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how to make bacon jerky

How to Make Bacon Jerky

  • October 31, 2018
  • / BBQ How To's     BBQ Recipes
  • / By Nathan
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Jerky is a very popular snack food. Not only is it nutritious, but it is also low in carbs. Jerky is also a portable snack. You can eat jerky in the car, on your lunch break at work, or as a quick pick-me-up while taking a long hike. There are plenty of types of jerky on the market today. There are also many different flavors to choose from. One of the most popular is bacon jerky. You can either buy bacon jerky in a store or you can make your own. When you make your own jerky, you can be sure that it won't be loaded with preservatives. Also, you can be sure that your jerky is fresh when you make it on your own.

Many people don't consider making homemade bacon jerky because they don't have a dehydrator. While bacon jerky comes out amazing in a dehydrator, you don't actually need one. Fortunately, there are a few different methods of preparing this snack. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use one of the other methods. Each of the methods below will allow you to make delicious, savory jerky.

The Oven Method

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can make your bacon jerky right in your oven. You can use the oven method in a gas or electric oven. You just need to be sure that your oven is capable of keeping a consistent temperature of between 170 degrees and 190 degrees.

Before you begin making your bacon jerky, you should gather all of the necessary ingredients.

  • ​2-pounds of uncured bacon. 
  • You want to go with a type of bacon that isn't overly fatty. Also, many people believe that thick bacon is best. This is not true. Thin bacon works best when you are making bacon jerky. It is also better to use high-quality, name brand bacon.
  • ​1 cup of brown sugar
  • ​½ cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • ​½ cup of sriracha

Preparation 

Start by preheating the oven to 170 degrees. During the preheating process, don't open the oven.

​Next, you want to get your rub ready. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, sriracha, and the black pepper. Mix the ingredients until they are fully incorporated.

Before preparing your bacon, you need to make sure that it is completely defrosted. Also, you want the bacon to be dry. You can use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

To season the bacon put it in the bowl and mix it into the rub. This will ensure that each piece of bacon is covered with the rub. If there are sections of the bacon that aren't covered in the rub, the taste will be uneven.

When cooking the bacon, you want to do so right on the oven rack. Since there will be juice and grease dripping from the bacon, you should put the bacon on the top rack and put a metal pan on the lower rack. This keeps your oven clean during the cooking process.

When putting the bacon on the oven rack, make sure that the edges are not touching. If you put the bacon too close together, it will fuse together during the cooking process. When the bacon fuses together, it won't cook properly. Also, you would need to cut the bacon to separate it after cooking.

The amount of time that you would need to cook your bacon would depend on the thickness of the bacon. Typically, it takes about three hours. To be sure that you don't overcook the bacon, you should check on it every hour. Each time you check the bacon, you should flip it.

Before removing your bacon from the oven, make sure that it is fully cooked. If it isn't, it can be dangerous to eat.

When your bacon has reached the desired texture, remove it from the oven. You should put your bacon on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil that remains on the bacon.

Allow the bacon to sit for about 15 minutes so that it can cool.

This recipe is best if you are going to eat it right away. If you are going to eat your bacon jerky over the course of a few days, you can put it in a Ziploc bag and store it in a cool, dry place. If you made a lot and you want to freeze the bacon, you will need to store it in vacuum bags. You should understand that when you make bacon jerky this way, it will lose its freshness while in the freezer.

The Dehydrator Method

The most popular way of making any type of jerky is in a dehydrator. Before you can put the bacon in the dehydrator, you will need to cook it first. The best way to prepare the bacon for dehydrating is by using the oven method listed above. You can cook your bacon in a skillet; however, you won't be able to season it while cooking. When cooking bacon in a skillet, you will need to move it around frequently to be sure that it is cooked thoroughly. This would cause any rub that you applied to come off. If you want seasoned bacon jerky, you are better off using the oven method. 

When your bacon has almost cooked completely, you should get your dehydrator prepared. For best results, you should set the dehydrator to the highest temperature.

When you remove the bacon from the oven, you want to be sure that there is no excess grease on it. When it goes into the dehydrator, any excess grease on the bacon will turn rancid. This will make the jerky taste bad, and it can make you sick.

After removing the excess grease and oils, put the bacon in the dehydrator for three hours. During this time, you should flip it every hour and check the texture. Depending on your dehydrator, your bacon can reach the desired texture sooner than three hours, or it can take longer. This is why it is so important to check it every three hours.

When cooking your bacon jerky in a dehydrator, you can either eat it right away, or you can freeze it. Dehydrated jerky will stay fresh in the freezer for up to a year. If you are going to freeze your bacon jerky, be sure to put it in vacuum bags. Also, you shouldn't store more than 4-ounces in each bag.

The Smoker/Oven Method

If you want your bacon jerky to have a smoky, savory flavor, you can smoke the meat. If you have a traditional smoker, you would simply follow the directions for your smoker to prepare the bacon. If you don't have a smoker, you can turn your gas grill into a smoker, and you will get the same results.

bacon jerky

Smoking Bacon in Your Grill

Turning your gas grill into a smoker is relatively simple. It is important that you follow the directions carefully to avoid cooking the bacon rather than smoking it. 

  • 1
    ​Start by soaking your hickory wood chips in water for 30 minutes.
  • 2
    While your wood chips are soaking, you can preheat the grill. Start by preheating only one side of the grill. You want the temperature to reach 225 degrees.
  • 3
    When your chips have finished soaking, remove the excess water using a strainer.
  • 4
    Next, wrap the wood chips in aluminum foil. You want to create a pouch with the foil and then poke tiny holes in the pouch to slowly release the steam.
  • 5
    Put the pouch on the cool side of the grill and then fire that side up as well. When you see smoke, you will be ready to start smoking your bacon.
  • 6
    Be sure to open the grill as little as possible.


Before you begin smoking your bacon, you are going to need to gather the necessary ingredients. You will need:

  • ​2-pounds of regular cut bacon. Thick bacon won't work as well. Also, name brand bacon works best becasue high-quality bacon has a lower fat content.
  • ​1 cups of brown sugar
  •  2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  •  1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Hickory wood chips. You can use other flavor wood chips based on what you like best; however, most bacon jerky makers prefer hickory chips becasue they go better with the taste of the bacon.

Before you begin smoking, you need to prepare your bacon. 

Start by making sure that your bacon is completely defrosted.

Next, prepare the rub by putting all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until they are fully incorporated.

Unlike the oven method, you don't need to dry the bacon before applying the rub. In fact, it is better that the bacon is a bit damp. The dry rub will stick to the bacon better if it is damp.

Put the bacon on a cookie sheet. Make sure that there is a little bit of room between each slice.

Shake the rub over the bacon. When the bacon is covered, flip the bacon and cover the other side.

After seasoning the bacon, place it in the refrigerator for one hour.

While your bacon is chilling, get your smoker ready. You want it to reach a temperature of 190 degrees and no higher.

It will take about two hours to smoke the bacon. During the process, you should check them every hour or so to see how much grease has accumulated in the pan. If necessary, drain the grease and start smoking again.

The best way to know if your bacon jerky is cooking properly is when the color starts to change. Since bacon is a delicate meat, you want to be sure that you don't smoke it too much.

When your bacon is done being smoked, remove it from the smoker and set it on the countertop. The bacon will continue cooking slowly while it rests.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, blot any excess grease and juice with a paper towel.

Typically, it will take about three hours to cook the bacon. This can vary depending on the brand of bacon that you are using and the thickness.

During the cooking process, you should check on it every hour. This will allow you to remove the bacon as soon as it has reached its desired texture.

After removing the bacon from the oven, you should let it cool down for about 15 minutes.

You can serve the bacon right away, or you can save some for later. To do this, put about 4-ounces of bacon in each vacuum bag. Vacuum bags work the best because they will hold in the smoky flavor.

After sealing the bags, store them in a cool, dark place until you are ready to eat your bacon jerky. If you aren't going to be eating it all for several months, you are better off storing it in the freezer.

If you are going to store your bacon jerky in the freezer, you should allow it to defrost at room temperature. Defrosting the bacon in the microwave can cook the bacon further. This can have a negative effect on the taste and texture of the jerky.

​Final Thoughts

If you follow the directions correctly, you can make delicious bacon jerky. If you don't like any ingredients in the rubs listed above, there are plenty of rub recipes on the internet. You can also come up with your own recipe using ingredients that you like. If you are going to make your own rub recipes, you should understand that wet rubs work best when you are cooking the bacon in the oven. If you are going to smoke the bacon, you should go with a dry rub.

Also, you should understand that while jerky can last for a while, it needs to be stored properly. If you leave your jerky at room temperature for too long, it can spoil, and it can make you sick.

For many people, making the perfect bacon jerky is a trial and error process. You should try different methods and different rubs to find which works best for your taste.

About the Author Nathan

Hi! My name is Nathan and I’m a passionate meat-lover and certified grill connoisseur. I fell in love with grilling food back when I was a little kid when my grandfather used to cook tasty burgers in our backyard every Saturdays.

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