Bacon is a beloved breakfast food that can be cooked in a variety of ways. But have you ever considered cooking bacon on a smoker?
Smoking bacon adds a delicious smoky flavor and crispy texture that will take your breakfast game to the next level. Plus, cooking bacon on a smoker is easy and requires minimal effort.
In this article, we will explore different methods for cooking bacon on a smoker, including temperature settings, cook times, and seasoning options. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, you’ll be able to cook perfect bacon on your smoker in no time.
So let’s fire up the smoker and get started!
How To Cook Bacon On Smoker?
There are several methods for cooking bacon on a smoker, each with its own unique twist. Here are some of the most popular ways to cook bacon on a smoker:
Preparing Bacon For Smoker
Before you can smoke bacon, it needs to be prepared properly. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Cure the pork belly: Combine all ingredients for the bacon cure in a bowl. Spread the paste-like consistency on all sides of the pork belly, making sure to thoroughly coat it. Seal the pork belly in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for 7 days, flipping and massaging it once per day.
2. Develop a pellicle: After 7 days, remove the bacon from the bag and rinse it gently to remove any slimy build-up on the exterior. Pat it dry with paper towels and season the top with fresh cracked black pepper. Leave it uncovered on a wire rack in the fridge for 12-24 hours to develop a tacky coating called a pellicle.
3. Smoke the bacon: Preheat your smoker to 160-170 degrees F using your favorite hardwood, such as apple, maple, or hickory. Place the pork belly directly on the grill grates and smoke for approximately 6 hours, or until the internal temperature of the pork belly reads 155 degrees F.
4. Slice and cook: Let the bacon chill completely in the refrigerator before slicing. Slice your bacon as thick or as thin as you like and fry up in a cast iron skillet. Enjoy!
It’s important to note that there are many different kinds of wood that can be used for smoke flavor on your bacon, such as cherry wood or hickory. The amount of smoke flavor you want to infuse into your meat is up to you, but remember that lower temperatures will produce more smoke flavor. With these simple steps, you can prepare delicious smoked bacon right at home on your smoker.
Choosing The Right Wood For Smoking Bacon
When it comes to smoking bacon, choosing the right wood is crucial in achieving the perfect flavor. While hickory is a popular choice for smoking bacon due to its sweet and smoky flavor, other woods can also be used to impart unique and delicious flavors.
One option is applewood, which is slightly stronger than alder wood but still mild in flavor. Applewood works well with pork, making it a great choice for smoking bacon. Another option is maple wood, which produces a sweet and subtle flavor that is perfect for bacon. Pecan wood is also a great choice for smoking bacon, as it has a strong nutty smell but a mild flavor that complements the meat well.
It’s important to note that mesquite wood should be avoided when smoking bacon, as its strong and concentrated flavor can easily overpower the meat. Additionally, oak wood may not be the best choice for bacon, as it has a clean burn and sweet flavor that pairs better with beef and pork.
Ultimately, the choice of wood will depend on personal preference and the desired flavor profile. Experimenting with different woods can lead to discovering new and delicious ways to smoke bacon on a smoker.
Setting Up The Smoker For Bacon
Before you start smoking your bacon, you need to set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature, which should be around 175 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using a charcoal smoker, the temperature will fluctuate between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If using an electric or gas smoker, you can set it right at 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
For smoking fuel, use hickory, apple, or cherry wood or other preferred hardwood (or blend of woods). Personally, I find mesquite too strong. Depending on your smoker, you’ll use chunks, chips, sawdust or pellets.
Once your smoker is preheated and ready to go, it’s time to smoke your bacon. Place your cured pork belly on the grill grates of the smoker and close the lid. Keep the temperature as low as possible (around 165 degrees Fahrenheit) and smoke for about 6 hours or until the internal temperature is up to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important to invest in a good quality thermometer to ensure that your bacon is cooked to perfection. I always recommend ThermoWorks thermometers because they are insanely accurate and very durable.
After smoking your bacon, allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before slicing to desired thickness and storing. If you have the patience, chill the bacon completely before slicing. It’ll make the job much easier when the meat is cold. You can use a meat slicer if you’ve got one, but a really sharp knife will also do the job.
Smoking Bacon At The Right Temperature
Smoking bacon at the right temperature is crucial to achieving that perfectly smoked flavor and texture. The ideal temperature for smoking bacon is between 180-220 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to note that you don’t want to exceed 220 degrees Fahrenheit as this can cause the fat to render out and result in dry and tough bacon.
When smoking bacon on a smoker, it’s recommended to use hardwood such as apple, hickory, or cherry for the best flavor. You can use chunks, chips, sawdust, or pellets depending on your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 175 degrees Fahrenheit and add your smoking fuel.
Once the smoker is preheated, place the bacon directly on the grate and allow it to smoke for around 2-3 hours. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a leave-in probe thermometer to keep track of the pork’s internal temperature and make sure not to overcook it.
If you’re having trouble keeping your smoker below 165 degrees Fahrenheit, keep an eye on the internal temperature of the bacon. If it reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes, pull it off even if you haven’t gone the full 2-3 hours. You don’t want to risk melting all the fat out of your bacon.
Remember, smoking bacon is always done at low temperatures to cook the pork through and add smoky flavor without rendering any of the fat in the belly. So keep the temperatures low and slow for that perfect smoky bacon flavor.
Timing Is Everything: How Long To Smoke Bacon
The amount of time it takes to smoke bacon on a smoker can vary depending on the temperature and thickness of the bacon. For example, if you’re smoking at a low temperature of around 165 degrees F, it can take up to 6 hours for the bacon to fully smoke. However, if you’re smoking at a higher temperature of around 300 degrees F, the bacon can be ready in as little as 20-30 minutes.
To ensure that your bacon is cooked to your desired level of doneness, it’s important to keep a close eye on the internal temperature of the meat. For thicker slices of bacon, it’s recommended to smoke for around 3 hours at a temperature under 165 degrees F, checking the internal temperature regularly to avoid overcooking.
If you prefer a crispier texture, smoking at a higher temperature of around 300 degrees F for 25-40 minutes can produce deliciously crispy bacon. However, it’s important to monitor the bacon closely during this time to prevent burning or overcooking.
Ultimately, the key to perfectly smoked bacon is finding the right balance between cooking time and temperature. Experiment with different methods and temperatures until you find the perfect combination that suits your taste preferences.
Seasoning Your Bacon For Extra Flavor
If you’re looking to add some extra flavor to your bacon, there are many seasoning options to choose from. For a sweeter bacon flavor, consider adding brown sugar, maple syrup, or molasses. These ingredients will give your bacon a deliciously sweet and savory taste. If you prefer a more savory flavor, try adding red chili pepper, paprika, cumin, garam masala, black pepper, or even jalapenos. These seasonings will give your bacon a spicy kick that’s sure to please.
One popular seasoning option for bacon lovers is Boss Hog Bacon Flavored Seasoning. This seasoning is bursting with the delicious flavor of bacon and can be sprinkled over just about anything. Use it to add a bacony flavor to veggies, sushi, or even Pepto Bismol (if that’s your thing). Vegetarians can even join in on the fun with this seasoning.
If you want to make your own seasoning blend for bacon, there are many options to choose from. For a spicy bacon salt blend, add cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, or pepper flakes. To create a sweet and savory bacon salt blend, add brown sugar or maple crystals to the mixture. And for a warm and spicy bacon salt blend, try adding pumpkin pie spice or cardamom.
No matter which seasoning option you choose, be sure to brush it onto your bacon before cooking it on the smoker. This will allow the flavors to infuse into the meat and create a deliciously flavored bacon that’s sure to impress.