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Cooking Bacon on the Grill

You’re going to LOVE the smoky flavor of cooking bacon on the grill. When the tasty strips are cooked outside over an open flame, bacon gets wonderfully crispy and even more delicious from exposure to the smoke of the grill. Plus, the heavenly aroma is going to have everyone within five miles running over for tasty bacon.

Once you’ve mastered the art of how to cook bacon on the grill, you can enjoy the incomparable flavor of bacon cooked in the Great Outdoors whenever a craving hits. Read our secrets and tips for grilling bacon, and enjoy a whole new level of smoky deliciousness!

5 strips of thick cut bacon being grilled over an open flame.

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Click on any of these headings to jump ahead:

  1. Why You’ll Love Cooking Bacon on the Grill
  2. Best Bacon for Grilling
  3. Pro Tips for Grilling Bacon
  4. Grill Temp for Bacon
  5. Helpful Grilling Equipment
  6. How to Cook Bacon Over a Fire
  7. Grilling Bacon Over Direct Heat
  8. FAQs
  9. Jump to Recipe
  10. Save with Pinterest

Why You’ll Love Cooking Bacon on the Grill

Better Flavor – You’ll love the smoky taste of bacon cooked on the grill.

Less Grease – The fat cooks off while grilling.

No Messy Pan – Clean up is a breeze. Just cook and serve!

One thick slice of bacon in a black pan, just beginning to cook.

Best Bacon for Grilling

If you’re cooking the bacon over indirect heat, you can use regular, center-cut or thick-sliced bacon.

For direct heat grilling, we recommend a nice, thick-sliced bacon. The savory strips will cook more evenly, and thicker slices are easier to turn and less likely to slip through the grates.

For your reference, a pound of regular sliced bacon will generally contain between 16 and 20 slices.

A pound of thick-sliced bacon will usually have about 12 to 16 strips. 

If you have a good butcher (or an uncut slab of artisan or homemade bacon), you can have it cut in even thicker slices that will be ideal for grilling. 

Pro Tips for Grilling Bacon

Start with a clean grill, so that your bacon doesn’t stick while cooking.

We prefer indirect heat for cooking bacon, as the low-and-slow approach results in more evenly cooked strips.

If you’re grilling over lump charcoal, pellets, wood or briquettes, the smoke imparted during cooking will make your bacon taste even better.

If you’re using a smoker to cook bacon, its savory flavor pairs especially well with apple, cherry and pecan wood.

Grill Temp for Bacon

For best results we like to heat the grill to a moderate temperature, around 325 degrees F (163 degrees C).

Keep a close eye on the bacon as it can cook quickly. With practice you’ll learn the best temperature and timing for your grill. 

If you’re cooking over charcoal, let the coals die down a bit before cooking the bacon. With a charcoal grill, move the skillet or griddle away from the coals before laying your bacon on it. With a gas grill, turn down the burners to medium-low once you add the bacon.

Helpful Grilling Equipment

A grilling basket with a handle is perfect for cooking thick slices of bacon, and makes it nice and easy to turn the bacon over. Just use an insulated mitt to hold the handle and give it a flip.

A 14 by 19-inch black wire grilling basket with a wooden handle.
Photo; Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re cooking a roast or meat wrapped in bacon or covered with a bacon weave, you can use deeper grilling basket as we’ve shown in this photo. The basket makes it easy to keep the bacon in place on the meat and allows for more even cooking and control.

A grilling basket with a handle for cooking bacon on a grill
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon
A bacon wrapped pork roast inside of a metal grill basket.
A grilling basket makes it easier to cook bacon wrapped meats.

Disposable aluminum pans are handy for cooking smaller things like jalapeno poppers and bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, making them a great choice for tailgating. A pan will also help contain the fat and juices and reduce smoking and flames. When you’re done cooking, just fold up the pan and recycle or discard.

A large cast iron skillet is great for camping, tailgating, and cooking large quantities of bacon for a crowd. This Lodge 17-inch seasoned cast iron skillet has two handles which makes it easier to handle on a hot grill or fire.

17 inch Lodge cast iron skillet with two handles

Extra-long tongs are helpful for picking up and maneuvering bacon slices on a grill. Or you might prefer a long handled fork or heatproof spatula.

How to Cook Bacon Over a Fire

Cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet over an open fire is a time-honored way to cook bacon when camping. (Why does everything taste so much better when it’s cooked outside?)

Pro Tip: Be sure to bring heavy oven mitts for moving the pan and a long-handled fork or spatula for flipping the bacon, as the skillet gets very, very hot.  

A pound of bacon slices cooking in a large cast iron skillet over a grill grate with fire beneath.

If you’re in a hurry, preheat the skillet before adding the bacon and it will cook faster. Otherwise, you can arrange the bacon strips in a cold skillet and heat it over the coals at a more leisurely pace.

Pro Tip: If you pack along an empty resealable can (a coffee can is perfect), you can easily drain off the bacon drippings to use later. (Here’s a handy guide about What To Do with Bacon Grease.)

Grilling Bacon Over Direct Heat

If you’re going to cook thick-sliced bacon strips directly on the grill, make sure the grill is nice and clean. To keep meaty bacon slices from sticking, brush the grate with a light coating of oil with a high smoke point such as canola oil or grapeseed oil before grilling.

Thick-cut bacon may be placed directly on the oiled grill grate. Watch the bacon very carefully and turn it using tongs or a large metal spatula.Turn the bacon several times until it’s nicely browned. 

If the flames flare up, put the lid on and close the top vent halfway. Alternately, you can move the bacon to an area of the grill that’s not quite as hot.

Another technique is to thread bacon on a metal skewer, going under and over the strip every inch and a half or so, to secure the bacon for grilling.

If you want to use bamboo skewers instead, soak them in water for an hour first to prevent the skewers from burning during cooking. (You might also be interested in these oven-baked bacon skewers.)


How long does it take bacon to grill?

The total cooking time will depend on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the bacon. If you use a moderate cooking temperature (about 325 degrees F) and indirect heat with thick-sliced bacon, it will take about 10 minutes (give or take a few minutes) to cook the bacon.

Can you cook bacon on the grill without foil?

Yes, you can cook bacon directly on the grill grate (brush with a neutral oil that has a high smoke point such as canola or grapeseed oil) or on a grill basket, griddle or skillet. Just be sure the grill is heated to a moderate temperature and not too hot, so the bacon doesn’t overcook or burn.

Serve your delicious direct cooked grilled bacon nice and hot, and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to clean up any grease!

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how to cook bacon on the grill

How to Cook Bacon on the Grill

Eliza Cross
Enjoy the delicious smoky flavor of bacon cooked outside on the grill. You'll love the taste and the easy clean up!
4.98 from 34 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Bacon Basics
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 247 kcal


  • barbecue grill
  • wire brush
  • silicone brush
  • Long handled spatula
  • paper towels


  • 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil, for brushing
  • 12 strips thick-cut bacon


  • Clean the grill grates thoroughly with a wire brush to prevent sticking.
  • Brush the grate with a light coating of canola oil or grapeseed oil.
  • Heat the grill to moderate heat, about 325 degrees F.
  • If you're cooking over charcoal, let the coals die down a bit before cooking the bacon. 
  • If you’re using a gas grill, heat the burners on either side of the area where you’ll cook the bacon, while leaving the burner directly underneath that area off. Close the lid until the temperature reaches 325 degrees F. 
  • Lay the thick cut bacon strips on the oiled grill grate, perpendicular to the grate lines. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, turn down the burners to medium-low once you add the bacon.
  • Watch the bacon very carefully and turn it several times using a long handled metal spatula, until it's nicely browned. 
  • Drain on paper towels and serve.


Instead of cooking the bacon directly on the grill, you can use a grill basket, griddle, large skillet or disposable aluminum pan. Make sure to have heatproof oven mitts on hand for moving the pan if needed.


Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes!


Serving: 2slicesCalories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 14.1gFat: 20.6gSaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 878mgPotassium: 215mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Nutritional Information Disclosure
Keyword bacon cooking methods, grilling
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Save with Pinterest

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin! 

Pinterest pin with photo of thick bacon cooking in a grill basket over an open flame

You might also enjoy this web story, How to Grill Bacon.

Photos used with permission: Ted Murphy, grill image; Rex Roof, bacon slice; Crosa, grill basket; Greg Hayter, skillet image. 

eliza cross

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

28 thoughts on “Cooking Bacon on the Grill”

  1. 5 stars
    My family is fully of bacon addicts, but somehow we’ve never thought of cooking bacon on the grill. Thanks so much for this informative how to cook bacon on the grill post. It sounds like it would taste even better than normal. Will be trying this soon!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never thought to cook bacon on the grill before but it makes so much sense to get that smoky flavor! Love that it eliminates the need to deal with the bacon grease as well. Thanks for the tips!

  3. 5 stars
    This is a great idea when we go camping with the family! Love the smoky flavor of bacon on the grill with some eggs! Perfect breakfast!

  4. 5 stars
    We love camping but have never thought of bringing some bacon for camp grilling! This has opened up so many possibilities.

  5. 5 stars
    This was such a helpful guide! I haven’t ever cooked bacon on a grill before but I’m definitely going to try this soon!

  6. 5 stars
    This is so interesting! I have never thought of cooking bacon on a grill, but I’m definitely trying this the next time I’m grilling!

  7. 5 stars
    Bacon on the grill is such a game changer! This is my new favorite way to enjoy bacon so thanks for the recipe :) It’s way too easy to make!


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