Can You Dehydrate Bacon?

by Charlie
Dried Bacon

Bacon is salted pork made from cutting pork belly and sometimes the less fatty parts like the back. To make them last longer, you need to properly store the bacon. You can preserve your bacon by freezing it. However, research suggests that you can also dry the bacon to make them last. 

But can you actually dehydrate bacon? Yes, you can dry bacon. Drying bacon makes it last longer than when left raw. It also allows you to enjoy a quick meal so that when you want to use it, you only have to rehydrate.  

There are different methods of drying your bacon, from the air-dryer and microwave to the use of dehydrators. Whichever one you choose, they all have the same results. But choose the one that works best for you. 

Also, when you dehydrate bacon, it reduces its volume and weight. For example, dehydrating one pound of fully-cooked bacon may boil down to two or three ounces when dried. So, if you are considering drying your bacon, make sure to choose quality cuts so that the bacon will not totally shrink, lose the fat in it and produce a better taste. 

Do You Cook Bacon First or Dry It Raw?

Although dehydrating your bacon means you can safely store it without refrigerating. But in bacon, there are numerous pathogenic bacteria and parasites. Even after drying them, these bacteria may still likely survive the low heat. Hence, to destroy the harmful microorganisms, you either cook the bacon or dry it raw. 

So, do you cook the bacon first or dry it raw? Drying it raw means the bacon will still have some bacteria. You need to heat the meat more than once. So, it is best to cook your bacon first before drying it. 

After cooking, you can proceed to dehydrate your bacon. Avoid baking the bacon because the heat is too low to destroy the microorganisms. Instead, put the meat in the microwave, oven, or dehydrator and set the temperature from about 130 to 140° Fahrenheit. Leave it for six to eight hours, and your bacon is ready. 

HowLong Does Dehydrated Bacon Last? 

The answer to this question is summed into three words “long expiration date.” In simple terms, dehydrated bacon can last for a long time, longer than when it is raw. When you dry or buy already dried bacon that is wrapped in a sealed packet, it can last you about one to two years. Interestingly, even if the bacon reaches its presumed expiry date, it may still be in a good state if kept properly in an airtight pack. 

However, ensure that you store it in a cool and dry place to ensure it stays edible and lasts up to its expected date of expiration or even longer. 

Does Dehydrating Bacon Kill Bacteria?

The most common problem with bacon is destroying the harmful bacteria in it. In raw bacon, bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella are always present, and they can be harmful if consumed. Moreover, the temperatures of the different dehydrators are not high enough to destroy these microorganisms.  

Drying bacon can kill some of the bacteria, but it does not fully kill them all. To destroy microorganisms in the bacon, there are some other procedures you need to follow. 

First, freeze the bacon for two months, then thaw the bacon in the refrigerator and, finally, heat it until it gets to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. After doing this, you need additional heat treatment, and this is where dehydrating the bacon comes in. When you follow this process, it means that your bacon is safe to eat because it has passed different heating methods to destroy harmful bacteria and parasites. 

Does Bacon Contain Gluten?

Bacon is made from pork belly, sugar, spices (pepper, smoke flavor, salt, etc.), and nitrate. This means that they are typically gluten-free as all the ingredients used do not contain gluten.

However, it best to watch out for gluten content in the bacon you buy. This is because when making bacon, there might be slight cross-contamination between the equipment used for making the bacon and some gluten products.

Some brands use flavorings and additives like smoke flavors to produce the bacon. This flavor contains a small amount of barley malt powder, a powder gotten from malted grains, which many people do not know about. This is why you need to check the bacon label before buying. There are times you will check the label and see it labeled as gluten-free, but when you check the ingredients, it may contain malts. This means that the bacon is not gluten-free. You do not want to miss this. 

To be safe, check for other gluten-containing starches and dextrins and seasonings containing teriyaki sauce or soy. Furthermore, many slices of bacon served in buffets may have scattered crumbs of bread on them, and at times, bread slices placed under the bacon to absorb the grease. They may also have prepared a gluten-containing food in the kitchen before serving up your order. Hence, make sure to ask questions before buying a glutton product and having a breakfast buffet at a diner. 

Final Thoughts

  • You can actually dehydrate bacon. Drying it makes it last longer. 
  • It is best to cook the bacon first before drying it. Avoid baking as a means to dehydrate. It has low heat that will not destroy the parasites. 
  • Dehydrated bacon has a long expiration date, which means it can last for a long time. However, the expected shelf-life of bacon is one to two years. But, it can last for more if left to dry properly and sealed well. 
  • Dehydrating bacon does not completely kill the bacteria and parasites in it. Instead, it works with other elements like freezing, thawing, and cooking, to destroy the microorganisms. 
  • Bacon does not contain gluten. But the equipment used in its production and packaging may come in contact with other gluten products. So, it is best to check the product labels or ask questions before buying bacon. 

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