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Smoked Bacon

Smoked bacon, as the name implies, is bacon that has been smoked after the curing process. Smoking the meat destroys Trichinella, a parasitic roundworm that causes trichinosis. Advances in modern processing and storage have more or less eliminated the need for smoking to kill the parasite, but smoking bacon is still very popular to this day due to the unique flavor it imparts to the bacon. In fact, a lot of bacon purists identify the smoky taste to that of bacon and will refuse to consider unsmoked bacon as real bacon.

Smoked Bacon Trivia

  • One of the earliest cookbooks, The Virginia Housewife (1824), does not indicate that bacon is ever not smoked. In other words, bacon has always been smoked.
  • Bacon grease was used to make explosives during the second world war.
  • There is an annual ‘Camp Bacon’ event in Michigan that celebrates all things bacon.
  • Bacon in pop culture has given rise to strange products like bacon soap, bacon body wash, bacon toothpaste, and bacon floss.

Smoked Bacon Buying Guide

Not all smoked bacon is created equal. The flavor and smokiness will vary depending on the wood used to smoke the bacon. Here are some of the more popular wood choices used to commonly smoke bacon.

  • Cherry – Bacon smoked with cherry wood will have a mild, sweet, and fruity flavor to the bacon. This is often used for bacon that will be used in desserts.
  • Hickory – This is the most popular wood that is used to smoke bacon, and the flavor profile is what most people would identify with smoked bacon.
  • Applewood – Applewood comes in as a close second to hickory when it comes to smoked bacon. Smoking with applewood provides a good balance between sweet and smoky notes.
  • Mesquite – Mesquite imparts a robust smoke flavor that most people find overpowering. While not extremely popular, mesquite-smoked bacon still has some fans in the bacon world.
  • Maplewood – The flavor of Maplewood smoked bacon is somewhere between applewood and hickory in terms of smokiness and sweetness. Be careful in purchasing Maplewood smoked bacon as not to accidentally purchase bacon with maple syrup added.

Always check the label that the bacon is actually smoked and not just “Smoke Flavored.”

Smoked Bacon Production & Farming in Texas

Commercially Produced Smoked Bacon:

To keep costs low and to save time, commercially produced bacon is machine processed and injected with brine. The brine will typically consist of water, salt, spices, natural and artificial flavorings, nitrites, and in some cases, liquid smoke or smoke flavoring.

  • “Smoke Flavored” Bacon – Liquid smoke or smoke flavorings will be injected into the meat along with the brine.
  • Hardwood Smoked Bacon – After the injecting process, the bacon is usually smoked in electric smoking ovens, which ensures even smoking and temperature for large batches.

After the smoking process (or lack of it), the bacon is then pneumatically compressed to ensure even length and shape before being machine cut.

Small Batch/Artisanal Smoked Bacon Production:

Small batch smoked bacon is always smoked. Since small-batch bacon is never injected and always dry-cured, the only way to get that smoked bacon flavor is to actually smoke the bacon. Depending on the producer, the meat may be smoked anywhere from 4 hours up to 12 hours. It is impossible to list what small-batch and artisanal smoked bacon producers do to their bacon as their techniques are as individual as the people making the bacon.

Preservatives and Chemicals:

We’ve covered preservatives and chemicals that are being used in commercially produced bacon in a lot of bacon entries, so we won’t be covering them here. We will, however, go through one ingredient that may sound harmless and natural, but it will affect the overall quality of your smoked bacon. That ingredient is water.

Water is used to dissolve all of the flavorings and preservatives used in making commercially produced smoked bacon. This is also the reason why plump and juicy looking bacon slices shrivel up to almost nothing after cooking.

A lot of people will balk at the cost of traditional or artisanal smoked bacon, but if you look at it, you’re basically paying for water weight when it comes to commercially produced bacon. Some studies have shown that up to 20% of the weight of commercially produced smoked bacon is added water. This means that added to the 30% natural water that pork contains, you’ll be losing about half of the bacon when cooking it.

Compare that with naturally dry cured artisanal bacon where water is actually drawn out of the meat, this means that you’re actually getting more bacon that will not shrive up to nothing when cooked. Bottom line? You’re getting more bacon for your buck if you go for artisanal bacon as opposed to getting cheap store-bought bacon.

Enjoying Smoked Bacon

Depending on the smoking method used for the smoked bacon, it is assumed that smoked bacon is still raw, and it should be cooked before consumption.


Smoked bacon can be stored in its original packaging for up to a week in the fridge. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month as long as it’s still vacuum packed.

For small-batch or artisanal bacon that is packed in wax paper, they have to be used within three to four days from the date of purchase. If you plan to store it in the freezer, tightly wrap it in cling film and remove as much air as possible from the package to avoid freezer burn—store for up to a month.


Smoked bacon can be cooked just like regular bacon. It can be crisped up in a pan on the stovetop, in the oven for bigger batches, or in the microwave for a quick snack.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 161 109
  • Carbs: 0.6g 0%
  • Sugar: 0g 0%
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 12g
  • Fat: 12g 18%
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1g 21%
  • Trans Fat 0.1g 0%
  • Cholesterol 34mg 11%
  • Sodium 581mg 24%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Vitamin A 0.3%
  • Calcium 0.3%
  • Iron 1.8%
  • Potassium 172mg 5%
  • Niacin 10.457mg 65%
  • Vitamin B12 1.09mcg 45%
  • Thiamin 0.560mg 47%

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