How Long Does Smoked Bacon Last in the Fridge?

As a bacon lover, I’m always tempted to buy those enticing packages of artisanal smoked bacon at my local farmer’s market or specialty shop. The deep, rich smoky flavor adds so much complexity to everyday dishes.

But with the higher price tag comes the question – how long will smoked bacon actually last in my fridge before going bad?

Regular raw bacon has a pretty short fridge life of just 5-7 days after opening But does the smoking process help extend the shelf life at all?

I did some digging to find out just how long you can expect smoked bacon to stay fresh in the refrigerator. Here’s what I learned about smoked bacon’s fridge life, proper storage, signs of spoilage, and more.

How Long Smoked Bacon Lasts Refrigerated

The shelf life of smoked bacon depends a bit on whether it’s been opened or not

  • Unopened smoked bacon will keep for about 2-4 weeks past the sell by date if continuously refrigerated at 40°F or below.

  • Once opened smoked bacon will maintain best quality for around 7-10 days in the fridge.

So you get a little more time to use up smoked bacon compared to regular raw bacon once you break the seal.

The smoking process helps inhibit bacteria growth on the surface of the bacon. But once exposed to air, smoked bacon is still perishable and needs to be eaten within about a week.

No matter what, always rely on your senses – not just the date. Discard any smoked bacon that smells, looks or feels off. Safety first!

Proper Storage of Smoked Bacon

To maximize the shelf life of smoked bacon in the fridge:

  • Keep unopened packages stored in original packaging until ready to use.

  • Once opened, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Exclude as much air as possible.

  • Transfer opened bacon to airtight containers or bags. This contains any odors.

  • Store on lower fridge shelves where temperature is most stable. Avoid the door.

  • Maintain a consistent fridge temp of 40°F or below. Check with a thermometer.

I like to divide a pack into smaller zip top bags once opened. This allows me to thaw only what I need at a time.

Freezing Leftover Smoked Bacon

Got more smoked bacon than you can eat within 7-10 days? Freeze it!

Properly frozen, smoked bacon will keep for 4-6 months before the quality starts to decline.

To freeze:

  • Double wrap opened packages in plastic wrap and foil. Squeeze out air.

  • Portion into airtight freezer bags or vacuum seal if possible.

  • Add date labels so you know what to use first.

  • Maintain a steady 0°F freezer temperature.

  • Once thawed, use within 3-5 days. Do not refreeze.

With proper freezing methods, smoked bacon tastes very close to fresh after defrosting.

How to Tell If Smoked Bacon Has Gone Bad

Watch for these signs that your smoked bacon has spoiled:

  • Sliminess – Should have a slightly tacky texture but not be outright sticky or slimy

  • Dull or faded color – Smoked bacon should remain a vivid pinkish-red color

  • Rancid odor – Should have a mild smoky aroma. Foul odors indicate spoilage.

  • Mold growth – Dry curing can allow some harmless mold, but fuzzy colored growth signals trouble.

  • Dryness or hard texture – Smoked bacon should be flexible. Brittleness means it’s dried out.

When in doubt, remember the old adage: “If it smells funky, throw it in the trunky.” Don’t take risks with smoked meat!

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some questions about smoked bacon’s shelf life? Here are some common FAQs:

How can I make my smoked bacon last longer?

  • Open package only as needed and rewrap tightly
  • Store in smaller airtight containers
  • Maintain consistent 40°F fridge temp
  • Freeze if not using within 7 days

What’s the freezer shelf life of smoked bacon?

Properly frozen and stored at 0°F, smoked bacon will last 4-6 months in the freezer before quality declines.

Can you refreeze thawed smoked bacon?

It’s not recommended. Refreezing may increase risk of bacteria growth. Use fully thawed smoked bacon within 3-5 days.

Is it safe to eat smoked bacon after the sell by date?

An unopened package should be fine for a while after sell by if continuously refrigerated. Use your judgment and inspect closely before cooking.

How can you tell if smoked bacon is freezer burned?

Signs include dried out patches, discoloration, odor changes, or a tough and rubbery texture. Taste a small piece if uncertain.

The Bottom Line

With proper refrigeration and freezing, smoked bacon can keep significantly longer than regular raw bacon.

Follow these shelf life guidelines:

  • Unopened lasts 2-4 weeks past sell by date

  • Opened keeps 7-10 days in fridge

  • Frozen remains good 4-6 months

  • Look for slimy texture, smell, color changes

Storing smoked bacon correctly allows you to enjoy the smoky flavor for weeks instead of just days. Just be diligent with food safety practices.

How do you like to cook up smoked bacon? Share your favorite preparation in the comments!

How long does cooked bacon last in the freezer?

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