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So you’ve acquired a pellet grill and now it’s time to put it to use!
If you’re anything like me, it doesn’t take long before bacon rises to the top of the idea list when it comes to cooking.
Whether it’s bacon strips on their own or they’re wrapped around some jalapeño poppers, you might be wondering how to best cook bacon on a pellet grill.
So if you’ve got a Traeger, Pit Boss, Camp Chef, or any other brand of pellet grill – you’ve come to the right place!
Is It Safe to Cook Bacon On A Pellet Smoker?
First things first, you might be wondering if it’s even safe to grill bacon on a pellet grill. It’s a fair concern, considering how much grease comes out of bacon while it cooks!
The short answer is yes, it’s generally safe to cook bacon on a pellet grill. However, it’s important to keep in mind a couple of key points.
Most pellet grills cook with a convection style, indirect heating method. The grill’s firepot burns wood pellets, and a heat diffuser plate rests above the firepot which blocks the flame from directly heating your food.
That’s really important because what you can’t have is bacon grease dripping into a flame – that’s a sure way to end up with flare ups as a best case and a full on grill fire worst case scenario.
Some pellet grills give you the option to slide the diffusor plate to the side and grill over direct heat (my Camp Chef Woodwind has this feature). If your grill has a similar feature, play it safe and make sure the diffusor plate is covering your firepot.
To Grill Or To Smoke?
To grill or to BBQ, that is the question. Pellet grills are capable of doing both and with bacon, you can just as easily go low and slow as you can a little bit hotter and faster.
If you have the time, we’d recommend smoking your bacon on lower heat for a longer period of time. You can still achieve incredibly crispy bacon – and all the while your bacon will absorb some really nice smokey flavor.
That’s not to say you can’t throw the bacon on for a higher heat, grilling style cook. It will turn out just fine and pick up a little bit of smokey flavor along the way too.
The Grilling Method
If you want to grill bacon on higher heat, set your pellet grill to 375ºF.
When we’re working with high heat, we want to play it safe with our grease drippings. If your pellet grill has two racks, I like to place thick cut bacon on the top rack with an aluminum foil pan below to catch the drippings.
If you don’t have multiple racks, you can instead place your bacon strips on a cookie sheet that’s lined with a rack.
Place your bacon in the grill, set your smoke setting to high, and shut the lid. From there, it will cook for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
The Smoking Method
There’s not much different about the process for a low and slow bacon experience. Instead of higher heat, set your pellet smoker to 275ºF with the smoke setting on high.
From there, place your bacon directly on the grill grates. Shut the lid and let your cooker do it’s thing.
At 275ºF, plan on your thick cut bacon taking around 30-35 minutes before it reaches a nice crispiness.
Remove your bacon once it reaches your desired doneness!
Which Type of Wood Pellets for Bacon?
When it comes to choosing the best wood pellets for smoking bacon, it’s important to note what type of bacon you’re working with.
Nowadays, it’s not too uncommon for raw bacon to be pre smoked or pre flavored – and it will for sure be pre brined for some salty flavor. So you just want to make sure your pellets compliment your bacon flavor if that’s the case.
If you’re using original bacon, we’d recommend oak, apple, or hickory pellets as our top three choices for bacon flavoring. Oak and hickory impart a medium to strong, hearty smoky flavor into food, whereas apple is a little lighter and sweeter on the smoke flavor.
You really can’t go wrong with pellet choice, but those are our top three!
Do You Need to Flip Bacon In A Pellet Smoker?
No, you don’t need to flip bacon when you cook it on a pellet smoker – assuming your bacon is cooking directly on the grate or on a raised rack. The reason is because pellet grills inherently cook like a convection style oven, which means your bacon will be heated evenly from all sides.
Alternatively if you’re putting bacon directly on a cookie sheet or inside of a cast iron pan that you place inside of your grill, you’d need to flip it to ensure even cooking.
Recipes to Use Smoked Bacon In
I’m one to crush bacon strips on their own, but there are quite a few recipes that can be elevated if you used smoked bacon instead of regular. Here are some of our ideas to put your creation to use:
If you want a variation on this smoked bacon recipe, you can also check out our guide on how to make bacon jerky – which the pellet grill is also perfect for!
Smoked Bacon on a Pellet Grill
- 12 slices of bacon thick cut
- Preheat pellet grill to 275ºF and turn smoke setting to high
- Place bacon strips directly on the grate and shut the lid
- Cook for 30-35 minutes or until bacon reaches desired crispiness
- Remove bacon from the grill and allow to rest about 2-3 minutes before serving
- Make sure your pellet grill isn’t set to cook with direct heat over the firepot. If your firepot is exposed, you should not cook bacon directly on the grill grate
- We like to use oak, apple, or hickory wood pellets with original flavored bacon