Table of Contents
- Smoked Bacon – 3 Methods Require Different Equipment
- Hot Cooked Smoked Bacon
- Cold Smoked Bacon
- Green Unsmoked Bacon
There are so many options when it comes to equipment for making your own delicious bacon. When I first started planning this write-up, it got a bit scary writing down all the different equipment that you could use- there are so many options!
But hopefully, it helps whether you are smoking/cooking the bacon and then cutting it into nice thick chunks. Or You prefer dry, cured, cold smoked bacon when it gets crispy and intense. I will cover both methods I use want gear you need.
Also, this will be comprehensive, but really, you can keep it simple, and I’ll go over easy options to help as well.
What Equipment Do I Need to Make Delicious Bacon?
The equipment you need to make bacon is an oven, a hot smoking device, or a cold smoking device. There are many options listed below, depending on the desired style and method.
I wrote another post on the process of making excellent bacon; I want to focus more on the title of the equipment.
I’ll also mention what equipment I think is the easiest to use.
- Low & Slow Smoker that cooks and smokes
- Cold Smoking Device
- Oven or Gas Grill for ‘Green’ Bacon (Unsmoked)
Now, if you’re just looking at the equipment, you also want to determine what process you’ll be using.
Processes for Curing Bacon
- Dry Curing
- Wet Brining
- Salt Saturation
How To Make Bacon
- Dry cure or Wet brine cure
- Wash off cure
- Dry the bacon to form the pellicle
- Cold or Hot Smoke (Cook)
- Wrap & store to intensify the flavor
Kitchen Equipment Needed
- Tupperware of Container – for curing the meat and also rest it.
- Wood – if you’re using any of the methods apart from ‘Green’ Bacon
- Sea Salt
- Other spices and conditions (my favorite bacon recipe has juniper and garlic notes)
- Optional: Pink Curing Salt No.1 (Designed for meat curing under 30 days for meat that will be cooked before eating). I don’t often use pink curing salt for whole-muscle curing, but that choice is yours.
Smoked Bacon – 3 Methods Require Different Equipment
- Hot Cooked Smoked Bacon
- Cold Smoked Bacon
- ‘Green’ UnSmoked Bacon
When you’re looking at the equipment, of course, you have to look at the method you will use. What I’ve come across are three styles. The most common style guys do it home is the low and slow/smoked/cooked backed smoked bacon, where you slowly cook the bacon for around three or four hours until the internal temperature hits 150°F\65°C.
A big reason for this is many folks are a bit scared of the mysteries of cold smoking, but if you follow an excellent, solid procedure, it’s okay. Following a method or process is not what some people are good at!
With this method, you cook/bake (indirect heat) the bacon slowly to a safe temperature with smoke flavor. This is similar to the deli ham style or pastrami without the pickling side of it.
The most crucial point is that the bacon reaches a safe and cooked internal temperature since it won’t be cured fully and dried.
Next is cold-smoked bacon; this is the old traditional method of fully curing or wet brining the meat and then going through a drying process, which also involves cold-smoke being applied to the meat (with antifungal and antibacterial properties to help protect the meat during the process..and of course adding flavor!
Lastly, you have the green bacon process, which you can do easily and is a no-brainer: in the oven or indirect cooking method on a gas grill.
Another name you could call this is baked pork belly that is being cured or brined, I guess. It has a bit of bacon flavor without the smoke flavor.
For the three ways to smoke bacon below, liquid smoke can enhance/create more smoke flavor. It’s a condensation of the smoke in a liquid form.
Please note: You need a very small amount- 1 to 2 teaspoons is enough for 2-4 pounds of bacon. Brush on before or after curing.
Hot Cooked Smoked Bacon
The easiest hot-cooked bacon equipment is anything that is set and forget, such as the pellet grill smoker, electric Smoker, or gas smoker.
The reason is that these are controlled by thermostats, or with many gas smokers – they are just dials, but there is one I have seen that is Therostat gas.
Equipment for Hot Cooked Smoked Bacon
Lots of options:
- Pellet Grill Smoker – easy to use
- Kettle/Barrel Smoker – low & slow style
- Electric Smoker – Oven with Smoke basically – easy to use
- Gas Smoker – gas oven with smoked – easy to use
- Offset Smoker – low & slow style
- Gas Grill with a Hood – Indirect, pretty easy, too
If you’re just making bacon a pellet grills a big investment, however, a pellet grill is a very versatile smoker and grill.
You can do roasting, baking, and other things on the woodfired pellet grill smoke.
Basically an outdoor oven with a thermostat, pellet grills are very proven on the market, with friends like Traeger camp chef, pit boss, and Green Mountain Grill.
So you just whack a probe into the center of your cured pork belly and then wait until your alarm goes off, telling you that it has set a target temperature of 150°F. Wrap it up for a few hours or overnight, and you’re done!
Check out a few recommended pellet grills here.
These charcoal low and slow-style smokers, like the Weber kettle or the pit barrel smoker, can definitely smoke some smoky bacon. It’s just a matter of getting the charcoal going and maintaining around 200°F\92°C.
Three hours until the internal temperature is 150°F for 65°C.
You’ll need some kind of temperature probe to figure out the internal temperature; you can check out a few recommendations here.
Oh, and you could also use a ceramic egg-style smoker grill. (My brother has one at his holiday cottage, but he needs to use it more!)
There is the only classic – easy-to-use Masterbuilt electric smoke, which does so much more than just making bacon. Thermostat controlled as a reason why there are tens of thousands of these in the backyards everywhere (and they normally under $250ish)
Considering it can do anything from the brisket to pulled pork for any type of low & slow.
A lot of the barbecue charcoal hard-core folks don’t like electric smokers because they can be serious contenders with a massive shortcut in the effort.
Not for the purist, but damn, they produce the goods!
If you want more on the masterbuilt Smoker, I did a bit of a write-up here about it.
Gas smokers are very similar to electric smokers; it’s just a different type of heat source. But you are always looking at low and slow styles. There is actually one that is gas thermostat-controlled, and I wrote about that one here.
If you are pretty hard-core into L&S – offset smoking, there are two main factors: fire management and airflow.
Making bacon over 3 or 4 hours is not too much hassle if you know what you are doing (similar to any of the above charcoal options).
One of the big reasons why offset smokers can hold the heat well is the materials they are built from.
What makes them a bit challenging is that it sometimes takes 15 to 30 minutes before changing the airflow or adding more charcoal/wood actually has an effect.
Gas Grill with a Hood
With indirect gas grill cooking, you use one/two of the burners on the left and then put the meat or pork belly on the right – or vice versa.
You can use one of those pellet tubes, maze smokers, or even a tinfoil pouch to produce some smoke. I’m not keen on the foil pouch method; heating up foil is not something I’ve read is good for you.
If you have a gas grill with a hood – you can get one of those pellet tubes below for $20 or $30. You can either do low and slow bacon on your gas grill or just leave the heat off and do cold smoking on a gas grill; all you need is a smoking area, just like under the hood or a cardboard box!
You can also try stuff like chocolate, cheese, or nuts for gas grill cold smoking.
Cold Smoked Bacon
You get crispier bacon when you thinly slice cold-smoked dry-cured bacon, more often than not I make this because I like the preserving aspect of it and can hang a piece in winter and just cut off but as you need them. It has dried and lost moisture, so it crisps up easier.
I make quite a lot of cold-smoked bacon. Then, I use the deli slicer to make nice thin slices. Then, I freeze each slice on a tray. I can just put it in a bag in the freezer. When I need it, I grab a handful, and it goes straight into the frying pan.
It’s a personal preference, but many people like the juicier cooked hot smoked bacon in big chunks like bacon ham too.
Each one to their own.
Equipment for Cold Smoked Bacon
- Smoke Generators – driven by a pump, adds smoke to any chamber/bbq
- Pellet Tube – cheap & lacks control
- Maze Smoker – cheap & lacks control
- Smoking Chamber piped into a cold smoking area (DIY Smokehouse)
- Charcoal & Wood – the simplest method I know
- Accessory Cold Smoker to an electric/gas/pellet smoker (depending on the brand)
(Driven by an air pump, adds smoke to any chamber/bbq)
I’ve been using one of these for nearly ten years, so I thought I’d mention the method; it uses the venturi effect. The variable air pump draws the smoldering smoke into any area you attach it to.
I won’t get into too much here, but if you want to look at recommendations and a bit more info, I did a full review of the smokai generators here (they are an investment, but worth it.)
If we want one of my favorite ways of cold smoking, this is it, all you have to do is fill up with smoking wood pellets, light it, wait a while, blow it out and you have either 2 or 6 hours of cold smoke!
4 or 5 hours cold smoking for a 12″ Pellet Tube approx.
Sometimes I mix the woods pellets with some wood chips. You can play around with that and see how it goes.
If it’s producing too much smoke, I just offset it outside whatever smoking chamber I’m using.
Read more about pellet tubes, and one’s worth getting here.
It’s a similar idea as pellet tubes, but you can use a tea candle to get them going.
Some are more wood sawdust fuel; others are sawdust or pellet wood.
Pellet tubes and maze smokers are definitely small convenient & cheap.
And just like with the pellet tube, a maze smoke can cold-smoke anything, including meat, vegetables, cream, salt, etc.
If you’re more of a guide on cold smoking together this link here.
A smokehouse is just a structure where you get a bit of smoke. If it’s a bigger smokehouse, you can just get something smoldering/smoking down the bottom on the ground in a pan, a pellet tube, maze smoke, or the charcoal/wood method below.
But some guys also like to have the burning smoking area piped or tunneled and the main smoking area (small smokehouses). This is for a lifestyle block or homesteading-style setup.
Piping in the fire/smoke does mean you can get a fire going with hardwood smoking logs, so it was the old traditional way as well.
Charcoal & Wood
I love this simple method, but I’m not sure if I came with it, It’s hard to be original these days. Just get 1 piece of charcoal lit on a gas grill or camp burner – you only need a little bit of white-hot burning on the charcoal.
Dump half to a handful of smoking hardwood on top, and you have some smoldering cold smoke!
As long as it’s not too enclosed in the same chamber and under that magic 86°F\30°C, then you can go crazy with cold smoking your bacon. That’s a simple kit!
Accessory Cold Smoker (Depending on the Brand)
There are a few bolt-ons like the master-built Cold Smoker that attaches to the electric smoke and a few others out there. If you’ve got an existing low & slow smoker, you may want to just have to search and see if an accessory can be attached.
Green Unsmoked Bacon
It still can taste quite bacony. Maybe the pink curing salt, which has a certain porky flavor, gives it that flavor as well.
Equipment for Green-Unsmoked Bacon
If you get a temperature probe, you can get the green bacon style. Your oven needs to run at 200°F/95°C until it reaches that 150°F/65°C internal temperature. Pretty straightforward stuff.
And with that curing process you do get more intense flavor.
Hood Gas Grill BBQ
It’s the same as the above, other than indirect heat under the hood. Liquid smoke can work as the hack (or get a pellet tube!).
As mentioned above, liquid smoke is useful for smoke flavor without a smoker; here is more on this approach.