For The Crispiest Bacon, Reach For Your Dehydrator

Bacon is a fan favorite for many. Whether you serve it with eggs, pancakes, or waffles — or prefer to eat it as a snack — there's no denying how tasty it is. You might enjoy your bacon crispy, but not so much that it resembles a burnt chip. You have to cook it for just the right amount of time, but this can vary depending on your cooking method.

There are a few ways you can cook bacon: sauteeing, air frying, oven cooking, and more. Yet many people overlook one of the best ways to achieve crispy and delicious bacon — in a dehydrator. The way this works is by removing moisture from the food, which makes the end result lighter and crispier. Additionally, the reduced water leads to a more concentrated flavor, which will set your taste buds alight! If the goal is to extend the shelf life of your bacon — dehydrating it will do the trick.

Tips for dehydrating bacon

The type of bacon you use when dehydrating can affect your results. Fattier cuts can be an issue as oil won't dehydrate — and it may go rancid faster. Lean cuts are made up of 70 to 85% water, which results in a drier texture — and this is what you want for the crispiest bacon. Canadian bacon (which is called back bacon in Canada) is from the loin, making it a leaner (and better) choice. Failing that, look for center-cut bacon, which has the fattier ends cut off.

As for preparing the bacon for dehydration, you should precook it to remove excess fat and moisture. You can do this by frying it on a medium heat until it's crispy and cooked through. We recommend placing the bacon slices on paper towels to allow the grease to drain off before putting it in the dehydrator. Then, set your dehydrator to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for four to eight hours. 

To avoid the bacon becoming too crispy, check back at regular intervals. If you don't have a dehydrator, you don't necessarily have to miss out. Many air fryers have a dehydrating setting, which works the same way. You'll have to check the individual settings on your model. If possible, set the temperature to 200 Fahrenheit and cook the bacon for two to three hours.

How to enjoy dehydrated bacon

Dehydrated bacon can be enjoyed in many ways — you can tear it up and have it with a salad, pair it with pancakes and maple syrup, or eat it on its own as a snack. Additionally, you can elevate your bacon by turning it into jerky. Similar to something like kung pao beef jerky, bacon jerky is flavorful, crunchy, and delicious. Alongside the pre-cooked meat, all you need is soy sauce, sriracha sauce, and any other flavoring of your choice.

If you're missing a key ingredient, don't panic; there are many substitutes for soy sauce, such as Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar. Mix the ingredients together, brush them onto each side of the bacon, and place them into your dehydrator.

Or you can model your marinade after Filipino beef jerky skewers and mix together soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, honey, and fish sauce for a tasty treat. Just go easy on the marinade, so you don't end up with soggy jerky.

One of the greatest things about bacon jerky is it can be stored for a long time. While it can be kept for up to two months, you'll want to store it in the fridge or freezer to prevent the growth of microorganisms and ensure it's safe to eat (per the USDA).