Smoking bacon at home is an excellent way to enjoy a timeless breakfast treat with unique flavors and textures you can’t find at the store. With an electric smoker, the process becomes even more straightforward, giving you consistently delicious results every time.
Preparing Bacon for Smoking
Before you can smoke your bacon, you’ll need to cure it. Curing helps to preserve the meat and enhances its flavor. There are two primary methods for curing bacon: dry curing and wet curing.
Dry Curing Method
Dry curing involves rubbing a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices onto the surface of the pork. The meat is then left to cure in the refrigerator for a set amount of time, typically 7-10 days. After the curing process, the pork is rinsed, patted dry, and left to air dry in the fridge for an additional 24 hours before smoking.
Wet Curing Method
Wet curing involves submerging the pork in a brine solution made from water, salt, sugar, and spices. The meat is then left to cure in the refrigerator for a set amount of time, often around 7 days. After curing, the pork is removed from the brine, rinsed, and patted dry before smoking.
Smoking Bacon in an Electric Smoker
An electric smoker makes the smoking process incredibly simple and consistent, allowing you to focus on the flavor and tenderness of your bacon instead of constantly monitoring the temperature inside the smoker. Let’s dive into the steps for smoking bacon in an electric smoker.
Setting Up the Electric Smoker
To begin, ensure that your electric smoker is clean and properly assembled. Place a water pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the smoker. This will help to maintain a consistent temperature and add humidity, preventing the bacon from drying out during the smoking process.
Consistent Temperature Control
One of the major advantages of an electric smoker is its ability to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process. Set your electric smoker to 225°F, which is the ideal temperature for smoking bacon.
Allow your electric smoker to preheat to 225°F before adding the bacon. Preheating ensures that the smoker is at the proper temperature when you begin smoking, leading to more consistent results.
The type of wood you use for smoking will have a significant impact on the flavor of your bacon. Hickory is a classic choice for smoking bacon, but you can also experiment with a mix of woods, such as apple and cherry, for a unique flavor profile.
The Smoking Process
With your electric smoker preheated and your cured bacon ready to go, it’s time to start the smoking process.
Place the bacon on the smoker racks, ensuring that there is space between each piece for proper air circulation. Smoke the bacon until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°This should take approximately 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.
After about 1 hour of smoking, flip the bacon pieces over to ensure even cooking. Continue to monitor the internal temperature and remove the bacon from the smoker once it reaches 150°F.
Types of Bacon
There are various types of bacon, but for smoking purposes, we will focus on two primary cuts: pork belly and pork loin. Both cuts will produce fantastic smoked bacon, but there are some differences between them.
Thick-cut bacon is made from pork belly, which has a higher fat content than pork loin. This type of bacon is known for its rich flavor and crispy texture when cooked. If you prefer a more decadent bacon experience, pork belly is the way to go.
Pork cut bacon is made from pork loin, which is a leaner cut of meat compared to pork belly. This bacon has a milder flavor and a slightly chewier texture when cooked. If you prefer a leaner option for your smoked bacon, choose pork loin.
Where to Buy Bacon
When it comes to buying bacon for smoking, quality matters. The better the quality of the pork, the better your smoked bacon will taste. Here are some options to consider:
Organically Raised Hogs
Opt for pork from organically raised hogs that have not been exposed to hormones or antibiotics. This will ensure that your bacon is free from harmful chemicals and additives, leading to a healthier and more flavorful end product.
Heritage Hog Pork Belly
Heritage breeds, such as Berkshire, Duroc, or Kurobuta, are known for their exceptional flavor and tenderness. If you can find heritage breed pork belly at your local farmer’s market or directly from a farmer, this is an excellent option for truly unforgettable smoked bacon.
Local Butcher Shop
A local butcher shop is another excellent source for high-quality pork. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but you will likely find fresher cuts of meat than at the supermarket.
Considerations for Using an Electric Smoker with Bacon
Electric smokers have become increasingly popular among smoking enthusiasts due to their convenience, ease of use, and versatility. When it comes to smoking bacon, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best electric smoker brand for the job. popular electric smoker brands when smoking bacon.
- Convenience: Electric smokers offer a “set it and forget it” approach to smoking, making them perfect for busy individuals or beginners who may not have experience managing a fire.
- Consistent temperature control: Electric smokers maintain a stable temperature throughout the cooking process, ensuring even cooking and reducing the risk of overcooking or undercooking the bacon.
- Versatility: Many electric smoker brands can be used for cold smoking, which is ideal for smoking bacon, as well as hot smoking other types of meats and foods.
- Year-round use: Electric smokers can be used in any climate, making them suitable for smoking bacon regardless of the weather conditions.
- Limited smoke flavor: Electric smokers may not produce the same depth of smoke flavor as traditional wood or charcoal smokers, which could affect the taste of the smoked bacon.
- No smoke ring formation: Electric smokers do not burn wood hot enough to release the chemicals required for a smoke ring to form on the bacon.
- Repairs and maintenance: Electric smokers can be more complicated and expensive to repair due to their high-tech nature.
Considerations for Popular Electric Smoker Brands
Traeger Grills Ironwood 650 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
This smoker offers excellent temperature control and the ability to use wood pellets for added flavor. However, it may not produce the same level of smoke flavor as a charcoal smoker.
Z Grills ZPG-550B Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
This budget-friendly option provides consistent temperature control and the ability to use wood pellets for added flavor. However, it may not reach the high temperatures needed for crispy bacon.
Bradley Smoker BS611 Electric Smoker
This electric smoker is specifically designed for smoking and offers great insulation and temperature control. However, it may not produce the same level of smoke flavor as other types of smokers.
When choosing an electric smoker brand for smoking bacon, consider factors such as ease of use, temperature control, and the desired level of smoke flavor. While electric smokers may not produce the same depth of flavor as traditional wood or charcoal smokers, they offer convenience and consistency that can make smoking bacon an enjoyable and successful experience.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results when smoking bacon in an electric smoker:
- Patience is key. Don’t rush the curing or smoking process, as this can lead to subpar results.
- Experiment with different wood combinations to find your favorite flavor profile.
- Use a high-quality meat thermometer to accurately monitor the internal temperature of your bacon.
- Store any leftover smoked bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
How do you smoke bacon in a Masterbuilt electric smoker?
To smoke bacon in a Masterbuilt electric smoker, preheat the smoker to 275°F and smoke the bacon for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on its thickness.
How long to smoke bacon at 225?
When smoking bacon at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes approximately 2 hours to reach the desired crisp texture.
At what temp do you smoke bacon?
You should smoke bacon at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit, with fluctuations between 160 and 180 degrees if using a charcoal smoker.
How long does it take to smoke raw bacon?
Smoking raw bacon typically takes about 30 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, but the time may vary depending on the thickness of the bacon slices and the smoker’s temperature.