If you’ve spent any time paying attention to the world of jerky lately, you may have noticed a new kid on the block: bacon jerky. Just about every jerky company, including Oberto and Jack Link’s (whose bacon jerky is in a sleek “small batch” package) is getting in on the game, hyping up their entries with all the usual bacon bona fides, including “thick cut,” “hickory smoked,” and “100 percent real bacon,” in case you were wondering whether it’s actual bacon that’s in there. And on the whole, bacon jerky is pretty good. It’s generally pretty lean, full of bacon flavor, and with that jerky chew. But there’s been one pressing issue every time I’ve tried it: Isn’t it just cold bacon?
The answer is yes. Bacon jerky is just cold, thick-cut bacon. It bears little to no relation to jerky, which is marinated and dried. The only similarities are the thickness of the pieces, the chewiness, and the fact that they’re both smoked (but in fact, a lot of the commercial jerky you buy isn’t smoked at all). And while bacon is perfectly edible when it is room temperature, the fat is decidedly unpleasant, even if there isn’t that much of it, and is prone to spoilage (that’s why beef jerky is usually so lean).
Honestly, you’re better off just buying some thick cut bacon and making it yourself.