How to make Candied Bacon Jerky (Recipe)

I now believe there are only two different types of people in the world.  To find out which one you are, reflect on the next sentence:

Our loft has smelled like bacon for 3 days.

That`s either a wonderful thing – or a horrible form of torture.  Around these parts, it`s just par for the course!  Candied bacon jerky is a fun novelty that is as fascinating to eat as it is to make – it is full of bacony goodness.

Before we share the details of bacon jerky, let`s answer a few pressing questions:

  • The best jerky is made from lean meat.  Fat does not dry well and stores worse.  This recipe is not shelf stable – it`s for quick eating or for the fridge.  We`ll share our caramel recipe that we made this for tomorrow.
  • The mess isn`t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be to clean up.
  • Meat has a danger zone when exposed to temperatures between 40-140 farenheit.  Our dehydrator has temperatures up to 160 degrees; if yours doesn`t go that warm I would advise not making jerky of any type in it.
  • The final product is a little greasy – even more so at room temperature.
  • Lots of people eat this just the way it is and love it.  While it was really interesting and very good, I prefered it as an ingredient to use.  Since we were using it in caramel, I upped the sweetness when drying it.
  • This is far more like bacon candy than candied bacon.  This isn`t bacon that`s been sweetened – it`s a sweet that`s made of bacon.  That`s a world of difference.  The bacon almost explodes in your mouth and is an intense concentration of bacony goodness.  Yes, I said bacony goodness.

Here`s a few photos of the process before we share the details:

The basics of the recipe:

  1. For every pound of bacon, mix 1 cup of brown sugar.  Try to distribute sugar so that the bacon is wearing a good coat of it.
  2. Place on trays for the dehydrator.  Leave lots of space for air circulation.  Set dehydrator to 160 degrees.
  3. Allow it till dry until all moisture is removed from the bacon.  Although some advocate 36 hours for this process, I was far more comfortable with 60.
  4. Check periodically (i.e. every 12 hours).  Your bacon will go through a stage where it will be almost see-through.  Be patient, it will become dense again.
  5. After the first 24 hours, separate the bacon from the tray – this will make it easier to remove later.  Flip at this stage if you`d prefer.

Here`s a few things I`d consider doing differently next time:

  • Part way through I would have emptied a tray of bacon onto another tray (keeping all meat in the dehydrator at all times) and washed the empty tray.  I would continue to rotate like this until all trays were clean.  This would remove the small amounts of liquid fat that filled the screens and slowed air circulation (and the process).
  • Because I was going to be using these in `bits`, I would have crumbled them part way through the process – which would have also sped things along as small pieces dry faster.

I hope you’ll give it a try!

If the idea of your house smelling like bacon for 2-3 days sounds great to you, we hope you’ll share this with others to inspire them to the same level of maddness. 🙂  You can eat this as-is or use it in other recipes – like this one for spicy bacon caramel.

Leave a Reply

  1. For those of us without a dehydrator, do you think we could do this in our ovens? What kind of trays would we need to rig up for it?

    • Diana – the bigeest trick is having an oven thatwill go down that low. It’s worth a try – let us know how it goes. You could dry it on a baking rack resting over a cookie sheet to catch any drippings…

  2. Yeaaah, this is pure evil. I think I’d cut each slice into fourths before starting. More of a pain to lay out on the trays but probably faster in the long run.

    It’s a very good thing I don’t own a dehydrator.

  3. I’m going to have struggle for a while with the concept of bacon candy vs candied bacon….. will have to get back to you on this one. Either way, my mouth is watering. Thanks again for a wonderful post –

    • Thanks Cindy!

      The biggest difference is probably an author’s license 🙂 What makes this different is the texture – rather than sticky bacon you have something very different – the meat is chewy like jerky, the fat almost explodes – in a good way. 🙂

  4. Hey Joel,

    I never heard back if you found out why you are not seeing my comments. I also sent others that I have not heard anything from, so I don’t know if you will even get this, but I will try one last time before giving up. here goes : If you like the bacon jerky then you will no doubt this associated culinary delight. If you don’t like bacon then I would saty away from this receipe!!

    BACON JAM RECEIPE (one of many variations)

    • 3 pounds bacon
    • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 8 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife or a pan and peeled
    • 1 cup cider vinegar
    • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 cups very strong brewed black coffee
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1. Cut the bacon slices into one inch strips. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a heat-proof jar with a tight-fitting lid.*
    2. *Save the bacon drippings in the refrigerator. That’s too much flavor to trash!
    3. Place the Dutch oven back over the medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic. Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are mostly translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and drop heat again, this time to low.
    4. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onions and liquid.
    5. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure things aren’t sticking, adding 1/4 cup of water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are meltingly soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
    6. Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the work bowl of a food processor that has been fitted with a blade. Fit the lid in place and pulse several times or until the Bacon Jam is a spreadable consistency. Scrape into a jar (or jars) or a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Or process and seal for longer term storage.
    7. Can be served cold, room temperature or warmed.
    The bacon jam could take up to 3 hours to reduce to a syrupy consistency. Just stick with it!

    • Thanks Bem it sounds great!

      I did see your last post and looked for previous comments but couldn’t find them. We try our best to comment on all the comments here but there are days that there’s just not enough time and we miss posts.

      Really appreciate the recipe here and how much work you went through it sharing it – much appreciated and sounds great. 🙂 I’ve had some bacon jam in my life though never made it… 🙂 I’d be very cautious processing this though – being a meat product it would need to be pressure canned. I’ve seen people waterbathing bacon jam lately and it’s something I can’t reccomend… 🙂


  5. Drooling. I think I must make this…if I don’t you might see my hubs show up on your porch asking for some. Thanks so much for sharing this. I cannot wait until the next big bacon purchase to try this out!

  6. Pingback: Spicy Bacon Caramel Candy Recipe « Well Preserved

  7. I love bacon. It just makes my heart so happy. I’m trying this one soon!

    By the way, your site is one of the best I read on food preservation. Please don’t ever lose interest and let it die.

  8. I’ve made the candy bacon jerky for an up coming pot luck, but can not find an expiry date on any site. How long can I keep it in the fridge?

    • Peg,

      I’m not a food scientist so I truly don’t have any more insight than you. It definately won’t keep on the counter so you’ve done the right thing by using the fridge. The answer is very dependant on how dry the bacon was as I imagine it will be the bacon that goes bad first. If you look up storage, expiry and signs of bacon spoilage I suspect you’ll find the info you need… 🙂

  9. Thanks for your in-put Joel. The bacon was fresh when I jerkied/hydradated it. My question is how long will the jerky last refidgerated.

    • Hi Peg,

      Understood your question – didn’t explain my answer well.

      By ‘dry’, I meant after dehydration. If it had any amount of water in it, it will spoil much faster than not. I beleive as long as the bacon hasn’t spoiled, you should be good – but don’t know how long it will last. Looking up signs of spoliage for bacon would let you know if it’s still good, I beleive.
      We have made it once and eaten it for several weeks (and counting) – but that’s not a professional oppinion, just a guess based on experience. I’m afraid I don’t have a direct answer for you as I don’t know, but hoping this gives some idea..


  10. Great recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I again reference the Good Eats episode where Alton uses zero heat when making jerky. Of course this is meat and not bacon, plus yours has more sugar added. Still an interesting quandary