about the smoking. A more permanent solution would be durable flexible hosing or connecting pieces of furnace pipe.

    home cured ham over ice

    Cold smoking is the act of surrounding a piece of food with smoke but little to no residual heat. The ideal cold smoking temperature for a ham is 60 degrees F. Given that the air temperature in summer is generally higher than 60, adjustments can be made. We kept a pan of ice in the base of the meat chamber to help keep cool and were able to average about 75 degrees F.

    Alas, our basement is still a little too warm for dry curing, the next step in the ham Alex wished to make. We ended air drying early before mold set in and packaged the ham in slices and chunks for the future. Someday we’ll learn that hams are not meant to be made in July.

    What do you think of Alex’s creation? DIY genius or a bunch of junk?

    PS. For classier Weber modifications, head over to our friend Dave’s siteĀ Webercam.com.

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse


    10 Responses to Homemade Low-Cost, High-Character Cold Smoker Contraption

    1. August 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      My daughter was trying to talk me into making a smoker from a garbage can, and now you with a cold smoker… what’s the world coming to?

      • August 8, 2013 at 8:42 am

        You’re surrounded by cheap, creative people!

    2. Alex
      August 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      Genius. It was sheer genius.

    3. August 8, 2013 at 3:13 am

      Nice. It’s even more versatile if you shorten the tubing, it’s then a hot smoker, kind of an offset box. I like this a lot! Well done! I think I’m imagining some ham atop a pizza…

      • August 8, 2013 at 8:43 am

        We were thinking about the possibility of an update where the tubing could be shortened or lengthened at will.

    4. August 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      I once made a cold smoker in a cardboard box with a soldering iron, a can, and a few resting racks, just to prove you could do it.

      Once the temps drop below 40-50f during the day, you should use your new smoker to smoke blocks of cheese and then store them for two weeks to mellow.

      Great job on the rig!

      • August 14, 2013 at 7:43 am

        We considered a cardboard box but this is more reusable for about the same amount of work. Smoking cheese is definitely on the docket for later in the year. My sister smoked butter and used it to make an insanely good cake layered with apple butter. Yum!

    5. Pingback: Hacker Challenge Winner: Create a DIY Trash Can Smoker « Music RSS

    6. T
      February 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Another contribution to your ham fail was the water pan in the cold smoker. When cold smoking, you want the driest, coolest air possible. While the water helps keep it cool, it is significantly raising the humidity in the chamber.

      • February 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

        Oh I know. The biggest lesson of this smoking experience was ‘don’t try to cure a ham in the middle of summer’.

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