Smoked Bacon Jerky [Applewood Pork Honey Marinade]


Topped with honey and brown sugar, this BBQ Bacon Jerky is unlike anything you’ve tried before. This is how the best bacon jerky is made in the smoker.

Smoked bacon jerky recipe

If you’re a fan of store-bought jerky, you’ve come to the right place. This BBQ Bacon Jerky is easy to make in your backyard smoker and best of all, it’s completely painless to cook.

Made with just bacon, brown sugar and honey as the main ingredients, it’s ready in just a few hours in the smoker.

While there are many great homemade bacon jerky recipes that call for the use of a dehydrator or your home oven, this classic snack is best made in the smoker. Meat always tastes best when grilled, and this Bacon Jerky is no different.

how to make dry bacon

What is rocked bacon?

Bacon jerky has a delicious, chewy texture that’s just as addictive as its beef counterpart. But what sets it apart is that it still has that original bacon flavor that makes us all salivate. Just think how much better it smells coming out of your barbecue smoker.

If watching diet is your thing, you can sit back and relax. With very few additives, this jerky is healthier than standard store-bought fare.

Prepared with your choice of thin or thick slices, this recipe is easy and perfect for grilling beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

What does bacon jerky taste like?

It won’t surprise you that this jerky tastes a lot like bacon. Despite being dry, the flavor is far richer than regular bacon, and the two hours of slow smoking takes it to a whole new level.

There’s also a slightly tangy and sweet flavor thanks to the addition of brown sugar, honey and hot sauce.

Thick Cut vs Regular Bacon

While YOU can use thick or regular-cut bacon for this recipe, I recommend using thick-cut bacon. They have more flavor and enough meat to soak up our honey marinade and hot sauce.

If you like a crispy or crunchy texture, you may prefer a standard thin cut. You’ll need to adjust the smoking time accordingly, and periodically check the look and feel of the bacon as it cooks to make sure it’s not overcooking.

How to Smoke Pork Bacon Jerky

What temperature for dry bacon?

The best temperature for grilling is 190°F-200°C(88°C-93°C). This is slightly lower than our usual 225°F smoking temperature, but our priority here is to slowly dehydrate the bacon. This helps us lock in the flavors of the meat and marinade.

How Loaded

For this recipe, we use a simple honey, hot sauce, and some pizza seasoning marinade. While I’ve listed hot sauce in the recipe, YOU can also use your choice of BBQ or Sriracha sauce. You might find it a bit cute, so try not to overdo it!

Simply mix the marinade ingredients together and apply to each bacon strip with a pastry brush.

Since bacon is by no means a great cut of meat, I just let it marinate while my smoker heats up(about 20-30 minutes). Marinating meat at room temperature is dangerous because bacteria can multiply in the raw meat( source ). After this time, sprinkle the brown sugar on top and you’re done.

How to grill dry bacon

With your smoker running at 200F and your bacon marinated, let’s get to the real fun.

Transfer the meat to cooking grates, leaving about an inch between each strip. Place a baking sheet under the grates to catch any greasy drippings. You might want to line it with aluminum foil to make it easier to clean.

Smoke for two hours. Check the bacon every 30 minutes to make sure it hasn’t dried out and the baking sheet hasn’t filled with grease. In this case, you need to empty the pan before putting it back in the smokehouse.

After 90 minutes, open the smoke house and turn the bacon over. This is purely to ensure good smoke coverage but also gives us the opportunity to check the progress of our jerky.

You can mix honey and any sauce of your choice. You can now prepare the cooling sheets while placing the cooling shelves on them. Make sure that the pieces of bacon do not come into direct contact with the wood.

When the jerky approaches 2 hours, turn the oven up to 190°F. Once the oven has heated up, place the bacon in the oven and cook for another two hours. This will help dehydrate the jerky and pull out more of the excess moisture.

Take the jerky out of the oven. At this point it should have developed a nice deep dark color with a familiar dry texture.

Leave the jerky on a cooling rack until fully set. Pat gently with paper towels to remove excess oil or moisture.

Best wood for grilling bacon jerky

The best woods for smoking bacon jerky are fruit hardwoods like apple, cherry, walnut, and maple. While some people also like to use hickory, I recommend sticking with a fruitwood for a smooth, sweet flavor. It pairs beautifully with pork, as well as honey and brown sugar in the marinade. That’s why we often recommend using berry fruit woods with pulled pork , and this jerky is no different.

How to store dried bacon

Because bacon is perishable, YOU must store your jerky shortly after cooking to ensure it stays fresh and safe. For best results, allow to cool completely before blotting with a dry paper towel. This will remove excess fat or moisture from the meat surface.

Pro tip: Line the bottom of an airtight container with a paper towel. This will soak up excess moisture in the slow release jerky over time.

Smoked bacon

Topped with honey and brown sugar, this BBQ Bacon Jerky is unlike anything you’ve tried before. This is how the best bacon jerky is made in the smoker.
Appetizer course
American cuisine , BBQ
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 4 hours
Total time 4 hours 5 minutes


  • Smokers(charcoal, pellet, propane or electric)
  • Stucco coal
  • Apple Wood Shavings
  • Spray brush
  • Ziploc bag or airtight container(for storage)


  • 2 pounds of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar


  • ½ cup hot sauce or BBQ/Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 price kosher salt
  • 1st prize ground black pepper


  • Lightly smoke and heat to 93°C. Use smokers and a thermometer to maintain this smoking temperature. When using your charcoal grill, make sure it’s ready for 2-zone grilling.
  • Once the temperature is constant, add wood chips to the firebox.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients well with a little pain. Apply to the bacon with a pastry brush, brushing on both sides. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Arrange strips of bacon on smoking racks, leaving a half-inch space between each piece. Place a baking sheet underneath to catch the drippings.
  • Smoke at 200°F(93°C) for 2 hours. After 90 minutes, invert the swab to ensure even coverage. Also make sure that the baking sheet does not get too full with or fat.
  • Remove bacon from smoker and drain fat. Place in a preheated oven at 190°F(88°C). Cook an additional two hours to dry out the jerky or when the bacon has achieved a jerky texture and color.
  • Remove the jerky from the oven and let it cool completely. Blot with a dry paper towel. When completely cool, store in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a burning question? Our answers to frequently asked questions from our readers will help you with this.

What is the difference between dried bacon and candied bacon?

These two types of bacon are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. Candied bacon has a crispier texture, has more layers of sugar, and often cooks faster. Jerky, on the other hand, is roasted low and slow to produce a much chewy texture.

Do I need to refrigerate homemade jerky?

Ha. After your dried bacon has cooled, you’ll need to store it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container and refrigerate. Bacon is perishable, even when dry, and should be consumed within three days of smoking.

Leave a Comment