Kitchen Tools

Convert Wood Pellet Smoker into Cold Smoker

Convert your wood pellet smoker into a cold smoker, and make some truly great smoked salmon, chicken, turkey and even cheese. Over the last 25 years, I have had many different types of smokers from the little chiefs, to the big chiefs, home made cabinets with small wood stoves and long 6″ stove pipes.

They are all a pain in the back end.  I have always had wood pellet smokers (check out best pellet smokers at here if you hadn’t), ever since they have been on the market. I figured since wood pellet smokers make really good smoke, that I should somehow convert my pellet smoker into a cold smoker so I can smoke salmon the way the west coast indians do, over 5-10 days.  I am thrilled to be able to convert my wood pellet smoker into a cold smoker as well.  Its truthfully a fantastic cold smoker, as I am able to control the amount of smoke, when I want it, how much smoker I create and most importantly of all I can control the temperature in my smoke house.  Not to over use a brutal quote, but I can have a cake and eat it too.  Meaning not only can I smoke hams, pulled pork and do all the regular wood pellet smoker stuff, I can use it as a cold smoker too.

Convert Wood Pellet Smoker into Cold Smoker

To make a wood pellet smoker make “cold smoke”, you need to cool the temperature of the smoke down by quite a bit.  My Traeger smokes at roughly 165 F, which is great for making bacon and other things, but far too hot for cold smoking.  Through the use of custom tin work, buying a couple of lengths of ventilation pipes, I have made a fabulous smoke house, fed by my trusty Traeger wood pellet smoker.  These are the components.

Convert Wood Pellet Smoker into Cold Smoker HOW-TO

To convert your wood pellet BBQ smoker into a cold smoker, you will need a smoke house, some 6″ ventilation pipes and a tin or metal adapter that will connect your wood pellet smoker to the 6″ ventilation pipe.  This you will have to have made by your local tinsmith.  They love the challenge, and it doesn’t cost a lot.

Remove the chimney on your wood pellet smoker.  In this case, I have a Traeger which has a 3″ chimney.  This HOW-TO only applies to wood pellet smokers that have a removable chimney.  If your chimney is welded on, I’m afraid you are out of luck.

I had this custom piece of metal work made for me. For roughly $30, I had a tinsmith create a piece that converts my 4″ chimney hole to a 6″ pipe.  I attach this piece to the end of my wood pellet smoker.

Here is what my Treager “cold smoker” looks like with my cold smoker chimney adaptor.  Its a simple 5 minute job to remove the original chimney, and replace it with the new one.  Its a bit dirty inside, but its worth the effort.

I then connect the chimny adaptor to the smoke house using the simple rule, if it’s cold out, below 10 C, I use a short pipe.  If it’s warm out, 15 and above, I use a long pipe, to cool the smoke before it enters the smoke house.  I have had a 20 ft. pipe going out of my Treager.  The Traeger through the combination of auger fan and hot air rising manages to move the smoke the length of the chimney all the way to the smokehouse.  Here is a photo of my smokehouse. It is an old proofing oven from a bakery. It was thrown out, I picked it up and added two coon proof chimneys at the top.

On the opposite side of this smoke house, I have an opening beneath the proof oven top where the 6″ pipe attaches. This image shows 15 ft of pipe going into my smoke house. You will also see 30 Sockeye salmon files going through the last stages of drying prior to going into the smoke house.

Converting a wood pellet smoker into a cold smoker gives me a lot of positives.  I am able to control the amount of smoke, when I want it, how much and most importantly of all I can control the temperature in my smoke house.  As Vespa said above, I control the temperature by adding or removing lengths of pipes which come apart. Above is 3 5′ lengths plus the wood pellet BBQ attachment which is roughly 3 feet long with the angled piece which allows me to tilt the smoke house so it can take advantage of the wind to help dry out the fish.

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