Cooking BBQ on a Traeger is easy-peasy, and making smoked bacon is no exception. First, snag some thick-cut bacon, fire up your Traeger pellet grill, and pick your favorite wood pellets. Preheat the grill to around 325°F and get it smoking. Slap on the bacon on the grill grates, and cook it up to your desired level of crispiness. Then kick back, take a bite, and relish the mouth-watering smoky flavor.
As a chef, BBQ pro, and overall bacon enthusiast, I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to jazz up this breakfast staple. That's why I've been tinkering with different Traeger smoked bacon recipes and techniques. In this article, I'm going to explain smoked bacon to you like a kid. Then I'll show you how to make your homemade smoked bacon from pork belly or pre-cured bacon. We'll also talk about how long to cook your bacon, and I might even drop a few creative recipe ideas and tips on ya.
First, bacon simply means cured pork belly. And smoked bacon is a special kind of bacon that is made by curing and smoking pork belly. It's as simple as that!
But to get a bit more technical, to make smoked homemade bacon from scratch, you start with pork belly.
First, you soak the pork belly in a mixture of water, salt, and other yummy things to make it extra flavorful. This mixture is called brine, and the pork belly soaks in it for a day or two in the fridge.
Next, you take the pork belly out of the brine. You slice it up and coat it with spices or other flavorings, like maple syrup. This is called a dry rub and gives the bacon a yummy crust when it's cooked.
Finally, the pork belly turned bacon slices are cooked in a special smoker or grill where it's slowly cooked in a smoky environment. This makes the bacon extra delicious with a nice flavor.
After the bacon is smoked, it's ready to be sliced up and cooked in a cast iron pan or on a griddle. Smoked bacon is the perfect addition to a delicious breakfast or sandwich, and it makes many dishes taste even better!
If you're looking for a quick breakfast staple, you've got to try cooking bacon on a Traeger grill! You don't need a lot of stuff for this aside from a slab of bacon, your grill, and maybe an aluminum foil. In this recipe, I'm going to show you how to prep and smoke bacon to get that perfect balance of smoky and crispy.
What is particularly interesting about the technique to smoke bacon is that in 24/48 hours, your homemade bacon will be smoked and ready to eat. And this crispy smoked bacon is done from scratch – from fresh uncured pork belly. No need to rack your brains and prepare your piece of meat for 5 days.
On average, you're looking at 2 to 3 hours of smoking time at 225 degrees. But it depends on how smoky you want it.
Smoking bacon on a Traeger pellet grill at lower temperatures takes a bit of time, but it's 100% worth it!
When smoking bacon on my Traeger grill, I've noticed that several factors can influence how long it takes to achieve that perfect balance of smoky and crispy.
First, the thickness of the bacon makes a big difference. Thick bacon will take longer to smoke than thin bacon. If you're using thick-cut bacon, it might take more time, sometimes up to 3 hours. But, if you're into thin smoked bacon slices, it could be ready in about 2 hours. Other factors include the temp range you set, your desired level of smokiness, and your grill size. Take note, the time it takes at 225°F varies from one done at 325°F.
If you want to smoke some bacon on your pellet grill, it's crucial to choose the right kind of bacon to get that perfect smoky and crispy taste. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're picking bacon:
When picking out your bacon, make sure it's made from pork belly. I mean, there's beef, turkey, and even duck bacon out there. There's nothing wrong with these types of bacon though. But they might need a different cooking method. Plus, duck and turkey are pretty lean, so they may not hold up as well for long cooks like pork or beef.
Pork belly is the OG cut for bacon. But if you're feeling daring, you can try out other parts of the pig like the shoulder or loin. It's your grill, man, go wild!
If you want to smoke bacon on your pellet grill, I recommend going for the thick-cut variety. It holds up better to high temperatures and longer cooking times. Plus it soaks up more smoke flavor, resulting in an even more mouth-watering end product.
Bacon with a high meat-to-fat ratio will render more slowly and evenly. This results in a crispy texture and delicious flavor. Look for bacon with a ratio of at least 3:1, which means that there are three times as much meat as fat.
Now, let's talk seasoning levels for your bacon!
Some bacon already comes with flavors added to it, like black pepper or smoked paprika. That means less work for you! Other bacon is plain and doesn't have any extra seasoning.
If you're all about that traditional smoke flavor, then unseasoned bacon is your jam. But, if you're feeling a little fancy and want to add some extra pizzazz to your homemade smoked bacon, then you might want to give the seasoned kind a try. It's all about personal preference, my friend.
When you're picking out the bacon for your pellet grill, you want to make sure you steer clear of brands that dump a bunch of sugar in there.
They might be labeled as maple or light brown sugar as in candied bacon. But trust me, it's not worth it. When you're smoking that bacon at high heat, the sugar can get all burnt up and gross, and ruin the flavor you're going for. Plus, it might not be the healthiest choice either. Stick to bacon that's free of added sugars or just has a small amount.
It depends. If it's smoked bacon bought from the store, it's best to cook before consumption. Some may have been cold-smoked after curing, but still require full cooking until complete doneness before consumption. Others may have been cooked fully requiring no further cooking.
You should check what the package says.
But you don't need to worry about eating raw pork when it comes to smoked bacon slices you slow-cooked using the recipes I showed you earlier. It's all cooked up and ready to eat! The smoking process is like a slow and low cooking method that makes the pork belly safe to eat without having to cook it any further.
But, hold on a sec! Even though we know it's all fully cooked, it's still a good idea to heat it again before you chow down. Reheating the bacon will help bring out its delicious smoky taste and give it a nice crispy texture. So, go ahead and throw those strips on a cast iron skillet or in the oven for a bit before digging in!
If you're a DIY Masterchef, you can make your homemade smoked bacon from scratch, that is, from a pork belly cut. Homemade bacon takes days but definitely worth the time. And, if you're feeling lazy and want something quick and easy, just head to the supermarket and grab a pack of pre-cured bacon. Prep it up and get it on your Traeger.
Thankfully, smoking bacon on a Traeger grill is as easy as setting the temperature and letting it cook. Just flip it over halfway through, move it around if necessary, and take it off when it's golden and crispy. And don't forget to let it rest for a bit before slicing it up and enjoying that delicious smoky flavor!