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posted April 18, 2023

Smoked Candied Bacon

Smoked candied bacon takes the best food of all time and makes it EVEN BETTER with a sweet coating of maple syrup, brown sugar, and my famous sweet rub seasoning.

Candied bacon in a glass mason jar with text overlay - Smoked Candied Bacon.

Candied Bacon

It’s hard to pass up a slice or two of candied bacon when it’s included in the spread at breakfast. In fact, anytime we whip up the recipe alongside pancakes, waffles, eggs, or omelets, this bacon is the first to go. And while it makes for a great breakfast side, you can enjoy this bacon anytime. It has that perfect sweet, savory, and salty mix that makes it majorly addicting.

The key to the best candied bacon is the type of bacon that you start with. I highly recommend using a thick cut of bacon as your base. You can choose peppered or maple bacon if you like, but I prefer to create my own seasoning profile so I always go with a classic apple or hickory smoked bacon.

Bacon being brushed with maple syrup.

Ingredients for Candied Bacon

You only need 4 ingredients to make this recipe, so my recommendation is to get the best of each ingredient that you can (meaning snag some quality thick-cut bacon and pure maple syrup if possible).

Maple syrup acts as both a flavor element and a binder. I brush it on my bacon liberally before applying brown sugar and a healthy shake of my Sweet Rub. The sweet rub will add layers of classic BBQ flavor like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and more. Not enough to make the bacon too spicy or savory, just enough to keep the flavor interesting.

The Sweet Rub really is the secret ingredient to this candied bacon. It’ll add so much amazing flavor to the bacon and really bring out all the goodness of the pork. You can purchase a bottle of my Sweet Rub from the Hey Grill Hey Store, or make it from scratch using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub.

Bacon on a baking rack being sprinkled with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.

How to Make Candied Bacon

Once you have the 4 ingredients ready to go, you’re ready to smoke up some tasty bacon. Here’s how to make candied bacon.

  1. Preheat. Fire up your favorite smoker to 275 degrees F. My favorite wood to use with bacon is applewood. Hickory, cherry, maple, or pecan woods also work great for this recipe.
  2. Arrange bacon. Place your bacon strips in a single layer on an elevated flat rack over a cookie sheet lined with foil. Elevating your bacon allows the fat to render and fall away from the bacon so it won’t be overly saturated and the bacon won’t burn onto the foil with all of the caramelizing sugars.
  3. Season. Brush the top of the bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle with brown sugar and Sweet Rub.
  4. Smoke. Place the baking rack on the smoker and cook for 12-15 minutes. Smoke and slowly cook the bacon until all of the sugar is melted around the bacon and the edges have started to wrinkle. 
  5. Flip and season. Flip the bacon over on the rack and brush on another layer of syrup and sprinkle with more brown sugar and sweet rub. 
  6. Finish smoking. Continue cooking to your desired crispiness. It takes about 25-30 minutes in total to cook this candied bacon.
  7. Enjoy. Remove the bacon from the smoker and serve while still warm. It’s best to let the bacon cool slightly before serving it to your family or guests as the sugars in the Sweet Rub will be hot.

Seasoned bacon on the smoker.

Can I Make Candied Bacon in the Oven?

You can most definitely make this candied bacon in the oven! To make classic candied bacon in your oven you will simply follow the same time and temperature guidelines in the recipe below.

Most smokers circulate heat similar to ovens and so the cooking process is similar. Of course, just like every grill, each oven can cook at slightly different speeds, so keep an eye on your bacon to prevent any burning.

Smoked candied bacon stacked on peach butcher paper.

Tips for Making Candied Bacon

  • Use a wire baking rack over a pan lined with foil. This helps your bacon crisp better without sitting in its own rendered fat. The foil lining also makes cleanup easier.
  • Check your bacon halfway through cooking. Most smokers have hot spots and due to the high sugar content in this bacon, you can have burned or over-caramelized pieces. Checking halfway through the cooking process can help you move the pan of bacon around to avoid those hot spots before it’s too late.
  • Embrace chewy bacon. Candied bacon will never have the same crispiness as pan-fried bacon. The sugar coating on the exterior allows the fat to render out and the sugar to melt and caramelize, but it won’t fully crisp. It’s totally fine though, the sticky chewiness is all part of the candied bacon charm.

More Candied Bacon Recipes

This candied bacon can be made into roses for your BBQ-loving special someone, added to ice cream, and cooked over buttery crackers for a killer snack. Check out some of the ways Hey Grill Hey uses this amazing bacon below.

Candied Bacon Recipe

Hey Grill Hey is here to ensure you master a BBQ recipe like a total pro. In fact, we hope each recipe and tutorial makes you feel like a backyard BBQ hero so you can feed the people you love.

If you loved this recipe, be sure to rate it 5 stars and leave us a comment below! You can also access this amazing smoked lamb shoulder recipe and over 500 other recipes on the Hey Grill Hey App.

This post was originally published in January 2019. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Candied bacon in a glass mason jar.

Smoked Candied Bacon

Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
Smoked candied bacon takes the best food of all time (bacon) and makes it even better with a sweet coating of maple syrup, brown sugar, and my famous sweet rub.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 30 mins
Total Time : 40 mins
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 421kcal

Video

Ingredients
 

  • 12 slices thick cut bacon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub (recipe in notes section)

Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Assemble the bacon. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a flat cooking rack on top of the baking sheet and lay the bacon down in a single layer on the rack.
  • Season. Brush the top side of the bacon with maple syrup, then sprinkle each piece with some of the brown sugar and the sweet rub.
  • Smoke. Place the baking sheet in the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for 12-15 minutes or until the fat has started to render, the sugar has mostly melted, and the edges have started to wrinkle.
  • Flip and season. Flip the bacon over and brush the top with maple syrup, and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar and sweet rub.
  • Finish smoking. Close the lid and smoke for an additional 12-15 minutes or until the bacon is cooked to your liking.
  • Enjoy. Remove the bacon from the smoker and allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Sweet Rub

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 230mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2.2mg
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