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Charcuterie Cold Smoker - is this stupid?

Mmmm Meat

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 6, 2021
I wanted to smoke a Coppa and some Pepperoni a few weeks ago so I patched together a quick and cheap cold smoker for charcuterie, something of a temporary model as I ease into this sport. I've had the Big Chief Smoker for about 25 years, and though it is rarely used anymore, it seemed perfect for a quick solution to satisfy my needs for smoking salumi. It has a rack with removeable shelves that is perfect for hanging meat while in the smoke.

I purchased the cold smoke generator from Amazon and used wood pellets originally intended for my pellet smoker to create the smoke. Placing the smoke tube inside the Big Chief smoke box created more heat than I wanted - up to 100 degrees, even while in 50 degree ambient setting. In order to reduce the heat created by the smoke generator, I used a simple cardboard box with airholes poked into it, combined with a four dollar dryer vent, squished down on one end so that it could be pushed into the smoker box at the wood chip pan door. Placing the lit/smoking smoke generator tube in the cardboard box fitted with a couple scrap pieces of cardboard to better seal the vent hose/smoker box junction - it all seemed a bit too easy. The internal temp. of the smoker box stayed right at 60 degrees during the entire smoking process. I'm wondering if I really need to improve on the design as it seems to work flawlessly. Any thoughts?

cold smoke generator.png

cold smoker setup.jpg


Fire Starter
Joined Jan 27, 2019
Obviously if you're happy with your setup and the results it produces, stick with it!

If you wanted the temps to be even lower, you could convert your pellets into dust and this would provide you with smoke at a lower temperature. The caveat being you would need a pellet tray, rather than the tube.

Unrelated, but that amount of tabs you have open is giving me serious anxiety lol


Smoking UPNorth
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 7, 2017
If it works it works! It’s almost like the mailbox mod for your type of smoker

kilo charlie

Smoking Fanatic
Joined Sep 25, 2017
Looks like a good set up.. if you have room you could also use a pan full of ice to keep the temps down.

I've never had my pellet tube create that much heat and I cold smoke butter and cheese.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 21, 2018
Very inexpensive and simple idea. I'd use it until you had to recycle the cardboard box and then see about changing. I saw recently on the Forum someone used a letterbox (vertical wall mount narrow box) for the same thing.🍻


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Aug 13, 2015
Love the mailbox! Great idea.
Oh, It's not my idea! I learned about it on this forum.
However, instead of 3" piping I used 4" and instead of making vent holes in the front I drilled them in the bottom and raised the box on a stand. Left the holes open where the flag attached and covered the holes on top where the handle went. Works great.
Cheapest steel mailbox they had at Home Depot or Lowes (I forget which). Painted on the outside only and not galvanized....
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Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 27, 2017
For cold smoking.....I highly recommend wood dust made from pellets a la "Dave's Pellet Dust". Real clean burn, real clean smoke...

Mmmm Meat

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 6, 2021
That's a good suggestion. I can see why one would want a cooler smoke when working with cheeses etc., though 60 degrees seemed fine for salami nearing the end of fermentation - almost like a cooling off period before going in the chamber.

Last time I used the Big Chief Smoker for salmon, I found I was out of Alder chips. Having no desire to make a run to a sporting goods store, I instead grabbed a chainsaw and a large piece of Alder from my firewood pile. (Alder grows like a weed up here - it's everywhere) I rigged up a plastic bag below my saw to catch the sawdust from my cutting and set to work making ripping cuts on the log. Five minutes was enough to create enough sawdust for my planned three hours of smoke. I'll never know how much bar oil ended up in the mix - I prefer not to think about it.


Smoke Blower
Joined Jul 21, 2019
You came up with a nice solution. I’ve used my tube to cold smoke a few times. One time I did have a temperature spike like you described. All the others it was just fine but one poor cheese suffered for it. My first thought when I saw this was like a lot of the others that this looks like the mailbox mod. There was a thread that made basically the mailbox mod but with a popcorn tin. A little cheaper option. I’m not sure how to link to it but the url is https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/mailbox-popcorn-mod-with-a-small-twist.258297/

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