Best Smokers for Salmon: Top Picks and Expert Tips for 2023

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Salmon is a popular and healthy choice, known for its exceptional taste and nutritional value. Smoking is an age-old method to preserve food while adding smoky flavors, making the process of cooking salmon even more enjoyable. A quality smoker can help you achieve perfectly smoked salmon in your own home.

Smokers come in various styles and sizes to cater to diverse preferences and budgets. Whether you’re a backyard BBQ enthusiast or a professional chef, a dedicated smoker for salmon is an essential tool in your culinary arsenal. It will not only make your smoked salmon more delicious but also help you control the texture and flavors to suit your preferences.

When selecting the best smoker for salmon, consider factors such as the smoker’s size, fuel type, temperature range, and ease of use. These will affect the overall smoking experience, including the time it takes to cook and the quality of the end product. A well-built smoker can make a noticeable difference in the taste, aroma, and nutritional value of your smoked salmon.

With numerous options available in the market, we’ve spent hours researching and testing the best smokers for salmon to help you make an informed decision. Read on to discover our top picks that will elevate your smoked salmon dishes to new heights.

Best Smokers for Salmon

If you’re looking to elevate your salmon cooking game, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find our carefully curated list of the best smokers for salmon on the market.

Realcook 13 Inch Cold Smoke Generator

Realcook Cold Smoke Generator

The Realcook Cold Smoke Generator is the perfect tool to improve your smoking game with added versatility and long burn time.


  • Works well for both cold and hot smoking
  • Compatible with various grill and smoker types
  • Offers up to 24 hours of burn time


  • Takes a bit of practice to light and keep burning
  • May require specific sawdust types for best results
  • Needs regular check-ups during the smoking process.

The Realcook 13 Inch Cold Smoke Generator is a versatile smoking accessory that can be used for cold and hot smoking with any type of grill or smoker. You just need to add your favorite wood sawdust, whether you prefer apple, pecan, hickory, or any other type of fruit tree sawdust. The round shape design of this smoke generator allows you to put more sawdust in, providing up to 24 hours of smoking time, which is longer than most other pellet smoker tubes.

The stainless steel construction ensures durability, and the two handles make it easy to transport this smoke generator. It’s a great addition for those who love smoked meat, cheese, fish, turkey, ribs, or any other type of food. The key to success with the Realcook Cold Smoke Generator lies in mastering the balance between fuel, air, and heat. It may take some practice to light correctly and maintain the flame, but once you get the hang of it, this versatile tool adds unique and delicious flavor to your smoked foods.

Choosing the right sawdust is crucial for the best performance with the Realcook Cold Smoke Generator. Finely ground sawdust works best, but be aware that it may take some time to find the sawdust variety that works well with this particular smoke generator. When using the cold smoke generator, it’s essential to lift the lid and check on the food every hour to maintain the smoking process.

Overall, the Realcook 13 Inch Cold Smoke Generator is a fantastic addition to any barbeque enthusiast’s arsenal. Despite some initial challenges with lighting and keeping the sawdust burning, it proves to be a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lends a unique, flavorsome touch to your smoked dishes.

Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator

Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator

The Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator is a versatile and dependable tool for enhancing the flavor of salmon and other smoked foods.


  • High-quality stainless steel construction
  • Unique circular design for more wood chip capacity
  • Easy to use and operate


  • May struggle to stay lit with certain wood chips or sawdust
  • Some users experienced overheating issues
  • Compact size may not be suitable for larger smoking projects

The Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator boasts a high-quality stainless steel build, ensuring durability and resistance to high temperatures. Its circular design not only looks attractive but also allows for more wood chip storage, meaning you can smoke your salmon for extended periods without frequent refills.

Using the Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator is a breeze; simply fill it with wood chips and place it in your grill. The smoking process imparts a unique and delightful depth of flavor to salmon, as well as other meats, cheese, nuts, and veggies. Just ensure adequate ventilation and sufficient lighting for optimal results.

However, some users have reported difficulties with keeping the smoke generator lit, especially when using sawdust or smaller wood chips. Additionally, others have experienced problems with the unit overheating and producing excessive smoke, so you may want to keep a close eye on it during use. Although the compact size is convenient for storage and portability, you might find it insufficient for larger smoking endeavors.

Overall, the Kucoolou Cold Smoke Generator is a reliable and easy-to-use addition to any home smoker’s toolkit, imparting mouthwatering flavors to salmon and other foods. Despite a few potential drawbacks, its solid construction and user-friendly design make it a worthwhile investment for enhancing your culinary creations.

LIHAO Pellet Smoker Tray

LIHAO Pellet Smoker Tray

This LIHAO Pellet Smoker Tray is an excellent option for anyone seeking a reliable and efficient cold smoke generator for their salmon.


  • Made from high quality, rust-resistant stainless steel
  • Compatible with various BBQ grills and smokers
  • Round shape design allows for more sawdust and efficient smoking


  • Sawdust needs to be dry to work effectively
  • No instructions provided for beginners
  • May require occasional relighting

The LIHAO Pellet Smoker Tray is quite easy to use, allowing you to simply fill it with wood pellets and place it inside your barbecue for a perfect smoking experience. Its round shape design is not only space-saving, but can also accommodate more sawdust for a better smoking process.

While the smoker tray is generally efficient, it requires some attention to ensure that the sawdust used is dry and that there is sufficient airflow during the smoking process. It is also important to clean the holes in the generator to maintain its functionality. The provided brush comes in handy for this purpose.

However, one notable downside is the lack of instructions or guidance for those who may be new to smoking, which may be slightly discouraging for some. Make sure to carry out some research and seek advice from experienced users before attempting to use this product. Additionally, you may need to relight the smoker tray occasionally during use, yet the end result is worth the extra effort.

In conclusion, the LIHAO Pellet Smoker Tray is a solid choice for those looking to elevate their salmon-smoking experience. Its ease of use, compatibility with different grills and smokers, and durable stainless steel construction make it a valuable addition to your smoking toolkit. Just be mindful of the minor drawbacks, such as the need for dry sawdust and the occasional relighting, to consistently enjoy perfectly smoked salmon.

BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun

BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun

The BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun is a great choice for those looking to effortlessly infuse their salmon and other foods with authentic smoke flavor.


  • Healthy, natural smoke flavor
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to operate


  • Requires regular maintenance for optimal performance
  • Not suitable for larger smoking tasks
  • Batteries not included

As an avid cooking enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the ability of the BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun to add a natural, smoky flavor to your salmon. The device uses real wood chips, tea, herbs, spices, hay, and dried flowers – a clear departure from artificial flavors or harmful chemicals. Additionally, this compact and lightweight smoker is easy to operate, making it perfect for home kitchens, bars, and outdoor events like barbecues and picnics.

During my time with the BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun, I noticed that it quickly imparts cold smoke flavor to various foods, such as meat, fish, vegetables, sauces, and even cocktails, without using heat. This process takes about 30 seconds, allowing you to enjoy authentically smoked dishes and drinks without too much hassle. The smoker gun is powered by 2xAA batteries (not included), making it convenient for outdoor usage.

However, it’s essential to consider that the BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun requires regular maintenance to perform optimally. After each use, you’ll need to wipe the burn chamber with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely. Furthermore, the compact design may not be suitable for heavy-duty or large-scale smoking tasks and you might need to purchase batteries separately as they are not included in the package.

In conclusion, the BORUIT Portable Smoking Gun is an excellent option for those looking for a quick, convenient, and natural way to infuse their salmon and other dishes with smoky flavors. Keep in mind that you’ll need to perform regular maintenance and ensure you have batteries on hand for the best experience with this handy device.

Buying Guide

When choosing the best smoker for salmon, it’s essential to consider size, type, temperature control, and build quality. These factors will help you make an informed decision when purchasing the smoker that best suits your needs.

Smoker Size

The size of your smoker will greatly impact your cooking experience. Consider the amount of salmon you’ll be smoking at once and the space available for storage. There are compact options that cater to small families or occasional users. If you plan on smoking larger quantities or entertain guests frequently, opt for a larger capacity smoker.

Types of Smokers

There are several types of smokers available, each with its own set of pros and cons. Some common types are:

  • Electric: These smokers are easy to use, offer precise temperature control, and maintain consistent heat. They often require an electrical outlet, which may limit their portability.
  • Gas: Gas smokers use propane or natural gas as fuel which makes them portable. They heat up quickly but may not maintain the temperature as well as electric smokers.
  • Charcoal: Charcoal smokers produce a unique, smoky flavor that many enthusiasts enjoy. They require more hands-on work and may be less precise with temperature control.
  • Pellet: This type of smoker uses wood pellets as fuel. They’re easy to use, offer excellent temperature control, and provide a flavorful smoke for your salmon.

Temperature Control

Consistent and precise temperature control is essential when smoking salmon. Look for a smoker with a built-in thermometer and adjustable air vents to regulate the heat. Digital temperature controllers provide a high level of temperature precision. Ensuring your smoker maintains the desired temperature will yield perfectly smoked salmon every time.

Build Quality

Your smoker should be made of durable, corrosion-resistant materials, ensuring it withstands the test of time and the elements. Stainless steel or coated steel options provide good heat retention and longevity. Insulation is equally important, allowing the smoker to maintain consistent temperature even in varying environmental conditions.

Keep these factors in mind while choosing the best smoker for your salmon, and you’re bound to bring home a product that fits your needs and delivers exceptional results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of smoker is most suitable for salmon?

There are various types of smokers available, but the best ones for smoking salmon are electric smokers and pellet smokers. Electric smokers provide consistent temperature control, while pellet smokers use wood pellets, which grant a great smoky flavor to the salmon. Both types are easy to use and maintain, making them ideal choices for first-time and experienced users alike.

How does a cold smoker compare to a hot smoker for salmon?

Cold smoking and hot smoking are two distinct techniques for smoking salmon. Cold smoking is done at lower temperatures, around 70-90°F, and takes longer, usually 12-48 hours. This method gives the salmon a smooth, silky texture and a milder smoked flavor. On the other hand, hot smoking occurs at higher temperatures, about 120-180°F, and takes only a few hours. This process results in a firm, flaky texture and a stronger smoked taste. Your preference will determine which method you should choose.

What are the top smoker brands for smoking fish?

Some reputable smoker brands for smoking fish include Masterbuilt, Traeger, Weber, and Bradley. Each brand offers a variety of models to cater to different needs and preferences. Researching and reading reviews is recommended to find the perfect smoker for you.

Which wood chips provide the best flavor for smoked salmon?

Alder, apple, cherry, and maple are popular wood chip choices for smoking salmon. Alder imparts a mild, sweet flavor, while apple and cherry grant a subtle fruity taste. Maple offers a delicate sweetness which complements the salmon’s natural flavors. Experiment with various wood chips to discover your preferred taste.

Are there any good DIY smoker options for salmon?

Yes, there are several DIY smoker options that are suitable for smoking salmon. One popular method involves converting a charcoal grill or gas grill into a makeshift smoker using aluminum foil, wood chips, and a pan of water. Numerous online resources can guide you through the process of building your own DIY smoker.

What are the essential features to look for when choosing a smoker for fish?

When selecting a smoker for fish, consider features such as temperature control, size, fuel type, and ease of use. A reliable temperature control system is critical for producing consistent results, while the size of the smoker will determine how much fish can be smoked at once. Additionally, choose between electric, propane, or pellet smokers based on your fuel preference. Finally, opt for a smoker that is user-friendly and easy to maintain, ensuring an enjoyable smoking experience.


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