How to Smoke Bacon: 2 Easy Ways

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How to Smoke Bacon

Learning how to smoke bacon is easy to do, and it tastes like the best bacon you have ever had! There are two ways you can make smoked bacon, one is simply by smoking store-bought bacon strips, this is easy and delicious!

Smoked Bacon at an angel on picnic table

The other way is to make your own homemade bacon, cure it, and smoke it to perfection. Below we will cover both of these methods and walk you through the step-by-step process for each one and how you can enjoy amazing smoked bacon! 

Bacon On The Smoker

Bacon has become an all time favorite food. We are going to cover how you can smoke your own bacon, as in making it entirely from scratch, as well as how you can simply smoke store-bought bacon. Stay tuned because you don’t want to miss a thing! 

How To Make and Cure Your Own Smoky Bacon

Let’s begin by looking at how you can make Kure air Omni smoked bacon from scratch. This is straightforward to do, and it tastes fabulous. You will have to try it for yourself to understand how much better homemade smoked bacon tastes than store bought bacon. 

What is bacon made from?

You may know, that traditional bacon comes from a pig. But what part of a pig? Usually, bacon comes when a large piece of pig’s back, belly, or side. It is cut into a large piece, cured, and smoked. It is then sold to you at your local grocery store to take home and bake to perfection then enjoy your delicious bacon. 

What do you need to make bacon at home?

So what do you need if you want to make your own homemade smoked bacon? We are going to walk you through the step-by-step process of how you can make your own smoked bacon just the way you like it. The ingredients you will need in order to make bacon at home is a cut of pork belly, curing salt, kosher salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. 

Now, let’s look at the different steps you can follow to make your own homemade smoked bacon, by curing it yourself, followed by the simple instructions or smoking your own store-bought bacon. These two processes are outlined below. Simply choose which one you want to try, then do it! 

Smoked Bacon tilted

Homemade Smoked Bacon

Step 1. Choose the Right Pork Belly

You have to find a pork belly that is going to be a good one to cook. Not all local grocery stores carry pork belly so you will want to visit a store such as Costco, Sam’s, Whole Foods, or a butcher shop. If possible it’s a great idea to look for a pork belly that has already had the skin removed because it can be a challenge to take off. 

And a pork belly looks for one that has a fair amount of meat, instead of completely fat. This will allow your bacon to be richer than it otherwise would. You may want to look at organic, or shop at your local butcher and you’ll most likely find a better cut of meat available there. 

Step 2. Remove the Skin (also known as the rind)

Pork belly comes with the skin on, remove the skin or rind from your pork belly before smoking it as it will block how much smoke your bacon absorbs. Doing this can be a bit tricky, so be careful as you work. Start at the corner angling a sharp knife with a blade towards the skin. Slowly work the skin off of your pork belly to remove it. Once removed throw your pork skin away. 

If you’re buying your pork belly from a butcher, you will definitely want to ask them to remove the skin for you before leaving. This will save you a lot of hassle. 

Step 3. Make the Cure

To prepare the cure, in a small mixing bowl mix together your salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Stir together until no lumps remain. 

Step 4. How to Cure the Pork Belly

Now take your pork belly with the skin removed, and rub your salt, pepper and brown sugar mixture on all sides of your pork belly. Place into a plastic storage bag, along with any excess rub. Seal the bag, and place it inside of a bowl, or metal pan with sides. Place your pork belly into the fridge and allow it to cure for five days. 

As time goes by you will want to continually turn your pork belly, once or twice a day is a good idea, as your pork belly will shed liquid, and you’ll want the cure to continue to absorb into your pork belly. 

To tell when your pork belly is done curing, you can cut a small slice into it to see if the inside is pink or if it is still brown. If you see pink, then your pork belly is done curing. However, if it is still brown inside, place it back into your plastic bag and continue curing for another one to two days. 

Step 5. Rinse the belly

After your five days have passed, remove your pork belly from the plastic bag and place it into a colander or strainer. Take water and rinse your pork belly on all sides, being sure to rinse off all of the cure. 

Step 6. Dry the Pork 

When your pork belly has been rinsed, pat it dry using a paper towel. Then place your pork belly onto a wire cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. This time is to allow your pork belly to completely dry out and develop a tackiness to the pork belly’s outside. 

Step 7. Smoke the Bacon!

Now it’s time to smoke your bacon! Preheat your smoker to the lowest temperature you can. Ideally, you want to aim for 165°F to 175°F if your smoker will go that low. 

Place your pork belly directly on the grill grates and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 150-155°F, and the outside of your pork belly is lightly bronze in color from the smoke. 

If you are smoking at 165°F this may take around six hours of smoking time, or at 175°F this may take around three hours of smoking time. 

Please note that the smoking time may vary depending on the weather at your location as well as the size of your pork belly. Because the time may vary, it’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature and the appearance of your pork belly to make sure you’re going to have the best smoked bacon.  

Step 8. Chill and Rest the Bacon

When your pork belly is done smoking, remove it from the smoker and place it on a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Let it cool to room temperature. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least four hours. I know it’s a lot of waiting, but you are almost there!   

Step 9. Slicing and Cooking

Now that your smoked pork belly has had time to chill, you can go ahead and slice it as desired, and either fry it, grill, oven bake or smoke it one more time to cook it. 

To smoke your bacon one final time, preheat your smoker to 200°F. Place your bacon directly on your grill grates keeping an eye on it. Smoke for approximately 30 minutes then turn your pieces over and smoke for another 15 minutes. Then remove your finished bacon from the smoker and enjoy your hard work!

Note: You can also rub your individual slices of homemade bacon and brown sugar if desired before placing them onto your smoker. 

How to Cure Bacon

To cure bacon, simply create a mixture of salt, pepper, curing salt, and brown sugar. Wrap your pork belly with this mixture and allow it to rest in the fridge inside of a plastic storage bags for 5 to 7 days turning occasionally. Once it is cured, you can rinse the cure off and smoke your pork belly to make it into bacon. 

Smoked Bacon

Not only can you learn how to smoke bacon entirely by making it from scratch, but you can also smoke store-bought bacon and have it turn out fabulous. Below we are going to look at how to smoke bacon from the store. 

Smoked Bacon straight on picnic table

How to Cook Bacon on a Smoker

To cook bacon on your smoker is quite simple. This method is using pre-made bacon that you can just pick up at your local grocery store. We recommend using thick cut bacon for the best results. 

Step 1: Preheat Smoker

Begin by preparing your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 200°F. 

Step 2: Rub

If desired, we recommend rubbing your strips of bacon with a bit of brown sugar before smoking. This is not required, but does add a lovely sweet and caramelized texture to your bacon.

Step 3: Smoke

Place your strips of bacon directly on your clean grill grates. Add your bacon so that it’s laid the opposite direction of your grill grates. You don’t want your bacon to fall through the grates, that would be very sad! 

Smoke your bacon at 200°F for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, and then flip each strip. Continue smoking for another 10 to 15 minutes on the remaining side, or until your bacon is done as you desire. 

This time should be followed as a guide, not as law, because some people prefer their bacon crispier than others, and the weather at your location will determine how long to smoke your bacon as well. Cook your bacon until it is done to your liking, then remove it from your smoker. Allow the bacon to rest for a few minutes then serve and enjoy your delicious smoked bacon! 

How Long to Smoke Bacon

The amount of time it takes to smoke bacon may vary depending on your location, what the weather is like, what temperature you are smoking your bacon at, and how crispy you like your bacon to be done. 

A good rule of thumb, which can be adjusted is that your store-bought bacon cooked at 200°F will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to fully smoke. 

Homemade smoked bacon will take approximately 6 to 4 hours to smoke the first time, when smoking between 165°F and 175°F, after it has been cured, then an additional 30 to 40 minutes to cook your bacon on the smoker at 200°F. 

How to Smoke Bacon on a Grill

You can also cook your smoked bacon on the grill if desired. You can do this with store-bought bacon, or homemade bacon as well. 

You will need a pellet tube or grill box insert to place into your grill, to add your pellets to make your bacon smoky. You could also create your own by wrapping pellets inside aluminum foil and poking holes. 

First be sure that your grill is clean, then preheat your propane grill to the lowest temperature, this is usually around 200°F. 

If desired, coat your strips of bacon in brown sugar, and then place your strips of bacon on your grill so that the strips are going the opposite way of your grill grate. 

Smoke on your bacon for approximately 10 to 20 minutes, then flip your strips of bacon to the other side and continue smoking until your bacon is done to your liking. 

Tips + Tricks

Time. No matter how you choose to smoke your bacon, keep in mind that the time is just for your reference, and may need to be adjusted depending on your location. For example, if you are smoking the bacon outside in Alaska, it will probably take more time than if you are smoking bacon outside in Florida. 

How to Store

Room Temperature. Bacon should be kept at room temperature for no more than two hours after it has cooled. 

Refrigerator. Prepackaged unopened bacon can last up to two weeks when stored in your refrigerator, and approximately one week after it has been opened. 

Freezer. Unopened bacon can be frozen usually for up to eight months, and once it has been opened for up to six months. Be sure to keep an eye on your bacon, and check it over thoroughly before using it if you are in doubt. 

Smoked Bacon close up

FAQs

How long does it take to cook bacon on a smoker?

The amount of time it takes to cook bacon on the smoker may vary. If you are using store-bought bacon, it will usually take between 30 and 40 minutes to smoke on your smoker, but homemade bacon may take between four and six hours to smoke. 

What temperature do you cook bacon on a pellet grill?

Homemade bacon is best when smoked at 165°F to 175°F or the lowest possible temperature for your smoker. However, after your bacon has been smoked the first time, you can cook it for the second time on your smoker at 200°F. 

What kind of bacon is best to smoke on an electric smoker?

You can make either homemade smoked bacon, or smoke store-bought bacon on an electric smoker and half both turned out delicious. 

What pellets should I use?

When smoking pork belly or bacon it is a good idea to use mild fruits such as apple or cherry to smoke your pork. You could also use hickory, or maple for a little added flavor to your smoked bacon. 

Smoked Bacon top down

Crispy Smoked Bacon

Learning to make your own crispy smoked bacon is easy, and it tastes fabulous. No matter if you are making your own homemade smoked bacon from scratch, or if you are simply smoking store-bought bacon, you are in for a treat. Be sure to give this recipe a try, to taste how amazing smoked bacon is!

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