How to Tell When Bacon is Done: Your Ultimate Guide

How to Tell When Bacon Is Done

Bacon is a breakfast staple in many parts of the world. This sweet, savory, and salty cured meat comes in many shapes and sizes.

On top of that, everybody wants their bacon done differently. Some enjoy a heavy smoked flavor; some prefer it lighter, others like their bacon crunchy, while others want their bacon chewy. Because of this, finding out how to tell when bacon is done is pretty tough.

Whether you’re smoking your own homemade bacon or frying up a pack from your local butcher’s shop for breakfast, it’s important to take your bacon off the gas grill, smoker, stove, or oven at the right time.

That way, you get just the right texture and flavor you want.

And in this guide, we’re looking at how you can tell when bacon is done when smoking, grilling, frying, or baking it. By the end of our guide, you’ll know exactly how to cook bacon just the way you like it, even if you’re doing everything from scratch.

Read on to learn more.

How Long Does It Take to Make Bacon?

Before we get to actually cooking the bacon, let’s take a look at how bacon is actually made. Cooking homemade bacon consists of two parts: the cure and smoking the meat. In this section, we’ll take a look at how long both of these processes take.

The Cure

When you have the pork belly ready, and want to make bacon for the first time, you have to start curing the meat. Everyone has their own curing recipe and ideal curing length. However, this introduces certain flavors to the pork belly and allows it a couple of days to really absorb the flavors.

You can use immersion, dry, and pumping curing methods for your bacon. Just remember that you want to cure bacon for at least 5-10 days. This gives the meat all the time it needs to absorb all the flavors you want to introduce and ensures a tasty slab of bacon later on.

The Smoke

After waiting a couple of days for the bacon to cure, it’s time to smoke it. Smoking the bacon is what gives it the signature flavor and is a step you can’t skip. When smoking bacon, you can choose the exact type of wood you use and even blend multiple types of wood together.

What’s important is you make sure to smoke it long enough that the belly cooks all the way through. Ideally, you want to smoke it at a low temperature (163 degrees Fahrenheit is the choice of many pitmasters) for a couple of hours or until the internal temperature registers 155 degrees.

This can take a couple of hours, depending on the size of your pork belly and the heat of your smoker. Just remember, patience is key if you want great-tasting bacon.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Bacon?

cook bacon on bbq smoke grill

Once your bacon is done smoking, you’re ready to fry it up and serve it for breakfast. Or, you may have already bought yourself a pack of bacon from the store, and you’ve been ready to cook it for a while.

So, how long do you have to wait before the bacon is cooked?

Well, this depends on a number of factors. To start, you need to look at the actual bacon slices. Generally, thinner bacon slices cook much faster than thicker ones. However, both thick and thin cut bacon should really only take a couple of minutes to cook.

Another thing to consider is how you enjoy your bacon. If you like your bacon crispy, you need to wait a couple more minutes than usual, as it takes a while for bacon to render out all the fat and really crisp up. But if you prefer chewy bacon, you won’t have to wait that long.

Additionally, whether you’re cooking the bacon on a pan, grill, or stuffing it inside the oven can also impact the cooking time.

Since bacon only takes a couple of minutes to cook, we recommend keeping a close eye on it. Whether you’re cooking your bacon in the oven, on the grill, or on the stove, the process requires your full attention.

When Is My Bacon Cooked?

Technically, your bacon is already cooked before you even fry it. Since pitmasters wait for the pork belly to reach the right internal temperature before pulling it off the smoker, you don’t have to wait that long for bacon to be cooked.

In fact, the determining factor when it comes to bacon’s done-ness is how you like your bacon. With that said, since people have their own preferences for bacon done-ness, it’s important to pull it off the cooking apparatus the second it’s done. That way, you get the best result.

If you want a visual guide on how to tell when bacon is done based on color and texture, check out this great video:

Keep in mind that using different cooking methods plays a big role in how long it takes your bacon to finish. And while some cooking methods cook bacon faster than others, some people prefer the other methods because of the way they can impact flavor and texture.

Here’s how to tell if your bacon is done using different cooking methods:

How To Tell When Bacon Is Done In the Oven

If you choose to cook your bacon in the oven, you need to preheat it to 375 degrees. Once it’s hot, you can spread the bacon evenly on a tray and place it inside. This cooking method takes around 12-20 minutes to cook the bacon, depending on the thickness of the cuts.

Since there are so many variables that go into how long it takes bacon to cook, you can open the oven every couple of minutes to check if it’s done. Ideally, you want the meat to start browning and white layers of fat to appear on top.

How To Tell When Bacon Is Done on the Stove

Bacon cooks much faster on the stove. For the best results, we recommend using the cold pan method, where you put the bacon on a cold pan and slowly bring the heat up. This allows the bacon to render out as much fat as possible and really crisp up.

It takes around 10-12 minutes for bacon to cook on the stove. However, make sure to check the bacon’s doneness. If the meat has browned enough and enough fat has been rendered out for your taste, you’re ready to take the bacon off and dig in.

How To Tell When Bacon Is Done on the Grill

Bacon can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes to finish on the grill. This is because the cooking time depends on the temperature of the grill, what you’re cooking alongside it, and more. So, you really have to pay closer attention to the color and texture of the bacon while it’s cooking.

While this may take some effort, it’s very convenient if you’re having a family BBQ. That way, you won’t have to go inside the kitchen just to cook bacon to put on top of burgers and other dishes!

Is It Better To Smoke My Own Bacon?

Sliced ​​raw bacon

Don’t get us wrong: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with store-bought bacon. Tons of brands and manufacturers make high-quality products, and all of us have a craving for mass-produced bacon every now and then.

Buying ready-made bacon is convenient, easy, and often gets the job done. However, if you’re a bacon enthusiast with your particular set of tastes, then you can’t skip out on smoking and curing your own bacon.

Smoking and curing your own bacon is a great way to take full control of the flavors. You can follow prepared recipes on the internet or even put your own spin on things to make a batch of bacon that you can proudly call your own.

On top of that, making your own bacon is a whole lot of fun. This isn’t a quick process. To make good bacon, you need to cure it for a couple of days and smoke it for hours on end until you reach the best flavor and texture.

You also need a fair amount of equipment to smoke your own bacon. To start, you need space in your fridge to cure a whole pork belly, a smoker to place the bacon in, and a meat slicer (or sharp knife) to get precise and uniform slices.

If you’re willing to invest in this type of setup and want to become a pitmaster yourself, we highly recommend making your own bacon. It will take a lot of hard work, but trust us, the second you get to taste the bacon you made with your own hands, all of it will be worth it.

Is Undercooked Bacon Safe to Eat?

While it may not seem like a good idea to eat bacon that seems pinkish, it’s completely safe. As mentioned earlier, bacon is mostly cooked on the smoker. Before taking it off the smoker, pitmasters make sure it’s at the ideal temperature for consumption, so a quick fry is really all you need.

If you prefer crispy bacon, we recommend waiting until it gets really golden and brown before taking it off the grill. But if you like your bacon chewy, then there’s nothing wrong with pulling it off the heat a bit early. Not only is it safe, but it may also give you that chewy and satisfying texture you’ve been looking for!

With that said, a little bit of pinkness is never bad with bacon. However, you would want to wait until the fat layer on top turns white to really make sure your bacon is ready to eat. Once that layer of fat appears, feel free to eat the bacon even if it still has some pink spots.


Bacon is one of the most popular and well-loved breakfast staples. But to ensure you get the best experience, you need to cook your bacon properly.

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the doneness of bacon. However, regardless of whether you prefer chewy or crispy bacon, you need to wait for the fat layer to turn white before pulling it off the grill. It can be hard to tell when bacon is done, but if you pay close attention to the pan, oven, or grill, it will be much easier to spot.


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