Bacon Jerky

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Bacon jerky is the delicious, sweet, sriracha cousin of candied bacon. It’s chewy, salty, smoky, and the perfect snack!

We’ve all had beef jerky, but I don’t think you’ve lived until you’ve experienced bacon jerky!

This chewy bacon-ified version of jerky is all the right things at all the right times. It’s got plenty of flavor, all the yummy savory umami, and a spicy sweet glaze and an irresistible chewy texture.

While I LOVE this jerky smoked in the Traeger, it’s also delicious when made in the oven or dehydrator!

This bacon jerky recipe is dedicated to all the right flavors!

Bacon jerky wrapped in red and white twine.
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Bacon Jerky vs Bacon Candy

While these two recipes are similar, bacon candy is cooked at a much higher temperature and bacon jerky at a low temperature, 375f vs 200f, for a shorter period of time. Candied bacon is cooked to a crispy, crumbly texture with a caramelized sugar coating while homemade bacon jerky has a chewier, jerky-like texture.

Showing the texture of the side of the bacon jerky.

Key Ingredients

Bacon: I highly recommend thick-cut bacon for this recipe – we want to be left with some meat when we’re done cooking it! I love using our homemade bacon when I’m making bacon jerky.

Sweetener: This recipe needs a little sweet – the sugar will caramelize and coat the bacon which is exactly what salty bacon needs – a hint of sweetness. Brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup all work for this recipe.

Spice: If you’re like us, you like your sweet to be accompanied by a little heat. I personally love a little zip in my jerky. For this recipe, you can use sriracha, hot sauce, cayenne powder, or red pepper flakes.

Note –> If you’re using all dry ingredients for your simple marinade, be sure to add a small amount of maple syrup, corn syrup, or honey to help bind the sugar into a paste so it sticks to the bacon!

An overhead photo showing the ingredients for this recipe.

How To Make Bacon Jerky On The Smoker

  1. Preheat Traeger to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and place an oven-safe wire rack on top of the baking sheet.
  2. Choose your flavor:
    Maple sriracha: 1/4 cup maple syrup + 2 tablespoons sriracha
    Brown sugar heat: 1/4 cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce
    Honey cayenne: 1/4 cup honey + 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
    * In this photo guide, I made brown sugar heat bacon jerky.
  3. Combine ingredients for glaze in a small bowl.
  4. Lay the bacon slices on the baking rack and brush on the sauce with a basting brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  5. Cook in the smoker at 200f for 2 hours. Flip the bacon, and continue to cook for another 1-1.5 hours, or until the bacon reaches desired texture.
  6. Remove the bacon jerky from the smoker and allow it to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before enjoying.

How To Make Bacon Jerky In The Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and place an oven-safe wire rack on top of the cookie sheet.
  2. Choose your flavor:
    Spicy sriracha: 1/4 cup honey + 2 tablespoons sriracha
    Brown sugar heat: 1/4 cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce
    Maple cayenne: 1/4 cup maple syrup + 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
    * In this photo guide, I made brown sugar heat bacon jerky.
  3. Combine ingredients for glaze in a small bowl.
  4. Lay the bacon slices on the mesh rack and brush on the sauce with a basting brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  5. Cook in the oven at 200f for 2 hours. Flip the bacon, and continue to cook for another 1-1.5 hours, or until the bacon reaches desired texture.
  6. Remove the bacon jerky from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before enjoying.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

The recipe as written yields 10 slices of delicious smoked bacon jerky. It can be scaled up or scaled down as desired.

That said, I find 1 slice of bacon jerky made with thick-cut, real bacon, is enough to satisfy the craving, so 10 slices go a long way!

Storage:

Bacon jerky is a perishable product with a relatively short shelf life and while most of the moisture is removed during the cooking or smoking process, it should be kept in the fridge and is best eaten within 3-4 days.

It can be sealed in an air-tight container or Ziplock bag and frozen for up to 6 months. I doubt it will last that long!

I generally usually only make one sheet pan worth at a time, it gives us a nice little treat without having too much to handle.

Bacon jerky wrapped in red and white twine with one piece out.

More Sriracha Recipes

Variations + Substitutions

This basic sriracha bacon jerky recipe is just a guide! Use it as a springboard for your own wild flavor ideas! Don’t be scared to try new things – just keep in mind that your marinade or glaze should be somewhat paste-like and you may need to add a smidge of liquid sweetener to help keep it brush-able. Try adding:

  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • herbs
  • molasses

If you’re cooking maple bacon jerky on the smoker, think about the wood chips! Use different wood flavors to achieve different profiles, like:

  • applewood
  • cherry wood
  • maple wood
Bacon jerky stacked in a wide mouth mason jar.

Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> Use homemade bacon, if possible! Our lives changed for the better when we started making home-cured and smoked bacon, and I use it whenever possible. I have a full homemade bacon tutorial if you’re ready to jump in and get making your own bacon. I also have a recipe for beef bacon!

No. 2 –> Don’t rush it – the cooking process will take a while, just like smoked beef jerky. For best results, I recommend sipping some coffee and reading a good book while you wait!

No. 3 –> Wrap your cookie sheet in a layer of tinfoil. This is a great way to make the clean-up a total breeze, it catches the sticky drips and the excess grease.

No. 4 –> If you love smoked bacon in different ways, give these smoked bacon-wrapped cookies, or bacon chocolate chip cookies a try! I’m sure you’ll love them!

More bacon recipes to love!

Oven vs Dehydrator Vs Smoker

Making bacon jerky is easy, picking how you want to do it is harder! This recipe can be made in the home oven, dehydrator, or smoker.

The oven and smoker will have similar results, but the smoker will have more smoke flavor. A food dehydrator cannot reach the same temperature as the oven and therefore may take a little longer.

See the recipe card below for detailed information on how to cook the best bacon jerky in each appliance.

📖 Printable Recipe

Bacon jerky wrapped in red and white twine.

Smoked Bacon Jerky

Allyson Letal
Bacon jerky is a sweet, spicy, smokey and chewy snack! This easy to make bacon jerky recipe is so fun to make and eat.
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Snack Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 10 pieces
Calories 219 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 slices thick cut bacon

Honey Sriracha:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha

Brown sugar heat:

Maple cayenne:

Instructions
 

Smoker Method:

  • Preheat smoker to 200f. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place an oven-safe wire mesh rack on top of the cookie sheet.
  • Combine desired sweetener and spice in a small bowl.
  • Lay the bacon strips on the mesh rack, and brush on the sauce with a silicone brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  • Cook in the smoker set at 200f for 2 hours. Flip the bacon, and continue to cook for another 1-1.5 hours, or until the bacon reaches desired texture. *A pellet grill with a circulating fan may cook the jerky more quickly due to convection – begin checking the bacon for doneness around 3 hours.
  • Remove the bacon jerky from the smoker and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying or storing in the fridge.

Oven Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200f. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place an oven-safe wire mesh rack on top of the cookie sheet.
  • Combine desired sweetener and spice in a small bowl.
  • Lay the bacon strips on the mesh rack, and brush on the sauce with a silicone brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  • Bake in the oven at 200f for 2 hours. After 2 hours have elapsed, flip the bacon. Cook at 200f for a further 1-2 hours, or until the bacon reaches your desired texture.
  • Preheat oven to 200f. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place an oven-safe wire mesh rack on top of the cookie sheet.
  • Combine desired sweetener and spice in a small bowl. See recipe card below for recommended combinations and quantities.
  • Lay the bacon strips on the mesh rack, and brush on the sauce with a silicone brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  • Bake in the oven at 200f for 2 hours. After 2 hours have elapsed, flip the bacon. Cook at 200f for a further 1-2 hours, or until the bacon reaches your desired texture.
  • Remove the bacon jerky from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying or storing in the fridge.

Dehydrator Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200f. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place an oven-safe wire mesh rack on top of the cookie sheet.
  • Combine desired sweetener and spice in a small bowl.
  • Lay the bacon strips on the mesh rack, and brush on the sauce with a silicone brush. Flip the bacon and brush the back side too.
  • Cook the candied bacon jerky in the oven at 200f for 2 hours, after 2 hours, transfer the bacon to the dehydrator set at the highest setting and continue to cook for another 2-3 hours, or until bacon reaches desired texture.
  • Remove the bacon jerky from the dehydrator and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying or storing in the fridge.

Notes

Batch:

The recipe as written yields 10 slices of delicious smoked bacon jerky. It can be scaled up or scaled down as desired.

Storage:

Bacon jerky is a perishable product with a relatively short shelf life and while most of the moisture is removed during the cooking or smoking process, the jerky should be kept in the fridge and is best eaten within 3-4 days.
It can be sealed in an air-tight container or Ziplock bag and frozen for up to 6 months.

Variations + Substitutions

This basic recipe is just a guide! Use it as a springboard for your own wild flavor ideas! Don't be scared to try new things – just keep in mind that your marinade or glaze should be somewhat paste-like and you may need to add a smidge of liquid sweetener to help keep it brush-able. Try adding:
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • herbs
  • molasses
Or think about the wood chips! Use different wood flavors to achieve different profiles, like:
  • applewood
  • cherry wood
  • maple wood

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 378mgPotassium: 109mgFiber: 0.03gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4 Comments

    1. When you say did not work, what do you mean? I’ve made this multiple times with this exact recipe and it’s never failed me. Can you elaborate on what happened so I can help you troubleshoot?