When some of you hear the words bacon & jerky in the same sentence you must think that I have made a typo. No ladies and gents I have just introduced you to your new favourite snack. Bacon jerky is delicious, and even better it’s hard to go wrong when making it. Since even badly cooked bacon is still absolutely delicious. So, how to make bacon jerky? To start with you do need to consider a few things.
The most important part of this recipe is the temperature at which you are cooking the bacon jerky. It is vital to keep the bacon jerky at the recommended temperature. Since you want it to cook and cure a certain way, and cooking too fast or too slowly won’t give you that perfect bacon jerky that you’re looking for.
You’ll also need a smoker to make this bacon jerky recipe. If you’re not fortunate enough to have one, consider getting an electric smoker. I have a breakdown of my favourite electric smokers, at the top of my list is the Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, then you can also use an oven set to a lower temperature for this bacon jerky recipe.
What You Will Need To Make Bacon Jerky
- 2 cookie sheets
- 2 cooling racks
- Wood smoker (or oven or dehydrator)
- Hickory wood
- Zipper-lock plastic bags for storage
Ingredients For Bacon Jerky
- 2 pounds of regular-cut bacon
- Brown sugar
- Black pepper (coarse is best)
- Garlic Powder
Tip: Getting regular-cut bacon is important because thick-cut won’t work as well as you hope it will, and thin-cut will cook far too quickly.
Preparing the Meat and Fire
Set the cooling racks on the cookie sheets and lay the bacon out, being sure none of it is touching so the smoke can get to all parts of the bacon. Be sure you know how to defrost meat, for this recipe it is very important you use thoroughly defrosted bacon. If you are doing more than 2 pounds of bacon, you will likely need more cookie sheets and cooling racks.
Lightly sprinkle with the seasonings for a dry rub. Follow your personal preferences, but I recommend starting with a light dusting of garlic powder, a heavy pinch of black pepper, and a medium pinch of brown sugar.
Once you apply the dry rub to one side, flip the bacon over and apply it to the other side. Place the prepared bacon on the racks in the refrigerator for an hour while you prepare the smoker.
Start a fire with charcoal, and once it’s going well, you can begin adding the hickory wood. Carefully monitor the temperature of the smoker where your bacon will be, and make sure it’s staying right around 190°F.
Smoking the Bacon Jerky
This is the first part of the cooking process and will take about 2 hours. Make sure that the bacon is kept as far from the fire as possible and that the temperature remains right around 190°F. Allowing it to cook to quickly or slowly will end in a bad batch of bacon jerky.
After 1 hour of cooking, check the cookie trays for excess bacon grease. If they’re full, then you’ll want to dump them. Whether or not you save the drippings for other recipes or put it in an old coffee can to throw out is up to you.
At this point, you’ll also want to make sure it’s cooking evenly on both sides by carefully turning several pieces over. As long as the temperature is steady, you likely won’t have to worry about this problem, but it’s good to check anyway and flip them all if you feel the bottom is cooking faster than the top.
Cooking The Bacon Jerky
This is the second part of the cooking process that the bacon will go through before it becomes bacon jerky. This part of the process will take about 3 hours. Once again, it is important to maintain a steady temperature during the cooking process, though this is typically easier in an oven.
Bring your bacon in from the smoker and start by pre-heating the oven to 190°F. As it heats up, you’ll want to dump any accumulated bacon grease and blot the meat to remove as much of the grease as possible.
Slide the cookie sheets into the oven, and be prepared to start checking it often as you don’t want to let it cook for too long or it will end up getting ruined. It will be done when it changes in colour and texture and is still pliable.
You should check for the first time after one hour. If you start seeing the desired colour and texture changes, you’ll need to start checking more often to make sure it doesn’t go too far. It’s not uncommon to be checking every 15 minutes near the end of the process.
Serving Bacon Jerky
Once the bacon jerky is exactly the way you want it, you’ll want to pull it out of the oven and once again remove any grease that may be in the cookie trays below or still on the meat itself. It’s now ready to be enjoyed and leftovers can be saved for later!
How To Store Bacon Jerky
Make sure you get all of the grease off before you store your bacon jerky. Then, it’s a simple matter of putting about 4 ounces of bacon jerky in each Zipper-lock plastic bag. If you have a vacuum sealer, then you can use that to keep it even fresher!
Keep your bacon jerky in a cool, dry, dark place so they’ll be ready for you whenever you want to enjoy them. Because they’re delicious and packed with protein they make a great snack for hiking. You can also give it away to friends who will certainly appreciate the gift!
How To Make Bacon Jerky In A Dehydrator
If you have ever wondered if you can dehydrate bacon jerky, you’re in luck.
- First, you want to cook your bacon then spend about 20 minutes drying out your bacon on paper towels to remove as much grease as possible.
- Turn on your dehydrator and set for about 15 hours. Put your bacon in and get it started.
- Every two to three hours, pull out the bacon jerky and pat them dry. You find each time they will be more grease.
- When the timer ends shut off the dehydrator and let them sit for another hour or two.
- Store the bacon jerky in a sealed container and consume within 7 days.
If you have ever wondered how to make bacon jerky, this should have cured your cravings. Making bacon jerky is a lot like a smoked pork butt time and care, but it’s well worth it for the amazing snack you get at the end that you can keep for yourself or share with others. Remember this recipe uses electric smokers, however, you can also use an oven. Because of the amount of time it takes, we recommend making as much as you can at once so you don’t have to go through this whole process every time you want some bacon jerky.