How Is Chicken Bacon Made? A Step-by-Step Guide to Making This Popular Bacon Alternative

For those looking to reduce their pork consumption or just enjoy a lighter, healthier bacon, chicken bacon has become a popular alternative But how exactly is this tasty, low-fat bacon made?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the full process of making chicken bacon at home We’ll cover the ingredients, curing methods, cooking techniques, and steps to slice and package the finished chicken bacon

Whether you want to learn how to make your own or just understand how it’s crafted, read on for the complete breakdown of chicken bacon production.

An Overview of Chicken Bacon

Chicken bacon is often used as a substitute for traditional pork bacon. It provides a similar smoky, salty flavor but in a leaner package.

The main differences between pork and chicken bacon include:

  • Fat content – Chicken is very low in fat naturally. Pork belly is marbled with fat that renders out when cooked.

  • Texture – Chicken bacon has a tender, dense texture. Pork can be chewy with fat layers.

  • Shelf life – Chicken bacon lasts only 5-7 days after opening. Pork bacon keeps 1-2 weeks.

  • Sodium content – Chicken can have 25-30% less sodium since it requires less curing.

When buying chicken bacon packaged, check the ingredients for added preservatives. Opt for brands without artificial ingredients.

Now let’s look at how this popular lean bacon alternative is made.

Step 1: Select and Prepare the Chicken

Making great chicken bacon starts with using quality chicken. The most suitable cuts include:

  • Chicken breasts – Remove skin then slice lengthwise into long, thin cutlets.

  • Chicken tenders – Trim off any excess fat or sinew.

  • Ground chicken – Can be mixed with some skinless thigh meat for added moisture.

Avoid pre-frozen chicken and ensure freshness. Rinse chicken and pat dry before curing. Pounding to an even 1/4-inch thickness helps create uniform cooking.

Step 2: Creating the Cure Mixture

To get the classic bacon flavor, chicken needs to be cured before smoking. Here are the typical ingredients used in a chicken bacon cure:

  • Salt – Most important for flavor. Use less than pork cure recipes since chicken absorbs cure faster.

  • Sugar – Usually brown sugar or maple syrup. Adds sweetness and balances salty taste.

  • Cure #1 – Sodium nitrite preserves color and prevents bacteria growth.

  • Spices – Black pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes, etc.

The exact quantities vary by recipe. But the basic combination of salt, sweetener, cure #1, and spices infuses flavor and preserves the chicken.

Step 3: Curing the Chicken

Before smoking, the raw chicken needs to cure fully with the flavoring mixture. There are two main techniques:

Dry Curing: The cure mix is rubbed directly onto the chicken which cures in the fridge up to 7 days.

Wet Curing: The chicken is submerged in a wet brine cure solution for 1-3 days.

Dry curing requires occasional flipping during the curing time. Wet curing ensures the cure penetrates evenly. Both effectively infuse the chicken with delicious flavor.

Step 4: Rinsing and Resting

After curing is complete, the chicken is rinsed to remove any residue cure from the exterior. This inhibits over-salting.

It is then patted dry and allowed to rest uncovered in the fridge up to 24 hours. This develops a tacky outer layer called a pellicle which helps smoke adhere.

Step 5: Smoking the Chicken Bacon

Smoking is what gives chicken bacon its signature bacon flavor and aroma. Hardwoods like hickory, apple, maple, oak work well.

Typical smoking times and temps for chicken bacon include:

  • Cold smoking – 12-24 hours between 60-80°F.

  • Hot smoking – 1-2 hours up to 165°F internal temperature.

The longer cold smoking infuses more smoke flavor. Hot smoking also cooks the chicken fully.

Step 6: Slicing and Packaging

Once smoked, the chicken bacon is ready to be sliced and packaged. Even 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices work well since the chicken is already thin.

The chicken bacon can then be:

  • Vacuum sealed in pouches for maximum freshness.

  • Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or butcher paper.

  • Stored with wax paper between slices to prevent sticking.

For safety, refrigerate and use chicken bacon within 5-7 days of opening. Freeze any longer term portions.

Making Ground Chicken Bacon

Ground chicken can also be used to produce bacon-like strips. The process involves:

  • Mixing – Combine 85% ground chicken with 15% ground pork or chicken fat for moisture.

  • Seasoning – Mix in the cure ingredients evenly into the ground meat.

  • Molding – Pack the mixture into a bacon press or loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.

  • Smoking – Follow standard chicken bacon smoking instructions.

  • Slicing – Remove from the mold and slice into strips before cooking as needed.

The added fat keeps the ground chicken bacon from drying out. This method allows customizing flavors easily.

Cooking and Eating Chicken Bacon

To enjoy your homemade chicken bacon:

  • Pan fry over medium-high heat until browned and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Pour off excess fat.

  • Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until sizzling and browned. Line the pan with foil for easy cleanup.

  • Microwave 30 second bursts until crispy. Place between paper towels to absorb grease.

  • Grill over direct heat, watching closely to avoid flare-ups from drippings.

Fully cooked chicken bacon stores for 1 week in the fridge or up to 2 months frozen. Reheat only once before consuming for food safety.

With its lean protein and smoked flavor, chicken bacon offers a tasty, lighter alternative to pork bacon. Follow the proper production steps for making satisfying homemade chicken bacon.

BACON | How It’s Made


Is chicken bacon better than bacon?

The main benefit of chicken bacon is that it contains less fat and fewer calories than traditional bacon. It might also be higher in protein per strip because there is less fat and more meat. … This makes it a good choice for people who are sticking to low-fat or low-salt diets.

Is chicken bacon a pork?

There are two main reasons people buy it: It is lower in fat and calories than real pork bacon. It does not contain pork, which is not allowed by Islam, Judaism, and some other religions.

Is uncured chicken bacon healthy?

So is uncured bacon better for you than bacon cured with nitrites? Not by much. It’s still unknown if the natural nitrites found in celery are less harmful than those added to cured bacon. And bacon still ranks high in salt and saturated fat content, both of which should be limited to decrease risk of heart disease.

How to know when chicken bacon is cooked?

Even fully cooked chicken wrapped in bacon can still have a pink tinge to it. Further, bacon wrapped chicken does stay pink if the bacon has nitrates. The nitrates can cause the chicken to go pink. Your best bet for determining when chicken is safe to eat is to use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness.

What is chicken bacon?

Chicken bacon is a thin strip of meat made from chicken. It contrasts with traditional bacon, which is made from pork. Chicken bacon can be substituted for traditional bacon in recipes or can be eaten as a stand-alone dish. The main benefit of chicken bacon is that it contains less fat and fewer calories than traditional bacon.

How do you make creamy bacon chicken?

Quick and easy Creamy Bacon Chicken. Made with tender chicken breasts smothered in an irresistible creamy bacon sauce, it’s comfort food perfection ready in just 30 minutes! Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is sizzling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid.

How long does it take to cook bacon chicken?

This creamy bacon chicken recipe is a decadent and delicious dinner that’s easy enough for a weeknight and tasty enough for company. It’s ready in about 30 minutes! Cut the bacon up and add it to a skillet (I use kitchen shears to make this job quick). Fry it over medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 mins).

How do you cook a chicken breast with bacon?

Starting from one end of the chicken breast, wrap a slice of bacon around it, with minimal to no overlapping (see tips below). Add a second slice (or even a third if your chicken breasts are large) to cover most of the chicken in bacon. Place onto the rack. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Brush. If desired, brush maple syrup over the bacon.

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