What is Bacon Jerky? How to Prepare This Snack at Home?

Bacon jerky? Is this even a thing?

I was surprised myself when I discovered this snack. Absolutely amazing! Being covered in honey and brown sugar, bacon jerky is an American snack prepared from thick-cut bacon. People often use delicious barbecue sauce, maple syrup, or sriracha to enhance the flavour of this snack.

Unlike traditional jerky, bacon jerky is dehydrated or smoked. I found it much easier to prepare at home when you know the right recipe. This honey-coated snack tastes unlike anything you have eaten before. Therefore, follow my recipe below and try out this crazy snack.


Even though it is prepared as jerky, its bacon aroma does not vanish. That’s what separates bacon jerky from traditional beef jerky recipes. 

The recipe does not include too many additives and a top DIY recipe can make it quite a health-promoting snack. The delicious smoky flavor of bacon with other ingredients makes it a wonderful snack to have any time of the year. 

Should I go thick or regular cut for bacon jerky?

Honestly, I think the catch, why bacon jerky is so yummy is the thickness of the slice. When you have thicker slices, they usually tend to be softer, chewier and stock way more flavour. This is one of the secrets why does it taste so good.

The flavour enhances a lot when you smoke the dried bacon for an hour or so. If you want to add specific characteristics to the flavour of bacon jerky, check out my article about the best wood for smoking brisket. Beef jerky tends to be very similar to brisket in terms of absorbing the flavour. 

I love my bacon jerky mildly sweet and spicy, where as I smoke it in applewood and hickory mix.


Why Should You Try the DIY Bacon Jerky?

Bacon jerky is something new in the world of jerky. Regular jerky got millions of fans and the bacon jerky growing in popularity big time. Many brands produce this delicious snack and most of them now offer bacon jerky. 

Different brands try different marketing tactics to attract customers. Some explain health benefits and some claim to offer the most unique flavor. Believe me, bacon jerky tastes great only if it is smoked properly. Readymade jerky usualy is not smoked at all.  

DIY bacon jerky is loaded with the bacon flavor and it is pretty lean. You would love to chew many pieces at a time and you won’t feel tired. That’s how delicious this snack tastes when you follow a perfect recipe to prepare it at home. 

Bacon jerky is mainly prepared from thick-cut bacon. It has jerky in the name, but you won’t find too many similarities between the traditional jerky and bacon jerky. Regular jerky is marinated and then dried and the bacon jerky is smoked and then dried. 

Smoked bacon jerky recipe

You can discover many recipes online to prepare mouth-watering bacon jerky. The recipe I have chosen requires very little preparation and provides the best taste. You only need hot sauce, honey, and 1 tsp of seasoning to marinate the bacon. You can replace the hot sauce with any BBQ sauce of your choice. 

Blend all the ingredients in a small bowl and then apply the blend to perfectly sliced bacon strips by your hands. Coat each strip perfectly to fill the flavor inside the meat. 

Bacon slices usually come smaller than beef, therefore it does not take long to marinade. You should dip your bacon in marinade and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Do not leave the marinated meat at room temperature because bacterial growth can reduce the quality. Put it in a refrigerator for 20-30 minutes and use that time to warm up your smoker.  


You will need:

  • A smoker
  • Applewood chips or Hickory wood chips
  • Lump Charcoal
  • Basting Brush
  • An airtight container
  • 2 pounds of bacon
  • 1tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce of your choice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • Turn on the smoker and heat it to 93°C or 200°F. This smoking temperature should be maintained throughout the process to get the best result. 
  • Pour some wood chips inside the firebox once you get a steady temperature. 
  • Blend all the ingredients perfectly in a small or medium-sized bowl. The marinade should be ready now and you have to coat bacon completely with it. You can use a pastry brush or your hands to coat bacon evenly and then sprinkle brown sugar. 
  • Now, pick smoker grates and set marinated bacon strips over them. There should be a ½” gap between each strip. Now, use a baking tray to pick bacon and catch drippings. 
  • You have to smoke marinated bacon strips for 2 hours at 90°C. Turn over each bacon strip to ensure it smokes and cooks evenly. 
  • Take out all the bacon strips from the smoker and let the grease drain completely. 
  • Now, preheat your oven at 190°F and cook bacon strips for more than two hours. Thus, jerky will dry out and you will get a familiar jerky-like crunchy texture. 
  • The bacon jerky is ready. Take it out of the oven and use paper towels to pat down all strips. Pack all the strips in an airtight container to store them for long-term use. 

Isn’t the recipe quite simple? Some of you may say that it is a time-consuming process, but that’s how you cook delicious bacon jerky. 

Airtight bags or containers will preserve the crunchiness and smoky flavor of the jerky for several months. So, follow each step carefully to prepare and preserve jerky properly.  


How to Smoke Bacon Jerky?

You are going to enjoy the smoking process if you’ve turned on the smoker and run it at 200°F. Pick the marinated bacon and you are all set to go. 

Set up meat pieces on an aluminum foil plate and put that foil on a baking tray. All the fatty drippings from bacon strips will collect in the tray and you will have perfectly smoked bacon strips. 

It requires at least one to two hours to smoke bacon jerky perfectly. Unlike cold smoking, you can check and turn bacon strips every 30 minutes to smoke them evenly from all sides. The baking tray will collect all the grease dropped from bacon strips. You have to replace it if it gets filled within 20-30 minutes. 

Start the preparation for the cooling process as the 60-90 minutes’ marker passes. The tray should be prepared in a way that smoked bacon strips do not contact the wood. Once the smoking process has been completed, preheat your oven and transfer bacon strips to that oven. 

Run the oven at 190°F and cook bacon strips for more than two hours. It will suck the moisture out of jerky and make it dry and crunchy. 

Your bacon jerky is almost ready. Take bacon strips out of the oven and see how deep and dark the color is. It must have a jerky-like texture and the delicious aroma of smoked bacon. 

Put all the bacon strips on a cooling rack and later store them in an airtight container. You should not take bacon strips out of the smoker time and again when smoking. It can severely affect the quality and taste of bacon strips. Be patient and follow the suggested method to get the best results! 


Best tips on getting high-quality bacon for jerky

Being a widely chosen breakfast food in America, bacon is used in many recipes. Since demands for bacon are pretty high, choosing high-quality meat can be a daunting task. Consider the following factors before you place the order for bacon to produce top-quality bacon jerky. 

  • Buy fresh meat from a local butcher shop:

Most people go to the local supermarket when it comes to buying fresh meat. You may believe the supermarket counters feature fresh and recently sourced meat, but it can be much older than the promised date. 

Since you are preparing bacon jerky, you should look for fresh and recently produced meat. Decide to buy it from a local butcher shop. Ask the retailer to provide the most recently produced meat. 

You will certainly get fresh and healthy bacon at a more affordable price. Buy it right before preparing for bacon jerky and thus you will get top-quality meat for delicious jerky. 

  • Avoid cheap stuff!

It takes time to produce high-quality bacon! Not all retailers and butchers are ready to wait that long. Therefore, companies and factories inject certain chemicals to speed up production. 

Chemicals used for curing bacon can be quite harmful to consumers. Regular consumption of meats treated with nitrate can increase the risk of cancer. Therefore, you should choose factories famous for producing high-quality bacon. 

It is an important precaution if you want to stay healthy while consuming factory-produced meat. Avoid brands and factories infamous for trying poor meat-producing practices! 

  • Which type of cut is perfect for the bacon jerky recipe?

Bacon is available in different types of cuts. The standard cut bacon is about 1/16” thick and it is perfect for all recipes. You can fry it or use it to produce delicious jerky at home. Thick-cut strips are much thicker than standard bacon. These are perfect for cooking soups and pasta. 

Center cut bacon is prepared from pork belly. It contains 30% less fat than other types of cuts. This cut is ideal for producing healthy bacon jerky and many other dishes. Suppose you want to cut the meat according to your recipe’s demands, buy slab cut meat. Take it home and cut it according to your needs. 

  • Which type of cure?

Pork becomes bacon when it is cured in salt. Different people follow a different curing method to produce delicious meats. 

Most commercial brands wet-cure pork belly to produce bacon. Pork is brined into saltwater and sodium nitrate blends to add preservatives. Pumped bacon is also produced through this curing process. 

Dry-cured bacon is not quite popular nowadays. It is a traditional curing method in which salt, sugar, spices, and sodium nitrate is rubbed on pork meat to produce bacon. 

Uncured bacon is quite confusing for meat lovers. Producers use naturally produced nitrates to preserve the meat. That’s how uncured bacon is produced and it does not contain any chemical additives. 

Cured bacon poses the risks of cancer and uncured bacon is free of additives. Therefore, you should consider the last alternative for producing bacon jerky. 


What to know before smoking bacon jerky?

The ultimate taste of smoked meats mainly depends on the type of wood or fuel you have used to smoke your meat. Consider the below-given factors when buying wood chips to smoke bacon for jerky:

The wood must be hard:

The first thing you have to look at in the wood is its hardness. If the fuel consists of hardwood, it will have a much denser structure and the wood will burn at a slow rate. You get good smoke after burning hardwood. 

Since softwood burns too fast, it does not produce enough smoke to offer enough smoke to prepare delicious bacon. Choose hardwood to smoke your bacon if you want better flavor. 

Choose seasoned wood:

Seasoned wood is dry and it burns quite consistently. You get whitish and thinner smoke when the wood is wet. White smoke contains impurities that severely affect the flavor of your meat. 

You can go to the local market to buy wood chips produced from aged or manually cooked woods. Such wood chips do not contain any moisture and produce better smoke for smoking. 

You should look for wood pieces that contain no bark or very little bark to ensure these are produced from seasoned woods. Such wood chips do not change bacon’s flavor and help you produce delicious beef jerky at home. 

What is the main heat source?

Wood chips are used to produce smoke and these are not the main heat source in the smoker. What is the main fuel you use to produce heat inside the smoker? Most users pick charcoal or briquettes to produce heat. 

Wood chips are added to burning fuel to produce smoke. People used to use only wood to produce smoke and cook the meat. You have to burn large wood chunks before hanging the meat to smoke it and cook it. 

The traditional smoking method is not quite efficient because it is more polluting than modern solutions. Choose coal or briquettes as the main fuel source and then add wood chips to produce flavored smoke. 

Flavor and fragrance:

The last and probably the most important thing you have to consider is the flavor or fragrance of the smoke. Fragrance and flavor depend on the wood’s thickness. Harder woods are perfect for smoking brisket and pork shoulders. 

Suppose you are smoking delicate meats, such as fish or chicken, you should choose woods with a softer fragrance. Fruit woods are perfect for smoking thin or delicate slices of meat. 

You should avoid both hard and softwoods when smoking bacon. Prefer something in-between hard and softwoods to get the perfect smokey flavor. You can add two or more types of woods together to produce a perfect flavor! 


Best Wood for Bacon Jerky:

Smoking is an important part of any bacon jerky recipe. Mouth-watering bacon strips are produced when you pick the best wood to smoke the meat. If you are considering the type of wood used to smoke brisket, check out my article about best woods for smoking brisket. Consider the following two options in woods to smoke bacon strip:

  • Applewood

Applewood is known for its excellent aroma. Most users choose this wood to smoke a variety of meats and it is also a good option to smoke bacon. Being a soft smoking wood, applewood burns much faster. 

We have recommended avoiding softwood because you need wood chips to smoke bacon for 2 hours. However, only apple wood can add that charming aroma and flavor to the bacon and you should blend it with other hardwood.  

Suppose you want to use only applewood, buy it in large quantities. You should have enough wooden chips to produce thick smoke for two hours. Cherry wood is a good alternative when applewood is not available. 

  • Hickory

Ask any expert chef about the best wood for smoking bacon. Most will recommend Hickory. It is much harder than aromatic cherry and apple woods. This wood is used mainly to produce good cooking heat and darker smoke. 

Hickory is known to add a bit stronger flavor to beef and bacon. It has been used for smoking meats for many centuries and you can easily buy it at a local store. 

You can use hickory to produce good heat and smoke and then add applewood chips for a sweeter flavor. That’s how you can smoke bacon strips perfectly without affecting their flavor. 

Is Bacon Jerky Better Than Beef Jerky?

You may be familiar with the beef jerky method and you may have prepared this snack several times at home. Is bacon jerky better than beef jerky? This question will puzzle you when you plan to try the recommended method. 

You can prepare bacon jerky in many different ways. It can have way more flavors than beef jerky. It can be sweet, spicy, peppery, or you can blend multiple ingredients to have a unique flavor. You don’t get such a freedom when preparing beef jerky. It has limited flavor and some of them are extremely delicious. 

Thousands of Americans want to prepare DIY Bacon Jerky because its recipe can be extremely simple. It feels soft, juicy, and less chew when prepared perfectly. All your guests will demand for more if you master the art of making perfectly smoked bacon jerky. 

It takes hours to prepare beef jerky. You don’t get the right flavor if you don’t follow a perfect recipe. There is no such issue with bacon jerky because bacon’s flavor will always make it delicious and aromatic. 

Should You Buy Bacon Jerky or Prepare It at Home?

The growing popularity of bacon jerky has encouraged many brands to sell it online and local food stores. Most people have bought this snack and found it pretty delicious. What if you want store bacon jerky in bulk? Buying too many packs can easily affect your budget. 

Use that money to prepare bacon jerky at home. You already know the simplest way of making the most delicious bacon jerky. Prepare it at home and you will save a lot of money and get the freshest jerky to store at home. 


How to Store Bacon Jerky to Maintain Its Delicious Flavor?

You can store bacon jerky for the next two years if you store it properly. You do not need to refrigerate it to increase its shelf life. Let jerky strips dry properly and then put all the strips in an airtight jar. That’s how you store bacon jerky. 

It is not necessary to keep the jerky jar in a refrigerator. You may actually damage its texture and flavor if you store it in a cold place. Keep it at room temperature and close the jar perfectly after munching a few jerky strips. Thus, you can have delicious bacon jerky with its smoky flavor for the next two years! 

Final thoughts

To sum up, preparing bacon Jerky is quite easy when you got the right equipment, ingredients, and smoking supplies. We have explained how to prepare the recipe and what procedure to follow to produce delicious bacon jerky. 

Try the recipe today if you are free and want to have the best snack for munching. It will take just a few hours, but your DIY Bacon Jerky will certainly lure many people! 

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