I was inspired to make bacon jerky after a recent visit to a steakhouse, where they had their own bacon jerky for sale. It was sweet and savoury at the same time with smoky undertones. I’ve always been a big fan of beef jerky, so it was great to taste jerky made with another type of meat.
It’s a really practical snack – pure protein, no carbs and tons of flavour. It’s also a perfect snack to take on a long walk in the countryside.
Since I’ve already made my own beef jerky, I thought making bacon jerky should be easy enough! And I was right! Making bacon jerky is actually easier because the bacon is already cut to thin slices for you and it’s also partly cured.
How to make bacon jerky
I’ve used oven to make my own bacon jerky, but you can use dehydrator if you have one.
To make things a little quicker, I keep my oven little bit open (especially at the beginning, when there is a lot of steam/water escaping). You can do this by putting a wooden mixing spoon in the oven door so it doesn’t shut properly. This helps the steam to escape.
Extra thick bacon (or fresh bacon) will take much longer to cure, so you need to factor this in.
On average you’ll need about 4 hrs to make your bacon jerky, but it might take longer as you need to get rid of most of the bacon fat first before the bacon start drying out.
Whilst beef jerky is usually marinated in sauces, honey and spices before you start to dry/cure it in the oven or dehydrator, bacon has more fat and it’s better to keep the marinate off the bacon until about half way through the process of making it. This speeds up the process a bit.
How do you know the bacon jerky is done?
The bacon strips should be firm so that they don’t bend easily, but equally, they shouldn’t be dried to the point when they snap. A regular nibbling and tasting the bacon jerky is pretty much compulsory as you make it and the best time to stop when you like the texture and the flavour.
I’d suggest that that’s usually about 3-4 hrs into the drying process but it could be longer.
The type of bacon to use
You can use smoked or non-smoked bacon for this recipe, but the smoked version will have deeper flavour. I prefer to use bacon that hasn’t been preserved with nitrite gas as it upsets my stomach.
You don’t cook the bacon before you start the curing process, just keep it as it is (and it’s best not to use cooked bacon for this recipe)
Another tip I can give you for making your own bacon jerky is to buy bacon with the lowest fat content. The fat needs to first come out before the bacon can dry effectively, so buying low fat bacon helps to speed up the process.
It’s best to use fresh bacon, not cooked or frozen (although you can defrost the bacon if you like).
What flavouring to use for your bacon jerky
I kept things really simple and added only honey, but you can try pretty much any type of sauce, like sriracha, barbecue or soya sauce. Instead of honey, you can use maple syrup.
- Honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
- Sriracha sauce
- Black Pepper
Mix all ingredients together to make a thick paste and use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ the marinade on your bacon.
How long does bacon jerky keep for?
It’s best to keep your bacon jerky in a air tight container (like a large jam jar) and eat it within few weeks. The meat is cured, but it might start to develop mould if you keep the bacon jerky in a humid conditions.
You can keep your bacon jerky in the fridge or even freeze it if you want to keep it for longer.
More savoury snack recipes
- Scotch Eggs >>
- Traditional Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs >>
- Buckwheat Crackers >>
- Smoked Paprika Meatloaf Muffins >>
- Meatballs for Spaghetti >>
Bacon Jerky Recipe
- domestic oven or dehydrator
- 500 grams bacon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Cut the bacon slices in half (lengthways). This decreases drying time.
- Place the bacon pieces on a cooling rack, which is placed on a baking tray. This helps to eariate the bacon and allow it to dry quicker.
- Bake at 90C (200 F) or your lowest oven heat setting for 2-3 hours, but keep checking the bacon every 30-45 minutes to make sure it's drying evenly.
- After the initial hour or so add your flavouring. It's easier to use a pastry brush to add the honey and you can use any food sauce you like or add spices.
- Carry on drying until your bacon is perfectly dry and crispy.