Dehydrating meat prolongs its shelf life, allowing you to rehydrate it later or enjoy as a dried food. Cooked bacon works well in a dehydrator and makes a protein-packed snack, salad topping or soup ingredient. Dehydrated bacon is also a good item to pack for extended hikes or camping trips. Look for a dehydrator at home supply stores.
To properly dry cooked bacon, an electric dehydrator is ideal. This product removes the moisture from the meat using electricity, which reduces the effort required to dry bacon. Use a skillet to cook the bacon and a fork for turning it. A roll of paper towels is handy for wiping and soaking the grease from the bacon before and during the dehydrating process. An airtight plastic container or zip-top bag is important for storing the dried bacon and preventing it from spoiling.
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Before dehydrating bacon, cook the slices in a skillet until each is crisp and cooked through. Drain the bacon very well on paper towels. Fat that remains on the meat during dehydration may become rancid. Place the bacon strips in the drying tray of the dehydrator and put the tray into the machine. Cover it and turn the power on. Allow the bacon to dehydrate for about six to eight hours. Remove and store the dried bacon in a sealed container or bag.
A variety of dehydrators are available, making it important to read the directions for your product before using it because cooking times may vary by brand. If your dehydrator comes with mesh sheets, place them in the drying trays and dry the bacon on them. This helps drain the fat. Check the bacon every couple of hours. If needed, remove the lid and wipe any visible fat from the bacon before continuing the drying process. To create different flavors, try seasoning the bacon before drying it. Cracked black pepper, maple syrup and onion powder are options that pair well with the flavor of cooked bacon.
Drying cooked bacon reduces its weight and volume. One pound of cooked bacon typically results in only about 2 or 3 ounces of dried bacon. Choosing high-quality cuts of bacon produces better tasting dried bacon and less is lost due to fat content. Try using dried bacon as a seasoning for vegetable salads, bean soup or as a pizza topping.