Bacon is downright incredible just the way it is!! Then there’s bacon jerky🤯. Bacon Jerky takes that smoky delicious porky goodness and combines it with the texture of beef jerky. It literally blew my mind the first time I made it.
There are only a few steps to making Bacon Jerky and it all starts with thick sliced cured and smoked bacon. This will give you the best results. If you use thin (regular) sliced bacon the end result will be crispy, and we are looking for chewy. As far as getting the bacon, you can either make it yourself or buy some from the store already sliced. Either way works. Once you have the bacon you will need to decide on what flavor you would like you bacon jerky to have (limitless options) and create a marinade to brush onto the bacon. Finally, you’ll just place that marinade coated bacon into your smoker till it’s dried to your liking. Sounds simple.
Making the Marinade
I love how customizable this recipe is. The options for flavors are limitless. Honey, Maple Syrup, Soy Sauce (low Sodium), BBQ Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, or Worcestershire sauce offer a great base to your marinade. Adding garlic, dark brown sugar, onion powder, ginger, coriander, Korean gochujang, black pepper, cayenne pepper or even chipotle powder will add beautiful layers and complexity to your bacon jerky.
What I try and shoot for is a marinade that not too watery but not too thick as well. Almost like a glaze that’s very easily spreadable with a brush. So, after you’ve mixed all of your marinade ingredients, if you notice that it’s a little runny, just reduce the sauce on a medium heat till it reaches the perfect consistency.
Drying the meat
We will be using our Smokin-It smoker with the Jerky dryer attachment to dry our bacon. This is my favorite way to this tasty meat snack for several reasons. First, I can add additional smoke to my bacon jerky. Second, these digital smokers are very precise at keeping the temperature so I can maintain that 200f through the entire cook without overcooking my jerky, and finally I can make LOTS it. These smokers have a lot of capacity so I can really pack that bacon in there for 1 big load! I will be adding a Jerky Dryer (also from Smokin-It smokers) to the top of our smoker. This “jerky drier” pulls moisture out of the smoker, in essence turning the smoker into a huge dehydrator. The benefit of using this is cook time. I’ve noticed that it cuts the cook time almost in half.
Can you use an oven to make Bacon Jerky? Sure, but most ovens are not designed to keep a very low temperature so if you choose to use an oven, you’ll have to do some clever temperature management otherwise you’ll end up with crispy candied bacon which let’s be honest is pretty amazing as well. To use your oven set your temp as low as it will go, preferably 200f and leave the oven door open by about an inch. This will allow moisture to escape. Halfway through the cooking process, blot the bacon dry and flip it over, blot again. Continue cooking till it reaches the desired consistency of dryness
Enjoy the video and the recipe where I take you through the entire process of making this double smoked sweet & spicy bacon jerky. If you have any questions let me know.
Here are a few things you might find useful when making Bacon Jerky
- Smoker from Smokin-it (I use the Model 4D Digital WiFi)
- Jerky Dryer for a Smokin It Smoker (This speeds up the process and turns your smoker into a dehydrator)
- Seafood Racks for Smokin-it Smoker (these are nice but can be made with regular racks)
- Stainless Steel drying racks (for drying jerky once finished)
- Heavy Duty Kitchen Vacuum Sealer (for storage)
Double Smoked Sweet & Spicy Bacon Jerky
Prepare the Marinade
- Start by preparing your marinade. This will flavor your bacon jerky. The recipe above is what I like when making a sweet/spicy version, but you can get as creative as you want here. Maybe even try different flavor combinations.
- In a sauce pan add the brown sugar, soy sauce, cayenne, and sriracha. On a medium heat, bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to reduce. This should only take 8-10 minutes. Set to the side to cool
- As a side note, if you marinade is already thick there is no need to reduce it on the stope top.
- Place your thick sliced bacon on your racks and coat each side with the cooled marinade.
- Place bacon inside your smoker and set the temp to 200f (93.3c). If you are going to double smoke the bacon this is the time to do it. I added 2 ounces (56g) of hickory wood chips for 3 pounds of bacon, but this is a personal preference.
- After the bacon has been smoked (mine took 1 hour) and no more smoke is coming out of the vents it's time to start drying the bacon. The amount of time it takes to dry your bacon will be dependent on the type of smoker you have. I have a smokin-it smoker #4D Digital Wifi and I added the Jery Drier to the top (which turns my smoker into a huge dehydrator). If you are using a different set up it might take a little longer. Just keep an eye on it.
- After an hour of drying (so 2 hours so far) and maintaining a 200f (93.3c) temp, open the smoker and blot any rendered bacon fat off of your bacon, flip the bacon over and do the same for the underside. If you would like to recoat your bacon with a little glaze (optional), this would be the time to do it. Close the smoker and continue drying
- With the set up I am using my bacon Jerky was ready around the 3½-hour mark (total time in the smoker). But if you are using a different setup, it might take 4-6 hours. Either way you can start checking for doneness at the 3-hour mark (great excuse to start nibbling on this great bacon jerky).
- To test for doneness: Take a piece of bacon out of the smoker, blot it dry and let it cool (5-6 minutes). Hold the bacon up right. It should stand up with a slight bend towards the top. Also, if you fold the bacon in half, it shouldn't snap. You should be able to tear the bacon in half and it will make a clean tear. The texture will be chewy like jerky. Cook time is a personal preference so you can experiment with different times to see what you like the best.
Storing your jerky
- To store your jerky, you can either refrigerate it for up to 14 days in a zip lock bag. In a vacuum sealed bag, you can keep your bacon jerky in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks or place it in vacuum sealed bags and store in the freezer for up to 12 months
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