These smoked bacon-wrapped scallops are the perfect appetizer for a special occasion or dinner party. They have just the right balance of smoky flavor, crisp bacon, and tender diver scallop meat! All you need are several simple ingredients!
A slice of bacon wrapping almost anything is easily one of our favorite things.
So, if you’re looking for a delicious appetizer with an easy recipe and the best flavor, this simple dish will make the perfect scallops wrapped in bacon strips. Biting into this popular appetizer will give you two textures to excite the senses: the bacon slices have a slight crispness and the tender scallops contrast them. Because they are smoked, not broiled, that bonus depth of flavor really shines and takes this classic nibble to a whole new level!
Pair with a dipping sauce — make extra from the simple horseradish mayo recipe below, or pair with a garlic butter sauce. Bbq scallops are also a popular option; pair them with bbq sauce if you’re seeking an even richer and sweeter taste. But personally, our horseradish mayo below is the best for these.
What are Bacon Wrapped Scallops?
Bacon-wrapped scallops are, believe it or not, scallops wrapped in bacon—ha! Par-cook the slices of bacon, lather them in a zesty sauce, wrap around the larger scallops, hold them together with a toothpick, and smoke it all to perfection for a flavor and texture combo that is absolutely indulgent.
Similar to a fancy restaurant, these scallops are incredible every time.
How to buy scallops
Scallops are an all-encompassing name for various sea-dwelling species, such as spiny or thorny oysters. But in this case, we use U-10 sea scallops, also known as diver scallops. Which are hand harvested from the sea floor; read more about this process and the difference between diver and sea scallops on NewEngland.com
With scallops, just like blue crabs or shrimp, the unit number indicates the product’s size and how many you can expect per pound. The lower the number, the bigger the product. For this recipe, you want big meaty scallops, so the bacon can wrap around it all and still retain the scallop taste. We recommend U-12, U-10, or even U-8 and wouldn’t go smaller than for the recipe to retain its amazing flavor.
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops Ingredients
For the bacon-wrapped scallops
- Fresh scallops or frozen — large diver scallops, thawed, rinsed, and trimmed if needed. If your scallops are frozen, thaw them completely before cooking.
- Horseradish – make sure to buy regular horseradish, and not any ‘sauce’ or ‘creamed’ version.
- Bacon – look for bacon, not thick cut bacon. You want even-sized strips to cook evenly and get the best texture on the smoker.
For the horseradish mayo sauce:
- Mayo – we use avocado mayo to keep it keto.
- Brown sugar – we use golden monk fruit sweetener to keep it keto.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Black pepper
How to Make Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
- Soak grilling plank according to the manufacturers’ directions. Most wood planks need to soak submerged in water for 20 minutes. We use Western Wood smoking planks.
- Prep the smoker for 250F. Avoid adding any aggressive smoking wood or wood chips for this cook, as the delicate meat picks up enough flavor from being on the grill with a wood plank.
- Prep the oven to 425 degrees F. Line bacon on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Par-cook bacon until fat is starting to render, but the bacon is still pliable and partially cooked for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Whisk the horseradish and chives together. See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.
- Spread the horseradish mix over strips of bacon.
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towels when ready to assemble.
- Wrap scallops in the bacon, with the horseradish mixture inside along the meat, and secure them with a toothpick.
- Pat the grilling plank dry. You want it soaked through but not sopping wet when smoking.
- Place scallops on the board about an inch apart, then place the plank on the preheated grill.
- Smoke the scallops until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. All in all the bacon wrapped scallops take about 35 to 40 minutes to cook.
- If using a pellet smoker, increase the temp on the when the scallops are almost done cooking to give it a little more flavor.
For the horseradish mayo:
- Whisk the mayo, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and chives in a bowl.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use. It can be made up to a day ahead of time.
EXPERT RECIPE TIPS
- Purchase large sea scallops is best because they will be easier to wrap. See our notes above on sizes.
- We have tested these bacon-wrapped scallops on a traditional charcoal grill (kettle), Pit Barrel drum smoker, and Traeger pellet grill. If cooking over charcoal, arrange a two-zone fire by stacking the coals to one side and cooking over indirect heat. We bet, this would even work on an electric smoker.
However, all smokers are different, so make sure you temp your scallops with a digital meat thermometer to ensure they are at an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Start checking after 30 minutes, and continue smoking as needed.
If using charcoal or a drum smoker, avoid using additional wood chunks as the scallops get enough flavor from the plank and charcoal.
We use Cowboy Charcoal Hickory Charcoal pellets in our Traeger smoker when testing this recipe.
- People often wonder if you can crisp bacon in a smoker. Yes, you can. And we’ve mastered it on recipes like bacon-wrapped meatloaf or smoked pork loin, but for this recipe, it’s imperative to par-cook the bacon so that it does get crispy in the smoker as this is a quick-cooking recipe.
Reheatin & Leftovers
Reheating leftovers for a later date is NOT recommended. This scallop recipe is enjoyed best fresh right off the grill.
What to Serve With
The best way to pair this easy appetizer is with a full-on happy hour spread of charcuterie, stone crab claws, or butter-poached lobster tails. However, they also make an amazing first course, so you might also consider a surf-and-turf menu with one of the following recipes:
- Grilled Bavette Steaks
- Pan-seared venison steaks
- Sous Vide Flat Iron steak
- Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks
If you’d like to serve these as the main course, try pairing them with a creamy risotto, spinach salad, pasta, or polenta.
What’s The Difference Between Wet and Dry Scallops?
If you’ve never made or bought scallops, when shopping for them you may see ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ options Wet scallops are as they sound—wet and soak in a phosphate bath.
However, you’re going to want to buy dry scallops. Wet scallops would take longer to cook because of all the absorbed water. Dry scallops also sear better and will taste more natural compared to scallops that have been soaking in a phosphate bath.
For scallops, like all seafood, the fresher, the better. If buying frozen scallops, only thaw them when you’re ready to cook.
I hope you found this smoked bacon-wrapped scallops recipe easy to make and full of savory flavor. Have you ever made bacon-wrapped scallops before? Are there changes you made that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Smoked Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- pellet smoker or grill
For the bacon-wrapped scallops
- 1 lbs Scallops – large diver scallops thawed rinsed, and trimmed if needed.
- 1 tbsp Horseradish
- 1 tspn Chives fresh, minced
- 10 Bacon strips
For the horseradish mayo sauce:
- 1/2 cup Mayo we use avocado mayo to keep it keto
- 1 tspn Brown sugar we use Golden monkfruit sweetener to keep it keto
- 1 tspn Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tspn Black pepper freshly grated
- 1 tspn Chives freshly minced
Prep the scallops:
- Soak the grilling plank according to manufactures directions. Usually 20 minutes submerged in water.
- Prep smoker for 250 degrees F.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line bacon on a wire rack over a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Arrange the bacon on the rack and par cook the bacn until the fat is starting to render but it is still pliable, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Whisk the horseradish and chives together in a small bowl
- Spread the horseradish mix over strips of bacon, leaving a little room at the edge to secure.
- Wrap scallops in the bacon and secure with toothpick.
- Pat the soaked grilling plank dry.
- Place scallops on the board, about an inch apart from each other.
Smoked the scallops
- Smoke the scallops until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Increase the heat for the last 10 minutes of cooking; If using a pellet smoker, set the temp to sear, for charcoal or traditional grill, slide the plank over the hotter side of the fire (direct cooking) and watch for flare-ups.
For the horseradish sauce:
- Whisk the mayo, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and chives together in a bowl. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made a day ahead of time.
- Remove the toothpicks from the scallops and arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle with minced chives and season with a pinch of pepper.
- Serve with the sauce on the side.