Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that can be cooked in a variety of ways. But have you ever tried cooking bacon on a smoker?
Smoking bacon adds a delicious smoky flavor and can give it a crispy texture that’s hard to resist. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, cooking bacon on a smoker is easy and can be done in a variety of ways.
In this article, we’ll explore different methods for cooking bacon on a smoker and share some tips for getting the perfect crispy bacon every time. So, grab your favorite cut of bacon and let’s get started!
How To Cook Bacon On Smoker?
Method 1: Directly on the Grill Grate
One of the simplest ways to cook bacon on a smoker is to place it directly on the grill grate. Preheat your smoker to 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray the grill grates with non-stick spray. Place the bacon slices directly on the grates and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of crispiness. Keep an eye on the bacon towards the end of the cooking time to avoid overcooking or burning.
Method 2: Using a Cooling Rack
Another method for cooking bacon on a smoker is to use a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the top and arrange the bacon slices in a single layer on the rack. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy, flipping halfway through if desired.
Method 3: Candied Bacon
For those with a sweet tooth, candied bacon is a delicious twist on traditional bacon. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and brush maple syrup over the bacon slices. Sprinkle brown sugar or sweetener throughout and place on the grates of the smoker. Smoke for 2 hours or until crispy, then cool before serving.
Choosing The Right Type Of Bacon For Smoking
When it comes to smoking bacon, choosing the right type of bacon is crucial for achieving the best results. While any type of bacon can be used, thick-cut bacon is recommended as it holds up well to the smoking process and retains more of the smoky flavor. The thickness of the bacon also plays a role in how long it takes to cook, so keep this in mind when selecting your bacon.
It’s also important to consider the quality of the bacon. Look for bacon that has a good balance of fat and meat, as this will help prevent the bacon from drying out during smoking. If possible, choose bacon that is free from added hormones and antibiotics, and opt for organic or pasture-raised varieties if available.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with different flavors of bacon such as applewood smoked or peppered bacon. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time and temperature accordingly to ensure the bacon is cooked to perfection.
Preparing Your Smoker For Bacon
Before you start cooking your bacon on a smoker, it’s important to properly prepare your smoker to ensure the best results. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Preheat your smoker: Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature for cooking bacon. For most methods, a temperature of 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
2. Prepare the grill grates: To prevent the bacon from sticking to the grill grates, it’s important to spray them with non-stick spray or brush them with oil before placing the bacon on them.
3. Use a drip pan: Bacon produces a lot of grease when cooking, so using a drip pan underneath the bacon can help prevent flare-ups and keep your smoker clean.
4. Choose your wood chips: The type of wood chips you use can greatly affect the flavor of your bacon. Popular options include hickory, apple, and maple.
5. Monitor the cooking time: Keep an eye on the bacon towards the end of the cooking time to ensure that it doesn’t overcook or burn. The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of your bacon slices and your desired level of crispiness.
By following these steps, you can prepare your smoker for cooking delicious and flavorful bacon that is sure to be a hit with family and friends.
Direct Vs. Indirect Heat: Which Method To Choose?
When it comes to cooking bacon on a smoker, you may be wondering whether to use direct or indirect heat. Direct heat is when the food is placed directly over the heat source, while indirect heat creates two heat zones inside the grill: one that’s hot and an adjacent area that has no direct access to the heat source.
Direct heat is ideal for cooking relatively small or thin pieces of food quickly, such as steaks, chops, chicken breasts, fish fillets, vegetables, and bread. For cooking bacon on a smoker, placing it directly on the grill grate is a simple and straightforward method that can produce crispy bacon in just 20-30 minutes. However, keep an eye on the bacon towards the end of the cooking time to avoid overcooking or burning.
On the other hand, indirect heat is recommended for foods that take longer than 20 minutes to cook. This method allows the food to cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time without being in direct contact with the flame. Indirect heat grilling is usually done with the lid on to trap the heat inside the smoker, and you can add wood chips to turn your smoker into a smoker and infuse the food with extra flavor.
For cooking large pieces of meat like whole chickens, roasts or cedar plank fish, indirect heat grilling is ideal. It’s also recommended for barbecue, where low cooking temperatures are required to turn tough cuts of meat like brisket, ribs and pork shoulder into tender bites.
Tips For Achieving Perfectly Crispy Bacon On A Smoker
1. Keep the bacon cold: Make sure to keep the bacon in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. This will help it cook evenly and prevent it from becoming too greasy.
2. Use a non-stick spray: To prevent the bacon from sticking to the grill grates, use a non-stick spray before cooking.
3. Watch the cooking time: Bacon can quickly go from perfectly crispy to burnt, so keep a close eye on it towards the end of the cooking time.
4. Experiment with different temperatures: Depending on your smoker, you may need to adjust the temperature to achieve your desired level of crispiness.
5. Try different flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and seasonings for your bacon, such as maple syrup or BBQ dry rub.
6. Use a leave-in probe thermometer: To ensure that your bacon is cooked to the proper internal temperature, use a leave-in probe thermometer like the DOT.
7. Let it cool before serving: After removing the bacon from the smoker, let it cool on a paper towel-lined plate before serving to allow excess grease to drip off.
Creative Ways To Use Smoked Bacon In Your Cooking
Once you’ve mastered smoking bacon on your grill, it’s time to get creative with how you use it in your cooking. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Bacon-wrapped anything: Wrap smoked bacon around chicken breasts, asparagus spears, or even shrimp before grilling or baking for a delicious smoky flavor.
2. Bacon jam: Cook up some diced smoked bacon with onions, garlic, brown sugar, and vinegar to make a sweet and savory bacon jam. Spread it on toast or use it as a topping for burgers or grilled cheese sandwiches.
3. Bacon-wrapped dates: Stuff pitted dates with goat cheese and wrap them in smoked bacon for a tasty appetizer or snack.
4. BLT salad: Toss together lettuce, tomatoes, crumbled smoked bacon, and your favorite dressing for a fresh and flavorful salad.
5. Bacon mac and cheese: Add diced smoked bacon to your favorite mac and cheese recipe for an extra layer of smoky goodness.
6. Bacon-wrapped jalapenos: Stuff jalapeno peppers with cream cheese and wrap them in smoked bacon before grilling or baking for a spicy and delicious appetizer.
7. Carbonara pasta: Use diced smoked bacon in place of pancetta in a classic carbonara pasta dish for a smoky twist on the traditional recipe.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using smoked bacon in your cooking. Get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to find your perfect dish.