Homemade smoke generator, is there too much smoke?

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by dae06, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. I am new to cold smoking and need some advice. I made a smoke generator and it really puts out the smoke. I want to cold smoke some bacon, but don't want to ruin it in the process. Can anyone tell me if this is too much smoke output for cold smoking bacon? I will be using apple pellets and my smokehouse is around 60 cubic feet.

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  2. Hello dae06 .  Welcome.  I see this is your first post.  Please take some time and swing over to Roll Call and introduce yourself so that we may give you a proper "Hello".  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  Are you soaking the pellets before using?  My feeling is that it is too much white smoke but by giving your post a "bump" maybe someone who has built one will offer better advice.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How long will the smoke gen. put out smoke like that...
    So your smoker.... it's about 3x3x7 or so...... If you have good air flow through the smoker, about 30 cfm, so you get an air change about every 2 minutes or so, that could work....
    If you can cut the bacon into 3 or more hunks, I'd try at least 3 smokes on 3 hunks.... 1 hour, 2 hour and 4 hour, for a test.... let it rest in the refer for a week or so, take some slices and do a taste test.... no point in ruining the whole batch...
    For a blower, you could use a woman's hair dryer.... no heat.... low speed and if needed plug off part of the air inlet or get a router speed controller and control the speed of the fan motor.... I think you would want to see fairly thin smoke emitting from the smoker as to not overpower the bacon.....
    There's a $1.00 worth of guesses.... (S.W.A.G.S.)


    Don't forget to dry the surface of the bacon very well.... form a decent pellicle before adding smoke....
  4. Danny and Dave, Thanks for the info. Here is my setup info:

    I am using a 3 1/2" ID pipe 18" long. The pellets are in a cage type cylinder made from glorified hardware cloth that sits inside the pipe and creates the smoke. I do not wet the pellets. I have an air intake at the bottom of the pipe to control the amount of smoke (added after the video was made). In the video, it is pretty much wide open. I can close it down to create less smoke, but I am not sure how much smoke is ideal for cold smoking. I know the Smoke Daddy's that I have seen put out comparable smoke.

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  6. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the forum.  Nice generator.

    If you are new to using heavy smoke when smoking foods you will want to take Dave's advice and not put all your eggs in one basket.   It will be important to keep detailed notes until you get the feel of the whole process.  Keep track of the temps, type and amount of wood, color and density of the smoke, time and color of the product being smoked.  The effects of using a heavy smoke are less forgiving than using a very light smoke so don't feel you have to apply smoke for a long period of time.  If using it during a hot smoke, applying smoke for the whole cook will be unlikely.  Don't be afraid to experiment with multiple food products, you will find there are numerous products that will benefit from using the heavy smoke over a lighter one which will broaden your whole smoking range.

    Maybe the following will help also.  Understanding Smoke Management - updated 5/18/13

    Good luck and enjoy your new smoker.

  7. Nice read. I too am a fan of the Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) while hot smoking, I'm thinking I will want to tone down my smoke generator while cold smoking, but will also make sure I have pretty good air flow to eliminate any stale smoke issues. I guess the only way to know is try it in different batches and see how they taste. I over smoked some cheese a few weeks ago, but I didn't do my research. I didn't let the cheese sit in the refrigerator and rest, so it may have been ok.

  8.  I use a home built smoke generator also.  That heavy white smoke can impart a bitter taste to your product.   To avoid this use wood chips instead of pellets or saw dust.  Saw dust in a pan heated gives off a blue smoke same as pellets but when placed inside a smoke generator tube they give off a white smoke . I think it's due to condensation that occurs with the design.  My cold smoker always has condensation build up to the point water drips from the top cap and makes the sawdust or pellets wet. When you use chips ( loaded loosely)  their is more air circulating inside the tube and reduces the amount of condensation and gives off blue smoke.  Try it with a chunk of cheese first if you aren't happy with my suggestion.  Cheese is a little cheaper and it will really make a bitter smoke flavor stand out.  just smelling the cheese after you smoked it if it's going to be bitter you can tell before you taste it.  Bitter smoke will almost smell like a old metal ashtray filled with butts.  Good luck I hope this helps.
  9. I have done a trial on cheese. I did  1, 2, 3 and 4 hour trial. They all tasted terribly (bitter). Although I did not let the cheese sit in the fridge like I found out later mellows out the flavor. I will try the chips, unfortunately, I have 20 pounds of apple pellets at home. Maybe I'll try the pellets without the smoke generator, this should mellow out the smoke.

    I too get a lot of condensation with my generator, and black, watery, bitter smelling liquid out the bottom.

  10. If you look at the insides of a Smoke Daddy  they have a spring about 1/2 diameter that hooks onto the bottom screen and up to the air pipe.  This is to help with air flow,  make sure no pellets fall into the center of the spring. You could also make a tube out of screen wire to keep a clear airway to the top.  Maybe try this  also if you have that many pellets.  I am also just learning with a cold smoke generator , I use to just heat up my chips, sawdust and pellets in a pan covered with tinfoil with holes punched in the top. The pan would have holes all around the outside near the bottom of the pan. Heat it up till they caught on fire then cover them up with the tinfoil. They would smoke like that for a while if you have a drafty smoke house.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013

  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Even though you have a 60 cf. smoker 1 hour could be too long for your taste.

    The residue you mention is normal and can be reduced by using different woods and temperatures.  Experiment buy using chunks and other types along with more airflow.  Keep in mind also that the residue collected in the generator and pipes leading to the smoker is residue not going into the smoker.

    Keep good notes.

  13.  Tom: I have read your comparison using the Amnps and the Smoke Daddy very good read Thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  14. Update: I did my first bacon cold smoke. I decided to make my own mixture to burn in my smoke generstor. I used apple pellet, chips and lump charcoal. The result was fantastic. I got a nice Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) and no creosote. I used a hot plate in the smoker also just to keep the temp up for better smoke absorption. I kept it around 75 degrees fahrenheit. Outside temp was 5 degrees.

  15. That's  great dae06,  I played around with my smoke generator over the weekend.  I put two 1/8 holes in the top cover, hoping I would not affect the draft design.  It did to the extent that it draws some air through the holes when the air pump is maxed but it worked.  I have no condensation inside dripping on the chips.  But it's seemed their wasn't enough airflow from the lower holes to keep the chips burning.  If i removed the bottom cover however the chips would keep burning so maybe I need to make my lower breather holes a little bigger to make up for the two holes in the top cover.  I did make jerky and had a nice blue smoke, I used one handful of chips they burnt up so I put one more in.  (apple & cherry)   My jerky came out almost too smokey but still good.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  16. I am looking for the parts to make my external smoke generator. My main trouble is finding the pipe. Still can't find one, but I'm trying to read all I can on them as I search. Since I've read more air or more wood contributes to white smoke I had a different thought. Since we can't change the wood quantity, I thought cutting the air flow would help it.

    Like I said I don't have my parts yet, but have you tried to cut the air flow down rather than increasing it?
  17. miataman,   yes I have tried going with smaller holes I even plugged them all but one and it made no difference.   The problem with this design is the heat from the wood smoldering and moisture that is still present in the chips creates condensation inside the pipe and it drips down over the chips. This process keeps happening over and over until your chips, pellets,or saw dust get's soaked and it gives off a real funky smoke I have seen the smoke actually have a yellow tint to it.  This type of cold smoker works like a still you create a vapor and it condenses. that is why I tried putting a hole in the top for steam to escape.

      As far as finding pipe, I would use square tubing the flat sides are way easier to drill and tap.   I got my tubing on Ebay , they have it in stainless and aluminum you should be able to find square tubing on their also
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This process keeps happening over and over until your chips, pellets,or saw dust get's soaked and it gives off a real funky smoke I have seen the smoke actually have a yellow tint to it.

    That is called creosote.... It gives a really acrid, bad flavor to smoked foods..... typical with some smoke generators....
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  19. goliath

    goliath Smoking Fanatic

    i have also made my own external smoke generator. did the venturi style with the adjustable pressure aquarium pump. worked well, but didnt get the hours of smoke i wanted. still had to babysit it. the creosote build up was awful in the feed pipe and needed to be burned off every other smoke, or EVERY smoke to make sure things were open. the Smoke Daddy actually talks about the same problem. i also used square tubing, and found that it would also gum up inside and the chips, sawdust etc would not keep falling down all the time. needed to be pushed down now and then, put a spring in the middle like the smoke daddy but didnt solve the problem have since gone to an AMZNPS and have done a mailbox mod with a cheap turkey roaster. WORKS AWESOME !!!!!

    i also have a MASTERBUILT cold smoke generator for $60 from Bass Pro that i have connected with 3" heat duct when i want to burn chips , or sawdust (my sawdust is too coarse for the AMZN) i also use it on my MES

    just keep playing around and you will figure out what you want.

    as for pipe..... go to a muffler shop and get some 4" exhaust pipe from a big diesel. its not galvinized, its a mix of aluminum and steel !!!!

    there are some pretty good pics of my smoke gen on this thread of my build.

    GOOD LUCK !!!
  20. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I have found that for an external smoke generator, bottom burn and bottom extraction of smoke gives the cleanest smoke. Otherwise if smoke is drawn form the top, creosote tends to condense and accumulate as it passes thru un-burnt pellets.

    My smoke generator:


    The unique features are:

    Adjustable air intake.

    Adjustable smoke extraction (using a motorized blower)

    Illuminated smoke viewing port (before smoke enters smoker)

    By using a long brass tube, all creosote gets condensed before it enters the smoker.

    Very surprised by how economical this system burns pellets. A 25 lb bag will last me a couple of years.

    Also surprised by how consistent the generator works, 24 hour smoke un attended is easy.


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