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Monday, June 11, 2012

Traegerized Bacon

I had several questions and comments about bacon and my Traeger. I am not lying when I say this is the best bacon ever. If you really want to go big buy butcher bacon, you know the thick kind that has the perfect amount of fat? Opps, had to wipe off my keyboard from the drool. I don't get to the butcher as often as I like (and I can't afford to buy from there all the time) and cheap pre packaged bacon comes out awesome as well. Let's just say you can't go wrong with bacon. Traegers have a way of making even the cheapest mean good.

Butcher Bacon
 Cheap Bacon
*Google images for the pictures.

Now I firmly believe a Traeger is way safer than any other grill/smoker etc., because it does not have a direct flame. When I used gas I cringed every time I hit the ignite button because I was scared something would happen. It doesn't help that my brother is a fire fighter and tells me all kinds of stories about BBQ fires. Guess what he uses to grill? Yep. A Traeger. In fact, his station buys a pallet of pellets every summer to split up amongst themselves because most of them own Traegers. The station even has one. I am pretty sure they are the outdoor cooking implement of choice when it comes to this group.
Anyway, you can put bacon directly on the grate of your Traeger. This is how I used to do it. The only problem with it is sometimes if falls through to the cover dealy thing below. If you ask me that is a waste of bacon. HOWEVER, I am no longer a fan of this because I have had a fire on my Traeger. I'm not going to lie it was scary.
I knew I needed to clean my Traeger. The fire box was most likely full of ashes, the grill grate had a lot of build up on it and the chimney was pretty gunky too. I figured bacon can make a mess so I would do the bacon THEN clean it really well. It was a hotter than Hades that day at 104 degrees and while I can't prove it I think this played a part in the fire.
I placed the bacon directly on the grate. This was cheap bacon and full of fat. The smoker was on high and the temp was around 475. The next thing I knew I had fire coming out my smoke stack. Because my grill was covered in gunk it quickly caught fire as well. Luckily I had a ton of baking soda on hand and I was able to put it out quickly. My Traeger was cleaned thoroughly and is no worse for the wear. It was scary and I don't want it to happen again which is why I now put my bacon on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil. This is pretty simple to clean in that you simply wait for the grease to harden and throw away the tin foil. I admit I liked it better when the grease ran into my bucket...now that was easy!

The bottom line is you can grill bacon directly on your Traeger. I would make sure your grill is clean and that you don't walk away from it. As with any outdoor cooking always be prepared with a fire extinguisher, baking soda, etc. Just ask the firemen they will tell you the same.

Steps to Perfect Traeger Bacon

1. Fire up your grill to high. A good temp is 350 or more.
2. Place your bacon on the grill or on a tin foil lined cookie sheet.
3. Shut the lid and wait for 15 minutes. Check progress after ten minutes. It is important to note opening and closing your lid messes up your temperature so you want to avoid doing it as much as possible.
4. Pull your bacon when it is to your liking.You know how some people love wiggly bacon? Some like it crispy?  I can't give you exact times because conditions vary with weather as well as thickness of bacon, etc.

Once your bacon is finished serve it up. Here is a list of what I do with my bacon.

BLTs     Crumbled up for salads     Put it in baggies and pull out for breakfast sandwiches     Just eat it    
Taking it camping (so much easier than trying to do it in the wild)     For pizza      For hamburgers
Dipped in chocolate (yep I said it)     Added to any sandwich    

Summer Steak Salad

Salad greens (I like Romaine)
Grated cheddar cheese
Dice Tomatoes
Traegerized bacon cut in pieces
Chopped red onions (I put these on the side since some people don't eat em')
Steak cut into bite sized pieces (Traegerized of course)
Ranch dressing (I use Greg's available at Costco)

I serve this with bread or rolls and that is it. Simple summer salad. We could eat it almost every day. You can use chicken too, but we tend to be big red meat eaters around my house.

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