Craving a sweet and savory snack? Tired of regular beef jerky? Then nothing could be better than bacon jerky as it has a lip-smacking taste to satisfy all your food cravings. Bacon jerky is cold and thick-cut bacon which is cut into strips or slices. It comes mainly in two forms, such as processed and home-made.
This delectable delicacy is so easy that you can even learn how to make bacon jerky at home. This delicious snack will spellbind everyone with its chewy bacon flavor. You can make this snack with utmost ease, all you need is the ideal cooking tools, appliances, the perfect recipe, and yeah some basic knowledge too!
Basics of how to make bacon jerky
Bacon jerky has managed to carve a niche in the hearts of food lovers all over the world. The credit goes to its mouth-watering taste, tempting flavor, and nutritional value. You can prepare this flavorsome bacon jerky recipe at home in just 15-20 minutes. However, if you wish to add something special in the marinade, then it might take a longer time comparatively. You can prepare this recipe using a smoker, a dehydrator, or an oven.
- Uncured bacon (2 pounds)
- Brown sugar (1 cup)
- Honey (1/2 cup)
- Sriracha (1/2 cup)
- Ground black pepper (1 teaspoon)
Preparations using an oven
- Defrosting: If the bacon is frozen, then you need to defrost it. Make sure that your bacon contains the fat content at the lowest levels. If you have fresh bacon for the recipe, then there is no need to defrost it.
- Temperature: You need to preheat your oven up to 170 F. Before it gets heated, you can make the marinade. Bacon is considered to be very delicate. That is why the higher temperatures can get it burned, that too in within few seconds.
- Marinade: We will focus on the marinade. It consists of a mix of sweet and spicy ingredients. You can even add other ingredients of your choice to enhance the taste and flavor. For a basic marinade, mix ½ cup of sriracha with 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper with ½ cup of honey and brown sugar in a bowl. Make sure the bacon is dry and put it in the marinade bowl and stir evenly and thoroughly and then cut it into slices.
Cooking Process (Oven)
- Prepare the rack of the oven and put the bacon slices in such a way that their edges do not touch each other. Once the oven temperature reaches 170 F, place the rack inside the oven.
- To collect the dripping fat from the bacon, you will need to place a container or a metal plate under the rack.
- For the best taste, texture, and flavor, it is preferable to grill the bacon in the oven for around 3 hours. You will have to flip the bacon slices once every hour during the 3 hours.
- If the bacon is ready, then remove the rack from the oven and place the bacon slices on paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Leave it for at least 15-20 minutes to let it cool down.
- If you want to keep your bacon for longer, you can pack it in an airtight plastic bag with a ziplock and refrigerate it to eat at a later time.
Cooking Process using a Dehydrator
- If you are using a dehydrator, then all you need to do is to remove the bacon strips from the oven and put them inside the dehydrator.
- Set the temperature on the dehydrator to the highest and keep the bacon inside it for around 3 hours.
- You will need to flip the bacon slices once every hour to examine the condition and then proceed accordingly.
Cooking Process using a Smoker
- If you are using a smoker, then you need to repeat the same process as oven cooking.
- After removing the bacon strips from the oven, you need to place them inside the smoker. For a smoker, you would need charcoal, wood pellets, or wood chips as a fuel and you can even add flavor enhancements, such as garlic and onion to make bacon jerky.
- Set the temperature according to the texture you want to give your bacon jerky. Now observe the condition of the bacon.
Tips/Techniques to Improve Bacon Jerky Recipe
- Temperature settings: You need to keep a check on the temperature settings of the oven when you make bacon jerky as the bacon is very delicate and it might get burnt easily if the temperature of the oven is too high or you leave it for too many hours. Therefore, you need to monitor the condition of the bacon over time to prevent it from getting burnt.
- Slicing: For easy and convenient placing of bacon in the oven, you should cut it either into stripes or in slices. However, for a better cooking experience as a beginner, it is advisable to cut the bacon jerky into slices, so that they can be placed evenly inside the oven.
- Basting: To infuse the taste of the marinade mix, you must use a basting brush to apply the mix to each bacon slice. Although dipping the bacon slices or stripes in the marinade mix bowl is a good idea, you can enhance the intensity of the flavor by basting the bacon slices on both sides using a brush.
- Flipping: You need to flip the bacon slices once every hour to ensure that the bacon is baked evenly from the sides. You need to be careful while flipping the bacon slices. For easy flipping, place the bacon slices evenly and in such a way that their edges do not intersect with each other. You can wear oven gloves to prevent your hands from getting burnt.
How to make bacon jerky – Common Problems
- Smoking/Grilling: If you want to smoke or grill the bacon slices using a smoker, then it is necessary to ensure that the texture of the bacon does not get too hard or crispy. You should keep a check on the texture of the bacon slices when they are placed inside the smoker to get an even and slightly crispy texture along with the classic smoky taste.
- Flavorings: The bacon contains a natural flavor. If you are new to cooking, then keep the flavorings as simple as you can. Adding a lot of flavoring stuff might ruin the original taste and aroma of your dish. Always use the basic aromatic ingredients to add a delectable and lip-smacking taste when you make bacon jerky.
- Temperature: Set the temperatures as per the texture of the bacon jerky you want to. Preheating your oven to the highest temperature setting at the initial stage will not help in reducing the cooking time, instead, it will burn the bacon slices. Increase the temperature gradually as per the condition of the bacon.
Sriracha bacon jerky – Best Practices in the Industry
- Go for fresh and premium-quality bacon
- Always make sure that bacon contains lower levels of fat
- You can use herb seasonings for basting
- You can even go for exotic ingredients and toppings for marinading
- Give preference to the home-made bacon jerky instead of processed ones
- Do not defrost the bacon for more than one week
- Store the bacon in an airtight bag that comes with a ziplock
Trader joe’s bacon jerky – Tools You Can Use
- Metal plate
- Paper towels
- Basting brush
- Baking sheet
- Oven rack
Dehydrating bacon – Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you dehydrate bacon?
Yes, you can dehydrate bacon. All you need to do is to follow the proper procedure to get the best results. Firstly, drain the bacon properly using kitchen paper towels. The fat remaining on the bacon meat in the process of dehydration might turn rancid. The next step is to put the strips of bacon into the dehydrator’s drying tray and then place the tray straight into the machine. Now allow the bacon strips to dehydrate for 7-8 hours to get the best results.
2. Does bacon jerky need to be refrigerated?
If you are consuming fresh jerky, then it does not require refrigeration but if you want to store the bacon jerky, then you need to refrigerate it. Once you open the seal, the jerky needs to be stored in a cold place to maintain freshness, flavor, and texture. However, to keep your bacon jerky fresh for a week, store it in a ziplock bag and squeeze out the air from the bag before refrigeration.
3. What does bacon jerky taste like?
Bacon jerky has a delectable taste. It has a moist texture and is more of an on-the-go snack. The bacon jerky sticks are generally lean with bacon flavor and chewy jerky taste. It is edible at room temperature. It is like a sweet and savory treat made specifically for the bacon and jerky lovers across the globe. You may experience a chewy meaty taste blended with the deliciousness of bacon and brown sugar in every bite.
4. How long does bacon jerky last?
Generally, if you don’t eat it within a couple of hours after opening a pack of bacon jerky, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about one week for further consumption. After that, it tends to lose its freshness and flavor. However, if the bacon jerky is unopened or stored in an airtight container, then it will last long. The processed bacon jerky bought from a store lasts for 1-2 years. If the bacon jerky is made at home, its shelf life is comparatively shorter such as up to a maximum time duration of 3 months.