Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling >
Jan 6, 2014 12:28 PM

A DIY version of the "smoking gun"

I've been looking at some recipes that call for a smoking "gun" ( to smoke foods quickly. Since I don't like buying unnecessary items, does anyone know if the effect could be replicated by just, say, tenting smoldering applewood shavings with aluminum foil, puncturing the foil and collecting the smoke in an overturned tumbler, and then quickly transferring that tumbler (still full of smoke!) to cover the item to be smoked?

For a video demonstration of what I'm trying to explain, see this video around 2:20 -

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Why not put the item to be smoked into a Ziploc container and use that to capture the smoke from the tented foil? That's more direct and analogous to the Smoking Gun.

    1. I have a PolyScience Smoking Gun, and how I use it mostly, I don't think the DIY as you describe it would work.

      I mostly use it for cold smoking, mainly salmon. Briefly, I set up a styrofoam box with ice, put the fish on an elevated platform, and blast smoke in with the Smoking Gun every 30 minutes for a few hours. The box is otherwise sealed, and temperature stays below 50F. I do it on my kitchen counter.

      I've also used the SG for smoking sauces or juices, like tomato juice.

      The key is the blower fan on the SG, which both creates a great draw to get the shavings lit and smoking, and directs the smoke out the hose. It also gives you control over how much smoke you want.

      If you're a tinkerer, you could probably rig something with a small computer fan, coffee cup, soldering iron, and a hose. It'd be ugly, but could be effective.

      Good luck!

      1. If you google
        DIY smoking gun
        You'll find some pretty inexpensive solutions. Honestly, I think I've seen the tumbler technique on Iron Chef America or somewhere, but it seems it'd only add a *very* light smoke flavor.

        2 Replies
        1. re: travelerjjm

          The tenting method, or various thereof, like directing the smoke into a ziplock, works for very small items, items with a high surface area to volume ratio. Could work for smoking scallops, for example, that because of their irregular surface, have a high SA/V, so pick up smoke well for their size.

          For larger items, like a chicken breast, I think it's going to be much harder to get any smoke you can taste on there. Smoking salt takes a lot of time, up to 24 hours, at low temperature.

          Small items with a high SA/V, and that have a decent amount of fat could pick up smoke well using a tent method/bag/etc. Anything larger than a scallop may be struggle. Then again, I've never invested too much time in the tent/bag method without using a smoking gun to blow fresh smoke in periodically.

          1. re: foreverhungry

            I hadn't thought about the SA/V ratio, but that's a good point. Thanks for both of your posts. I think I'll try this sometime but with, like you said, something on the smaller side.