How to cold smoke

Smokers for Bacon – For Cold or Hot Smoking

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

When you’re looking for the best smoker for making bacon there are so many different ways of doing it, but I’m hopefully going to show you what I have found as the easiest way and some methods I’ve tried.

Glorious bacon can come in so many different forms, the absolute classic I love is the streaky bacon from the pork belly.

But it just depends on what meat I’m getting, pork loin is also awesome, fat to meat ratio you’re looking for is the biggy – that’s why streaky is most people’s favorite.

I started off many years ago cooking the bacon at the lower temperatures (in essence cooked hot smoked bacon), and for the last 10 years have been doing dry-cured cold smoked bacon which sometimes I splice with pancetta Italian style as well. I’ll give you a rundown of the spices I use for this later on.

Ok here’s the quick answer summarized.

Best Smokers for Making Bacon

The best smokers for making hot smoked bacon are pellet grills, electric or gas smokers because of consistent heat. For cold smoked bacon maze or pellet tube smokers are easy to use and reliable.

For a straight link to this kit, I write about each of these below in different posts:

Hot Smoked Bacon Smokers, are oven-style smokers that cook at low temperatures, which is ideal for smoky cooked bacon. aka Low & Slow

Cold Smoked Bacon Smokers

For me, this is real bacon, hot smoked cooked bacon is okay, but in reality, it’s smoked pork belly ham.

As you probably know there are 2 main methods, you either use a low temperature to cook the bacon through and give it some smoky flavor (basically a kind of cooked ham) or you fully cure the bacon and then apply a cold-smoked method.

I wrote a full rundown on making bacon either way, you can find it here.

Ok – so why these smokers?

All of these can run for 4-8 hours or a lot longer. Once they are set up and ready. It’s all pretty straightforward for making bacon.

So ease of use is the biggest factor for me.

Cold smoked vs hot smoked bacon large

Best Hot Smoking Bacon Smokers

I’ve used a pellet tube smoker for both hot and cold smoking. For cooked hot smoked bacon I get the gas grill fired up, and just put the pellet tube inside.

Being a 5 burner BBQ I just had one gas burner turned on low, and did some indirect smoking under the hood at 190°F.

If you have an existing gas grill with a hood, this can be a really easy option to do some hot smoked bacon at home.

Electric or Gas Smokers

You can’t go wrong with an electric or gas smoker like the ever-popular Masterbuilt smoker, if you want more details it’s an outdoor oven, with thermostat control and some area to burn wood inside. There are 100,000’s of these in backyards.

For $200-$250, you can basically get your full low & slow smoking done and make bacon with these bad boys. Plus, if you want to get a pellet tube smoker and you can cold smoke in it (you could get the official Masterbuilt cold smoke accessory, the pellet tube or maze tube will pretty much do the same thing without electricity, but it does have a higher level of convenience for a few hundred bucks.

Charcoal Smoker (Kettle, Offset, Drum etc)

You can definitely do your hot smoked bacon on a charcoal smoke, and get that charcoal kind of flavor. You have to be careful of that with charcoal, some of the ‘restaurant-quality’ charcoal that I’ve used is given off some pretty strong flavors.

The issue is it takes a bit more time and I find it a bit more inconvenient to set up charcoal smoking, and controlling the temperature is always can be a little bit tougher with the charcoal smoker.

That’s why I prefer using electric, gas, pellet grill, or pellet tube/maze smokers to get this bacon job done in an easier way.

Best Cold Smoking Bacon Smokers

Without a doubt, my go-to is always the pellet tube smoker or smoke generator (for control), I guess I like to use a decent butane torch lighter to get this thing going, being a bit of a firebug this is the fun part.

Then just blow out the smoldering pellets, and I have probably around 4 or 5 hours of cold smoking. Where I live the humidity is high and at night like in most places, the temperatures are low so nighttime is a good time to get the cold-smoked bacon underway.

And then in the morning, I just wrap or put the bacon in a container ready for another smoking session the next evening.

Cold Smoke Pancetta Bacon Recipe

Salt2.50%
black peppercorns0.40%
brown sugar1.00%
juniper berries0.40%
garlic cloves 1 per 1 lb
bay leaves (recipe fresh or dried)1 per 1 lb
Fresh thyme sprigs1 per 1 lb

I like to play around with these spices, they come through in a subtle way around these percentages, but you can play around with oregano, cinnamon, or even nutmeg. Some of these spices lend themselves nicely to the braesola dry-cured beef style as well.


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  1. I’d like to order 3liter cold smoker ,but can’t find where to order. ???

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