Homemade Smoke Generator for a Smokehouse

by Contributing Writer

Items you will need

  • 55-ounce tin can
  • Can opener
  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Soldering iron
  • Wood chips
  • Extension cord

Many people smoke their own food in smokehouses either for preservation or taste enhancement. Many smokehouses use a small fire to make smoke and this process will raise the temperature in a smokehouse. Some foods such as bacon, fish or cheese should be smoked at ambient temperatures. A smoke generator is used in these instances because it generates smoke without raising the temperature in the smokehouse. Anyone can make a smoke generator using a few products purchased at a home store.

Step 1

Choose a 55-ounce tin can. Open the can with a can opener and empty the contents into a plastic container. Cover the container and refrigerate until used.

Step 2

Remove the exterior paper from the can. Clean the can in warm, soapy water to remove any leftover interior contents and any remaining pieces of exterior paper. Allow the can to dry.

Step 3

Place the can on the bottom floor of the smokehouse. Put the soldering iron in the can so the heating element is in the bottom.

Step 4

Soak hardwood chips in water for approximately one hour. Apple, hickory or cherry wood chips are often used. Fill the can with the soaked hardwood chips so the heating element of the soldering iron is completely surrounded.

Step 5

Plug the soldering iron into an extension cord. Turn on the soldering iron. Smoke will flow from the can within five minutes and will usually continue for approximately one hour. Refill the can every hour until the desired amount of smoking is complete.


  • Use two smoke generators if the smokehouse is large or a dense concentration of smoke is desired.

    Cans smaller than 55 ounces can be used, but this size works best because it easily holds a soldering iron and a good quantity of wood chips.


  • Never use a cold smoker indoors. Always smoke outdoors for proper ventilation.

    Only use a new soldering iron for this project. Used soldering irons can add noxious fumes from previously soldered materials to the food.

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