How to Smoke Bacon to Perfection on a Pellet or Charcoal Smoker

For bacon lovers, there’s nothing better than the deep smoky flavor that comes from smoking your own bacon on a pellet or charcoal smoker. It takes just a bit of prep work and you’ll be rewarded with incredibly tasty custom smoked bacon to enjoy any time.

Follow this guide to learn tips and techniques for smoking perfect bacon every time

Benefits of Smoking Bacon

Smoking your own bacon has some major advantages over just pan frying regular store-bought bacon:

  • Deeper, more robust smoky flavor
  • Custom flavor with different wood types
  • Rendered fat for crisp yet tender texture
  • No messy stove-top splatter
  • Large batches are easy to make

Once you try homemade smoked bacon you may never go back to the regular stuff!

Choose the Right Bacon

For best results, choose:

  • Thick-cut – Thinner slices may overcook or slip through grates
  • Slab bacon – More surface area exposed to smoke rather than slices
  • Skin-on – Adds fat to help bacon cook evenly

High quality slab bacon from a local butcher will yield the best homemade smoked bacon.

Prepare the Bacon

Before smoking, it’s important to properly prepare the bacon:

  • Trim excess fat and skin if needed
  • Rinse to remove any cure residues
  • Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels
  • Season with brown sugar, spices, maple syrup etc. if desired
  • Chill in the fridge until cold to help with even cooking

Set Up the Smoker

On your pellet or charcoal smoker:

  • Use milder fruit wood pellets/chunks – apple, cherry, etc.
  • Cook at 225-275°F for best results
  • Place bacon on grill grates or perforated smoking pans
  • Use a drip pan below to catch grease

Maintain an even, consistent smoker temp and have patience!

Smoke Times

Smoking times can vary based on thickness, smoker temp, and personal taste.

As a general guide:

  • 1/4 inch thick bacon: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • 1/2 inch thick bacon: 2 – 3 hours
  • 1 inch thick bacon: 3 – 4 hours

Start checking at the lower time ranges. It’s easy to add more smoke time if needed.

Finish on Grill

For extra color and crispiness, after smoking, the bacon can be finished directly on hot grill grates for just 1-2 minutes per side.

Just watch closely to avoid burning.

Rest and Chill

Once smoked to your liking, remove the bacon from the smoker and let it rest for about 15 minutes before chilling.

Chilling firms up the texture. Wrapped well, smoked bacon keeps for 1-2 weeks refrigerated.

Serving Smoked Bacon

Fry up a few slices of your smoked bacon to enjoy in classic dishes:

  • Breakfasts – eggs, pancakes, biscuits
  • Burgers
  • BLTs
  • Salad toppers
  • Baked potatoes
  • Beans or braises

Or chop up some bacon to use in dips, seasonings, soups, etc. Home smoked bacon is endlessly versatile!

Smoking Bacon Tips

  • Use fresh wood chips/pellets for best flavor
  • Rotate bacon periodically for even smoking
  • Brushing with maple syrup adds sweetness
  • Try different woods like hickory, pecan, mesquite
  • Let smoker fully preheat before adding bacon
  • Chill bacon before and after smoking

Frequently Asked Smoked Bacon Questions

Still have some questions? Here are some common queries about smoking bacon:

What is the best wood for smoking bacon?

Milder fruit woods like apple and cherry work well. Hickory and maple also pair nicely. Avoid heavy mesquite.

Should you flip bacon when smoking?

Rotating the bacon periodically yields the most even results. You can also flip it halfway through.

How much does smoked bacon shrink?

Up to 50% shrinkage is normal. Thicker bacon shrinks less. Cold smoking causes less shrinkage than hot smoking methods.

Can you use a gas grill to smoke bacon?

Yes, with a smoker box accessory. Add soaked wood chips to generate smoke flavor.

How long does smoked bacon last refrigerated?

Properly stored, smoked bacon keeps for 1-2 weeks refrigerated. Freeze for longer term storage.

Is cold smoked or hot smoked bacon better?

It depends on your preferences! Cold smoking (at less than 100°F) preserves more moisture for a ham-like texture. Hot smoking (at 225°F and above) renders fat better for crisper bacon.

Make Your Own Gourmet Bacon

With some simple prep and patience during the smoking process, you can easily make incredible gourmet smoked bacon at home. Getting the smoked flavor just right takes a bit of practice, but it’s a fun skill to master.

Once you try your own homemade smoked bacon, you’ll never view store-bought the same! Experiment with different woods, seasonings and smoking times to perfect your recipe.

Easy PERFECT Smoked Bacon – How to Cook the BEST Bacon!

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