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Smoked Candied Bacon

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Are you ready to try this flavor-packed smoked candied bacon? We’ve taken our favorite breakfast meat and given it a smoky-sweet upgrade. But it’s not just for breakfast. Candied bacon also makes the perfect appetizer or snack on the go.

Bacon, candied and cooked in a smoker

Why make candied bacon in a smoker?

For starters, candied bacon, or as Pitmasters call it, “pig candy,” is super easy to make using your smoker and results in a sweet, savory, smoky delight. The recipe is fairly simple and calls for a few ingredients, including a BBQ rub and a sticky sweet syrup like maple or hot pepper jelly. Pan-fried bacon is great, but the satisfying crunch of candied bacon has much more to offer!

The best type of bacon to use

We recommend using good quality thick-cut bacon to make candied bacon. The thickness will help it withstand smoking while creating a nice texture that is neither too crispy nor rubbery. Thick-cut bacon also has the perfect meat and fat ratio. Some options to consider are apple wood or hickory smoked bacon, hatch chili, or black pepper bacon. 

Best wood for candied bacon

It is best to use a mild fruit wood like apple or cherry to make candied bacon. These woods will add a sweet, smoky flavor to the finished product. Avoid using robust woods like hickory or mesquite for this recipe.

Bacon candy

Recipe Ingredients 

The best part about this smoked candied bacon recipe is that you only need a few ingredients. Use your favorite bottled rub or one of our excellent pork rub recipes. 

  • Thick-cut bacon
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Pure maple syrup (honey or heated pepper jelly- see below for details)
  • BBQ Rub (bottled or homemade)

Syrup, honey, or jelly?

  • Use either maple syrup (the real stuff), hot honey, or heated pepper jelly on the bacon. The pepper jelly will offer a nice spicy kick, and you can choose between Hatch chili, jalapeno, or habanero pepper jelly. Some are combined with fruit flavors like peach, mango, and berry.
  • Use the Hatch and jalapeno jelly for mild-medium candied bacon or the habanero for spice lovers.
  • When using hot honey, heat it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. This will make it easier to brush onto the bacon.
  • Ultimately, the choice of syrup or jelly is entirely up to you. If you’re new to making candied bacon, start with maple syrup and gradually explore more options.
meat

How to make candied bacon

  • Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. Use apple or cherry wood pellets or chips. The bacon is already smoky, so mild to moderate flavored wood works best for this recipe.
  • Line a large aluminum baking sheet with foil. Next, lay a jerky rack (or wire rack) on top of the baking sheet. Make sure to use foil, as this will prevent grease and burned sugar flare-ups.
  • Arrange your thick-cut bacon slices in a single layer on the rack. 
  • Brush A liberal amount of maple syrup (or heated honey or peppered jelly) on one side of each strip of bacon. Season with BBQ rub. 
  • Place the entire thing on the smoker, close the lid, and cook for 10-12 minutes. The bacon will start to soften and contract around the edges. Remove pan from smoker.
  • Using a metal spatula, carefully flip the bacon on the rack and season again, following the steps above. 
  • Place the pan with bacon back on the smoker, close the lid, and cook for another 15 minutes or until done (and crisped) to your liking.
  • Remove the candied bacon from the smoker, rest for 5 minutes. Serve bacon strips warm.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 4-5 days.
candied bacon with toasted pecans, smoked

Pro tip: Top candied bacon with chopped pecans halfway through cooking time for an added crunch! Crumble and sprinkle on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream for a delicious dessert. Or, serve this “pig candy” at brunch with crepes, pancakes, and eggs.

More recipes to try!

Smoked Candied Bacon

Smoked Candied Bacon

Enjoy a flavor-packed journey with our easy recipe for smoked candied bacon!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: candied bacon, candied bacon recipe, smoked candied bacon
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 316kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup honey or heated pepper jelly- see notes for details
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons BBQ Rub (bottled or homemade)

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. Use apple or cherry wood pellets or chips. The bacon is already smoky, so mild to moderate flavored wood works best for this recipe.
  • Line a large aluminum baking sheet with foil. Next, lay a jerky rack on top of the baking sheet.
  • Arrange your thick-cut bacon in single layers onto the rack.
  • Brush A liberal amount of maple syrup (or heated honey or peppered jelly) on one side of the bacon. Season with BBQ rub.
  • Place the entire thing on the smoker, close the lid, and cook for 10-12 minutes. The bacon will start to soften and contract around the edges. Remove pan from smoker.
  • Using a metal spatula, carefully flip the bacon on the rack and season again, following the steps above.
  • Place the pan with bacon back on the smoker, close the lid, and cook for another 15 minutes or until done (and crisped) to your liking.
  • Remove the candied bacon from the smoker, rest for 5 minutes, and serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Notes

Syrup, honey, or jelly?
You can brush on either maple syrup (the real stuff), warmed honey, or heated pepper jelly on the bacon. The pepper jelly will offer a nice spicy kick, and you can choose between Hatch chili, jalapeno, or habanero pepper jelly. Some are combined with fruit flavors like peach, mango, and berry. Use the Hatch and jalapeno jelly for mild-medium candied bacon or the habanero for spice lovers. When using honey, heat it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. This will make it easier to brush onto the bacon.
Ultimately, the choice of syrup or jelly is entirely up to you. If you’re new to making candied bacon, start with maple syrup and gradually explore more daring options.
Pro tip: Top candied bacon with chopped pecans halfway through cooking time for an added crunch!

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2mg

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