How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

Detailed instructions on how to make delicious bacon jerky in an oven, a dehydrator or an electric smoker. Plus, three selected recipes.
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 30, 2023
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It’s easy to get bacon jerky from the store. In fact, people have been doing it for so long, and you can get all the different flavors in one spot. However, it can get expensive, which is why some people avoid it despite being such a tasty meal. That said, the option of making bacon jerky at home is always there, although many people don’t know about it. Even some that are familiar with it brush it off since they assume you need specialized equipment.

Homemade bacon jerky only requires an oven, time, and the ingredients for the snack. That said, having a dehydrator or smoker and a penchant for trying different bacon jerky recipes should allow you to experience the different flavors that the snack has to offer.

How to make bacon jerky in a dehydrator

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

Ultimately, most people who’ve tried making bacon jerky will tell you that recipes that involve a dehydrator tend to yield the best results. As such, if the plan is to try a different bacon jerky recipe every chance you get, the investment in a dehydrator might pay off in the long run.

The NESCO Gardenmaster Pro comes highly recommended by past users and reviewers as an effective and affordable dehydrator. It works by pushing heated air up and across the trays where you’ve placed your bacon. Additionally, it’s a relatively large device that can hold a few trays of bacon in each cooking session. Aside from the dehydrator, you will still need to use your oven for this recipe.

The rest of the materials that you’ll need are a cookie sheet, a cooling rack, and an applicator brush. The cooling rack needs to be slightly smaller than the cookie sheet. After all, the cookie sheet plays an important role since it catches the grease that drips from the bacon.

As for the ingredients you need:

  • 1 pound sliced bacon
  • Dry rub
  • Marinade – The marinade you choose will depend on options available and tastes but feel free to experiment with your favorite options

Any homemade bacon jerky recipe, whether it’s completed on a dehydrator, oven, or smoker, needs a low and slow cooking process, so be prepared to wait a few hours for it to be done.

First, preheat the oven. Remember, the premise is low and slow, and 200°F is the right temperature to do it on an oven. Some people even prefer going lower, but 200°F should work just fine for the first few recipes regardless of oven brand.

As the oven’s heating up, place your bacon strips on the rack. Space them out for the best cooking results, and remember to add the cookie sheet below the rack. If you don’t align these two pieces of equipment well, the grease will drip from the bacon directly into the oven and may be difficult to clean or remove. It can also catch fire.

You can then add the dry rub. Bacon is naturally greasy and moist, and you are trying to dry it out by eliminating most of the moisture. As such, adding your typical seasonings and marinades may be counterproductive since they’re often moist. However, a dry rub is different. Also, make sure to apply it on both sides of the bacon.

If you don’t have a dry rub, a mix of black pepper, brown sugar, and salt will work just fine. After that, place the rack and sheet in the oven and go about your other chores for the day. Check on the bacon periodically, and you can blot out any grease that pools on the bacon slices. This might go on for a while. However, after two to three hours, you can take your bacon strips out of the oven.

At this juncture, add some of the seasonings and marinade that are necessary for your recipe. You’re not done cooking just yet. However, instead of returning the bacon strips to the oven, you put them in your dehydrator.

Like an oven, the dehydrator allows you to set the cooking temperature. This time go for something in the 160°F to 190°F range. Let the bacon strips cook for another 2-3 hours. Furthermore, check on the texture and whether it matches your needs before taking the jerky out.

Let the jerky rest for a while, and use a paper towel to remove most of the remaining grease. After that, your bacon snack is now ready for serving.

How to make bacon jerky in the oven

For those without a dehydrator or a smoker, the oven is still a pretty good option. Besides the oven, you’ll still need a cooling rack, a cookie sheet, and an applicator brush. The ingredients are also the same, including the 1 pound sliced bacon, dry rub, and the marinade. You can forego either the dry rub or the marinade if you don’t have them at home. Again, the mix of brown sugar, black pepper, and a pinch of salt will do just fine.

In a similar fashion to the dehydrator recipe, you will preheat the oven to 200°F before adding the bacon strips. Remember they should be on a cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet. You should also apply your dry rub before you put the bacon in the oven.

Occasionally blot grease from the bacon slices up until you’re close to the three-hour mark. After that, take out the bacon, use paper towels to get rid of most of the grease and return it to the oven. You can add some extra marinade or seasoning if necessary.

Contrary to the dehydrator, where you reduce the cooking temperature, the heat in the oven should stay constant. That said, you still end up cooking for the same 2-3 hour period or until the right texture is achieved. After that, remove the jerky, let it rest and blot out any remaining grease before enjoying the snack.

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

How to make bacon jerky in a smoker

Next, we look at how to make the best of a smoked bacon jerky recipe. The smoker is one of the best ways to cook bacon jerky. Understandably some of you don’t share this opinion since many smokers don’t have the cooking efficiency of the oven or a dehydrator. However, the resulting smoky flavor in your bacon jerky may be what you need to change your mind.

Of course, to cook with most old-school smokers, you first have to light the fuel. It might be lump charcoal or wood, but you need to be sure it’s properly lit and at a temperature range of between 190°F and 200°F before adding any bacon.

Notably, the position of your charcoal or wood is not important as you’re lighting your fuel. However, you’ll have to move it to one side as soon as the optimum temperature is reached. It could be very bad for you and your jerky if the grease ends up dripping onto a hot piece of charcoal.

Also, you’ll need to buy the right wood chips for smoking. The best flavors for jerky are fruity ones such as peach, cherry, maple, apple, and pecan, although hickory works just as well. According to reviewers, the WESTERN 80485 BBQ set of smoking chips is perfect for bacon jerky. It comes with cherry, maple, apple, and peach flavored wood, and you can even mix them up in the recipe for a little smokey variety. Add these wood chips on top of the hot fuel. You use the same prep work and equipment as in the oven and dehydrator recipes.

The dry rub or seasoning also goes onto the strips before they start cooking. Notably, using this type of traditional smoker requires a lot more work and attention from you. The heat could drop or increase at any moment, and you may have to add fuel and wood chips periodically. As such, you will need to keep a consistent check on the temperature and do what’s needed to correct anomalies.

Also, pay attention to the grease. It might fill the cookie sheet and spill over into the fuel section of the smoker. After two hours, take it off the smoker, get rid of the grease, and transfer it to your oven, which should be preheated to 200°F.

After that, the jerky reaching the right texture gives you the okay to take it out of the oven. Lastly, let it rest, then get rid of the grease before serving.

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

Best bacon jerky recipes

Despite the bacon Trusted Source Bacon - Wikipedia Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork made from various cuts, typically from the pork belly or from the less fatty back cuts. It is eaten on its own, as a side dish (particularly in breakfasts), or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes (e.g., the club sandwich). being flavorful, the recipes mentioned above are quite plain. They might work for the first few times you make the treat, but soon you’ll be wanting more. When that time comes, you can try the Sriracha, Maple, or the brown sugar candied bacon jerky that we tell you how to make in the section below. Let’s start with the sriracha bacon jerky recipe.

Sriracha bacon jerky

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

First, ensure all the necessary ingredients are in the right place. They include:

  • 1 lbs bacon
  • 5 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Course ground pepper
  • Salt

Make sure your oven is on and set to 200°F before you start your other preparations. After that, you can slice the bacon into pieces. According to most reviews, the Ergo Chef Prodigy slicing knife is one of the more popular knives for cutting the bacon pieces into the right sizes. The sharp tempered blade also maintains its sharpness pretty well. Next, mix your other ingredients in a cup while leaving out coarse ground pepper and salt.

You will still need to put the strips of bacon on a cooling rack set on top of a cookie sheet. Remember to space out the strips. A ½” or ¼” of space should be enough depending on the size of your cooking equipment. Use a brush to apply the mix of spices onto the bacon. If you don’t have one, a baster will work just as well.

The ground pepper and salt then come into play. Sprinkle a bit onto the bacon. You might also want to add some brown sugar to some of the strips. That way, when you eventually take the jerky out of the oven, you can decide if you prefer the sweeter or sour-tasting option for the next time. Put your bacon strips in the oven and cook for 2-3 hours.

Letting the grease build up on the grease strips can ruin the result. As such, it’s always better to remove or blot it out as soon as it starts to pool. Paper towels might help with this exercise. You can give the strips a break after three hours, where you take them out and eliminate the grease before sliding them back into the oven.

Alternatively, you can slide them into a dehydrator if you have one, but not many people do. The dehydrator allows for a faster cook time at a lower temperature. However, the oven still produces excellent results. At the end of another 2-3 hour period, the recipe should have produced well-textured jerky.

Follow up by letting it rest for a few minutes. The last step before you serve the jerky is getting rid of the remaining grease.

Maple bacon jerky

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

Here is the maple bacon jerky recipe.


  • 1 pound – bacon, sliced
  • ¼ cup – maple syrup
  • ¼ cup – beer
  • ½ cup – brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon – cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to about 200°F while you focus on mixing the other ingredients. Stir all the ingredients in a bowl or container except for the bacon. Once the sugar has dissolved, you can move on to the next step.

Line the strips on a cooling rack and apply the syrup of marinade using a brush or baster. After that, add a cookie sheet to the setup so the bacon grease doesn’t drip into your oven. Finally, slide the strips into the oven and let them cook.

This recipe is slightly different as it allows you to take the strips out every thirty minutes to apply a fresh coat of the maple syrup. You can remove the bacon jerky when you feel it’s the right texture. Let the jerky cool before serving. With this recipe, the jerky gets crisper and crisper the more it cools.

Brown sugar candied bacon jerky

How to Make Great Bacon Jerky: Our Favorite Recipes

Lastly, we have the Brown sugar candied bacon jerky recipe.


  • 1 pound – bacon, sliced
  • ½ cup – light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon – cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven. As usual, the set temperature should be 200°F. Set up your bacon strips on the cooling rack while you mix the cayenne and brown sugar. You can then massage the mix of sugar and cayenne onto each strip. Be sure to get both sides. After that, shake it off to get rid of the excess before returning each strip to the rack.

Set up your cookie sheet below the rack and put it in the oven. After that, you need to flip the bacon strips every 30 minutes to an hour. The total cook time should be around six hours, and you’ll finally be satisfied with the texture and doneness of the snack. Take your snacks out of the oven and serve after letting them cool for a while.

Final thoughts

Brown sugar candied, Sriracha, and Maple bacon jerky are great as starter recipes. However, pretty soon, you’ll want to try something different or new. You can play around with the marinades you use to achieve different results. Furthermore, ensure you note down the recipes you like the most so you can make them again and again.


Bacon - Wikipedia
Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork made from various cuts, typically from the pork belly or from the less fatty back cuts. It is eaten on its own, as a side dish (particularly in breakfasts), or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes (e.g., the club sandwich).

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