With this easy bacon jerky recipe, it’s simple to make your own tasty, chewy strips of bacony goodness right in your oven. Perhaps you’ve even wondered, “Is bacon jerky a thing?” The answer is a resounding YES!
To make homemade jerky, the bacon is oven cooked slowly at a low temperature until the moisture evaporates, most of the fat renders out, and the incomparable flavor of bacon remains. Homemade bacon jerky makes a great gift for your favorite bacon lover! (Be sure to check out our Bacon Salt recipe for another tasty food gift.)
And if you LOVE bacon snacks of all kinds, be sure to visit our popular roundup of 52 Best Bacon Appetizers.
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Why This Recipe is Worth Making
- DIY bacon jerky is super easy to make.
- Your homemade jerky will be fresher than store bacon jerky.
- You can make jerky without a food dehydrator, right in your home oven.
- The classic and black pepper bacon jerky flavors are keto friendly and low carb.
- Homemade bacon jerky makes a great gift!
- You can customize the bacon jerky with one of our flavor variations (see below).
Ingredients and Substitutions
With basic recipe for making bacon jerky, you’ll only need one ingredient (and it happens to be our FAVORITE):
Thick-Sliced Bacon – We prefer the thicker slices for jerky because they retain a little chewiness. You can use smoked or unsmoked bacon, whichever you prefer. We used cherrywood smoked bacon for this batch, which gave it a nice smoky flavor.
If you want to make flavored bacon jerky (see variations below), here are the ingredients you can add:
Sriracha – Made from red jalapeno peppers, sriracha is a medium level hot sauce that pairs nicely with the bacon. A little thicker than some pepper sauces, it brushes on well and adheres to the bacon better than thin hot sauces.
Red pepper flakes – A light shake of these hot peppers adds heat and a little crunch. Feel free to omit for a milder flavor.
Brown Sugar – Either light or dark brown sugar works fine and will melt into the jerky and give it a nice glaze for the candied bacon jerky recipe variation below.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper – Set your grinder so that the pepper is coarsely ground for the best flavor.
Barbecue Sauce – Feel free to choose any type or brand you like. We used a sweet, thick hickory BBQ sauce for this batch.
Baking sheet with oven-safe rack – This is the most important piece of equipment. Elevating the bacon on the rack allows the hot air to flow over and under the bacon so that it cooks evenly.
Aluminum foil – Lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil helps reflect the heat back on the bacon and also makes clean-up super easy.
Silicone basting brush – If you’re making any of the BBQ sauce or sriracha jerky variations below, a basting brush will help you apply the sauces evenly to the bacon. A silicone is great because it’s long-lasting, doesn’t absorb flavors, and the bristles never come out.
Step by Step Directions for How to Make Bacon Jerky
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place an oven safe baking rack on top.
Arrange the bacon strips on the rack. It’s okay if they overlap a little bit since they’ll shrink while baking.
Bake for an hour. Remove from the oven, check the bacon and blot with paper towels. Here’s how our test batch looked after 1 hour:
Return to the oven and cook for another hour. Remove from the oven, blot with paper towels and turn the bacon over. If the outside strips are cooking faster than the inner strips, rearrange them and move the outer strips to the inside. Here’s how our test batch of bacon jerky looked after 2 hours:
Continue baking, checking occasionally, until most of the fat is rendered from the bacon, it is very crispy but still slightly chewy. In our oven, the total cooking time for 12 strips of thick-sliced bacon was about 4 hours. If you’re using regular sliced bacon your cooking time will be less.
Here’s how our bacon jerky looked when it was done baking:
Pro Recipe Tips
Spray the baking rack with nonstick cooking spray so the bacon doesn’t stick.
If the bacon is damp with liquid when you first remove it from the package, blot it with paper towels before arranging it on the rack. If you start with dry bacon, it will cook more evenly to that desired texture of chewy perfection!
Recipe Variations – 4 Tasty Jerky Flavors
Sriracha Bacon Jerky – brush the jerky with sriracha sauce and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12 minutes.
Candy Bacon Jerky – sprinkle each piece with brown sugar and bake at 325 degrees F until the sugar melts, about 10 minutes.
Black Pepper Bacon Jerky – sprinkle the jerky with freshly ground black pepper and bake at 325 degrees until the pepper melds to the bacon, about 6 to 7 minutes. (This variation is a Keto bacon jerky recipe.)
Barbeque Bacon Jerky – spread each piece with your favorite barbecue sauce and bake at 325 degrees until sauce is mostly absorbed, hard and sticky, about 10 minutes.
How to Store Leftovers
Just to be on the safe side, I recommend storing the bacon jerky in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator and eating it within 2 weeks.
For the glazed jerky variations including the barbecue jerky and candy jerky, I recommend putting sheets of parchment or wax paper between layers so the strips don’t stick together.
Can You Freeze Bacon Jerky?
Yes! Because bacon has a high fat content, it freezes really well. Pack the jerky carefully with sheets of parchment paper between layers, wrap it well and freeze it up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and refresh the strips on a cookie sheet in a 300 degree F oven for about 5 minutes before eating.
To maintain its chewy texture and amazing flavor, we recommend storing your bacon jerky in the refrigerator.
Stored in the refrigerator in a zip-lock bag, the bacon jerky will be good for 2 weeks.
The basic recipe as well as the variation for Pepper Bacon Jerky are both Keto friendly and low carb. Just be sure to use a brand of bacon that doesn’t contain sugar.
We find that microwaving bacon tends to toughen it. To maintain homemade bacon jerky’s fantastic crisp-chewy texture, we recommend reheating it in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
Other Bacon Recipes
If you love learning new ways to cook tasty bacon, be sure to check out these recipes:
Here’s the bacon jerky web story.
Here’s the full, printable recipe:
- baking sheet with oven safe rack
- aluminum foil
- silicone brush
- 12 slices thick sliced bacon
- 1/4 cup sriracha sauce for Sriracha Jerky
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes for Shriracha Jerky
- 1/4 cup brown sugar for Candy Jerky
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper for Pepper Jerky
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce for Barbecue Jerky
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with an oven safe rack. Spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Arrange the bacon strips on the rack. It's okay if they overlap a little.
- Bake for 1 hour. Check that the strips are cooking evenly, rearranging strips if any on the outside edge are cooking faster.
- Bake for another hour. Turn the bacon strips over and rearrange strips if necessary for even cooking.
- Return pan to oven and continue cooking until bacon is deeply brown and all the fat is rendered, checking occasionally, about 2 more hours. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon and how your oven heats.
- Cool the jerky on the pan until it reaches room temperature. Blot any excess grease with paper towels. Eat at once or store in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 weeks.
- For Sriracha Bacon Jerky, increase oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Brush the jerky strips with sriracha sauce and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake until sauce is absorbed and jerky is crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
- For Candy Bacon Jerky, increase oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle each slice of bacon jerky with brown sugar and bake at 325 degrees F until the sugar melts, about 10 minutes.
- For Pepper Bacon Jerky, increase oven temperature to 325 degrees. Rub both sides of the bacon jerky strips with the black pepper and arrange on the wire rack. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until pepper is melded to jerky.
- For Barbeque Bacon Jerky, increase oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Spread each piece with your favorite barbecue sauce and bake at 325 degrees until sauce is mostly absorbed, hard and sticky, about 10 minutes.
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