1: Prepare the Smoker
Following your smokers manufacturers instructions preheat your smoker to 190°F. My top picks for wood to use for bacon jerky are apple, cherry, hickory pecan, or maple. But feel free to use your preferred wood or wood chips.
2: Prepare the Bacon
In a bowl mix together your spice rub. Above I have used brown sugar, sea salt, fresh black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Feel free to sub in your own spice mix. In another bowl mix together honey and sriracha hot sauce.
Set the cooling racks on the cooling trays and lay the bacon out flat. Being sure the bacon pieces are not touching so the smoke can penetrate all parts of the bacon evenly.
Lightly coat your bacon on both sides with your honey and sriracha mix using a basting brush. If you do not like spicy sriracha you can always use bbq sauce or a more mild hot sauce.
Sprinkle over your spice rub. I prefer a light sprinkle. Once you applied the dry rub to one side, flip the bacon over and apply it to the other side. Place in the refrigerator for around an hour.
3: Smoke the Bacon
Place the trays in your smoker. 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 30 minutes of cooking, check the cooling 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. Repeat this process every 30 minutes.
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.
4: Cooking Your Bacon Jerky
At the 2 hour mark, the second cooking process starts. This part of the process will take about 3 hours. If you don’t have an oven or a dehydrator you can continue to use your smoker.
Note: It is important to maintain a steady temperature during the second cooking process.
Start by pre-heating the oven or dehydrator to 190°F. Once at temperature bring your bacon in from the smoker. Dump any accumulated bacon grease and blot the meat to remove as much of the excess grease as possible.
Slide the bacon trays into the oven. This next cook should take anywhere between 2 – 3 hours. If you are using a dehydrator it will be closer to the 2 hour mark.
You should check for the first time after one hour. If you start seeing the desired color 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.
Once the bacon jerky is exactly the way you want it, remove from the oven and let rest on the cooling rack. Remove any excess grease with a paper towel. Once it has cooled it’s now ready to be enjoyed!