The Ultimate Guide to Smoking Bacon in an Electric Smoker

If you have an electric smoker, you can transform ordinary bacon into a gourmet delicacy. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of curing and smoking bacon to perfection. With a range of techniques and tips, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to create perfectly smoked bacon every time. From beginner to expert, this post has something for everyone looking to elevate their bacon game.

Smoking bacon in an electric smoker involves curing the pork belly with a mixture of curing salts, brown sugar, and kosher salt, either through a dry brine or wet brine method. The cured pork belly is then placed in the electric smoker and exposed to wood smoke at a low temperature (80°F – 100°F) for cold smoking, or at a higher temperature (220°F) for hot smoking. The best internal temperature of the meat should be reached, typically around 150°F. Using hickory wood chips or a combination of hickory and fruit woods will add flavor to the bacon. To enhance the smoky flavor, a smoking tube can be used to double the amount of smoke produced. The resulting smoked bacon can be sliced and enjoyed as is, or cooked further before consumption.

Key Points

  • Pork Belly: Choose a whole pork belly that is about 1.5 inches thick and has a 50/50 fat to meat ratio. Consider removing the rind (skin) to allow the curing salt to penetrate the entire piece of meat and to increase smoke absorption.
  • Curing Salts: Used in the curing process to preserve the pork belly and add flavor.
  • Seasonings: Optional additions to the curing mixture or applied after curing for additional flavor.
  • Zip-lock bags: Used for storing and curing the pork belly, either through the dry brine or wet brine method.
  • Smoking Wood: Used to add flavor to the smoked bacon. Hickory is a popular choice, or a combination of hickory and fruit woods can be used.
  • Smoke tube and wood pellets: Optional tool for increasing smoke production in an electric smoker.

Smoking MethodTemperatureCook Time
Cold Smoking80°F – 100°F6 hours
Hot Smoking220°Funtil internal temperature reaches 150°F
Hot Smoking250°F3-4 hours
Hot Smoking300°F2-3 hours

The Benefits of Homemade Bacon

There are several reasons why homemade bacon made in a smoker is better than store-bought bacon. First and foremost, homemade bacon allows you to control the quality and source of the pork, ensuring that you are using high-quality, ethically-raised meat. Store-bought bacon is often made from factory-farmed pork, which may be treated with hormones and antibiotics and raised in inhumane conditions.

In terms of flavor, homemade bacon allows you to customize the curing mixture and the type of wood used, resulting in a unique and personalized flavor profile. Store-bought bacon is often heavily processed and may contain artificial ingredients and preservatives that affect the taste.

From a health standpoint, homemade bacon allows you to control the amount of salt and other additives used in the curing process, reducing the risk of consuming excessive amounts of sodium and other potentially harmful ingredients. Store-bought bacon is often high in sodium and may contain added sugars and other questionable ingredients.

In conclusion, homemade bacon made in a smoker is superior to store-bought bacon due to the ability to control the quality and source of the pork, customize the flavor, and reduce the risk of consuming excess sodium and artificial ingredients.

The Science of Curing Bacon

Curing bacon involves preserving the meat through the use of salt, sugar, and other additives. The process of curing helps to preserve the bacon by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and preventing the meat from spoiling.

There are two main types of curing methods: wet curing and dry curing. In wet curing, the pork belly is soaked in a brine solution made up of salt, sugar, and other flavorings for a few days. The brine solution helps to preserve the meat and also imparts flavor.

In dry curing, the pork belly is rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other flavorings and left to cure for several days. The dry curing method results in a firmer, drier bacon than wet curing.

Both wet and dry curing methods use a type of salt called curing salt, which contains a small amount of sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite helps to preserve the meat and also gives bacon its characteristic pink color. It is important to use the correct amount of curing salt as too little can result in the bacon not being properly preserved, while too much can be harmful to consume.

In addition to preserving the meat and adding flavor, the curing process also helps to remove moisture from the bacon, resulting in a firmer, sliceable final product.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Smoked Bacon in an Electric Smoker

Smoked Bacon in an Electric Smoker

Homemade bacon in an electric smoker is one of the easiest, and healthier ways to make this delicious smoked pork belly. Electric smokers produce less smoke than other smokers, however, the use of smoking tubes can generate more smoke.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes


  • Whole pork belly
  • Curing salts (Prague Powder #1)
  • Brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Distilled water (if wet brining)


    1. Remove the rind (skin) from the pork belly.

    2. Cut the pork belly into large squares so it can fit inside a zip-lock bag.

    3. Weigh the pork belly and use the curing calculator to measure exact quantities of curing salt, kosher salt, brown sugar and distilled water (if wet brining).

Brining Option 1 - Dry Brine:

1. Dry the pork belly with a paper towel.

2. Rub curing salts (Prague Powder #1) and brown sugar over every part of the pork belly.

3. Place the pork belly into a zip-lock bag or on a rack.

4. Refrigerate and leave the pork belly to cure for 8-10 days.

5. Rotate and massage the pork belly every day.

Brining Option 2 - Wet Brine:

1. Mix the curing salts, kosher salt, brown sugar and distilled water into a zip-lock bag or a deep container.

2. Lay the pork belly into the brine solution, making sure the meat is fully submerged.

3. Leave the meat to soak in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

4. After the meat has cured, rinse the pork belly but keep it chilled. Some people like to add seasoning at this stage. You can smother the pork belly with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, or whatever seasoning you like. Give the seasoning time to penetrate the meat, so allow between 2-12 hours.

Smoking Option 1 - Cold Smoking:

1. Turn on your electric smoker and set the temperature between 80°F - 100°F.

2. Fill your wood chip tray with hickory or your wood of choice, then smoke the pork belly for 6-hours.

3. If using a smoking tube, light 1-inch of the pellets/dust and then blow it out so that the wood is smoldering. Once the smoking tube is smoking, place it on the bottom of the smoker.

4. After 6-hours of smoking, remove the bacon and slice. Keep in mind the cold smoked bacon is partially raw and will need to be cooked before it can be consumed.

Smoking Option 2 - Hot Smoking:

1. Set the temperature of your electric smoker to 220°F.

2. Add the wood chips and/or smoking tube.

3. Smoke the pork belly for as long as it takes for the internal meat temperature to reach 150°F.

4. Slice the bacon and eat straight out of the smoker.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

3 slices

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 161Total Fat: 12gSodium: 581mgProtein: 12g

What You Need To Smoke Bacon

First things first, you’re gonna need a whole pork belly, none of that pre-sliced stuff. Trust me, you want to start with a whole belly and slice it yourself. Next, you’ll need some curing salts. These are what’s gonna give your bacon that signature flavor and keep it fresh. Don’t skimp on the seasonings either, a little extra love in the form of garlic powder or black pepper can go a long way.

You’ll also want some zip-lock bags for brining and a good variety of smoking wood. And last but not least, a smoke tube and some wood pellets can really enhance the smoky flavor of your bacon. Trust me, with these items on hand, you’ll be smokin’ up some top-notch bacon in no time.

Here’s a list of five things you will need to smoke bacon:

  1. Pork Belly – Whole not sliced.
  2. Curing Salts.
  3. Seasonings
  4. Zip-lock bags
  5. Smoking Wood
  6. Smoke tube and wood pellets

Is it Safe to Make Bacon at Home?

Homemade bacon made in a smoker can be safe to make as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. First, it’s crucial to use proper curing salts, such as Prague Powder #1, to ensure that the meat is preserved properly and free of harmful bacteria. Without proper curing, there is a risk of the bacon becoming rancid or harboring harmful bacteria.

It’s also essential to follow the recommended curing times and temperatures to ensure that the bacon is properly cured throughout. This is especially important when cold smoking bacon, as the lower temperatures may not be sufficient to kill harmful bacteria.

It’s crucial to handle the bacon properly during the curing and smoking process to prevent contamination. This includes washing your hands and equipment thoroughly, storing the bacon at proper temperatures, and cooking it to a safe internal temperature before consuming.

As long as you follow these guidelines and use proper curing salts and techniques, homemade bacon made in a smoker can be a delicious and safe addition to your culinary repertoire.

Whole Pork Belly For Bacon

  • The main ingredient for making bacon is pork belly, which should be purchased whole and not sliced.
  • The pork belly should be about 1.5 inches thick and have a 50/50 fat to meat ratio.
  • The rind (skin) of the pork belly can be removed for easier curing and increased smoke absorption, but it is optional.
  • If the rind is not removed, the curing salt may not fully penetrate the meat, leading to uncured areas and potentially unsafe bacon.
  • Removing the rind also allows the bacon to absorb more smoke flavor.

The first thing you’re going to need to make bacon is the meat. Bacon is made using pork belly, which can be bought fresh from your butcher. Make sure that it’s whole, not sliced. Ask the butcher for a pork belly that is about 1.5 inches thick and with a 50/50 fat to meat ratio.

I prefer to remove the rind (skin), but this is optional. I know the chewy part of the bacon is the best, so you can leave it on. However, during the curing process, the rind will prevent the salt from penetrating every area of the meat.

If parts of the meat are uncured, then it’s not safe. Curing meat carries some risks, and if you don’t do it right, then you are putting your family’s health at risk. In my opinion, it’s better to remove the rind so that the belly is cured properly. The other reason I remove the rind is because it creates a barrier against smoke. I want my pork belly to absorb as much smoke as possible, which is another reason I like to remove it.

Bacon Curing Salts

Bacon curing salts, also known as pink curing salt or curing mix, are essential for preserving and flavoring homemade bacon. These salts contain a combination of salt and a small percentage of sodium nitrite, which helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and adds a characteristic pink color to the meat.

There are several types of curing salts available on the market, including Prague Powder #1, Tender Quick, and Prague Powder #2. Prague Powder #1 is a popular choice among professional pitmasters and is recommended by the website It is the only curing salt that does not contain nitrates, which some people prefer to avoid. Tender Quick and Prague Powder #2, on the other hand, do contain nitrates.

It is important to use the proper curing salts in the correct amounts to ensure the safety and quality of the finished bacon. Curing meat carries some risks, and if the process is not done correctly, the resulting bacon could contain uncured patches that may be unsafe to consume.

I prefer to use Prague Powder #1, which is a combination of salt and a small percentage of sodium nitrite. I use Prague Powder #1 because it’s the curing salt recommended by the barbecue professionals on, and it’s the only curing salt that doesn’t contain nitrates. The other popular curing salts are Tender Quick and Prague Powder #2, however these products contain nitrates, which I like to avoid.

What Other Ingredients Do You Need?

The bacon recipe I follow also uses kosher salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. If you are wet brining, make sure you use distilled water rather than tap water. Another option is to season the pork belly just before it goes into the smoker. Some people like to remove the belly from the brine, then smother it with garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper, then let it sit in the refrigerator for another day before smoking. But this step is optional.

Curing Bacon in Zip-Lock Bags

If you smoke meat regularly, then get yourself some large zip-lock bags because they come in handy for a lot of different purposes. Extra large, heavy-duty zip-lock bags are the easiest way to brine meat in your refrigerator, and work well for wet brining and dry brining. If you are wet brining, it’s a good idea to sit the bag in a tray to prevent leakage. If you are dry brining, some people still like to use zip-lock bags even though it’s better to have air flowing around the meat while it’s curing. The other option is to cure the meat in a large container or tub and let the meat soak in a brine bath.

The Best Wood For Smoking Bacon

  • Different types of wood will impart distinct flavors and aromas to the meat, so selecting the right wood is essential.
  • Hickory is a classic choice for smoking bacon and imparts a strong, smoky flavor. It pairs well with the rich, savory taste of pork and is often used in traditional Southern barbecue.
  • Fruit woods, such as apple, cherry, and peach, are also popular choices for smoking bacon. These woods offer a milder, sweeter flavor that complements the salty, savory taste of bacon. They can also add a subtle fruitiness to the finished product.
  • Competition pitmasters often experiment with a variety of wood types and combinations to find the perfect balance of flavor for their bacon. It is worth noting that the type of wood used can have a significant impact on the taste of the final product, so it is worth considering carefully.
Wood TypeDescription
AppleSweet and fruity, pairs well with pork
CherrySweet and fruity, pairs well with pork and poultry
MapleMild and sweet, pairs well with pork and poultry
OakStrong and robust, pairs well with red meat
PecanMild and nutty, pairs well with pork and poultry
HickoryStrong and smoky, classic choice for bacon
MesquiteStrong and bold, pairs well with red meat
PeachMild and fruity, pairs well with pork
PlumMild and fruity, pairs well with pork and poultry

Hickory and bacon are one of the most perfect combinations in meat smoking. Hickory has a strong smoke flavor that can overpower some meats, but pork belly can handle it. Mixing-and-matching woods is something that I like to do, because experimenting is part of the fun. When smoking bacon, I like to do a 50/50 mix of hickory and apple or hickory and cherry. Maple is another wood popular with bacon, it has a slight sweetness but isn’t as harsh as hickory. As with all smoking woods, it all comes down to personal preferences. If you asked 10 people what their favorite wood combinations for bacon are, you will probably get 10 different answers.

How To Get More Smoke in an Electric Smoker

One of the most common criticisms directed against electric smokers is they don’t produce enough smoke. The way around this is to use a smoking tube, which is a metal tube with holes.

To use a smoking tube in an electric smoker, follow these steps:

  1. Fill the smoking tube with wood pellets or dust.
  2. Light one end of the smoking tube until the pellets or dust start to smolder.
  3. Blow out the flame so that the wood is smoldering, not burning.
  4. Place the smoking tube on the bottom of the electric smoker.
  5. Set the temperature and smoke your bacon as desired.

To adapt the smoking tube for cold smoking bacon, set the temperature of the electric smoker to 80°F – 100°F and smoke the bacon for 6 hours or until it reaches the desired level of smoke flavor.

It is worth noting that cold smoking does not cook the bacon, so it will need to be cooked before consumption. Cold smoking can be used to add flavor to the bacon before cooking it in the oven or on the stove.

You can smoke bacon without a smoking tube, but if you want to take your bacon to the next level, think about getting a tube. They don’t cost much and they’re readily available in barbecue stores or on Amazon.

The A-MAZE-N Tube

All you need to do is fill the tube with sawdust or wood pellets, and light it up. The idea is to let the wood in the tube smolder for the entire cook. To do this, you ignite one end of the tube so that about 1-inch of pellets are white hot. Then you blow out the fire and let the rest smolder. One tube of pellets should provide you with up to 5-hours of smoke. There are similar products on the market, such as smoking pouches, but I find the tubes work best. The A-MAZE-N tube is the tube that was recommended to me, and seems to be one of the most popular. Check the latest price on Amazon here.

Electric Smokers are Perfect for Smoking Bacon

According to experts, electric smokers are an excellent choice for making bacon due to their convenience and ease of use. Unlike charcoal or wood-fired smokers, electric smokers are simple to set up and require minimal attention during the smoking process. This makes them an excellent choice for beginners or those who don’t want to fuss with maintaining a fire.

Electric smokers also offer precise temperature control, allowing you to dial in the exact temperature needed for curing and smoking bacon to perfection. This is especially useful when cold smoking bacon, as maintaining a consistent low temperature is crucial for preserving the meat.

Another benefit of electric smokers is their versatility. Many models come with multiple racks, making it easy to smoke multiple racks of bacon at once. Electric smokers are also relatively compact, making them a convenient choice for those with limited space.

My Favorite Meat Smoking Tools

Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.

Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.

Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.

Wireless Thermometer: The latest thermometers on the market have no wires and can be controlled by wi-fi via your phone. Airprobe 3 is the best of this technology.

Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.

Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.

Pork Butt In An Electric Smoker – Pro Tips  

How To Smoke Fish in an Electric Smoker (Including Smoked Salmon) 

Meat Thermometers – Your Most Important Tool

The Beginner’s Guide To Meat Thermometers

The Best Meat Thermometers Under $50 (We List the Top 8 Choices)

The Best Thermometers for Smoking Meat

Best Wi-Fi Meat Thermometers (We Review the 5 Top Models)

Best Instant-Read Thermometers for Smoking (Top 6 Picks)

What Are Automatic Barbeque Temperature Controllers? The Complete Buyers Guide

MEATER Wireless Thermometer – Is It Any Good?


Author and founder at Meat Smoking HQ

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