what i’m about to share with you isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. it might also sound a little weird. but trust me when i say that this is one of the most delicious things i’ve ever made in my entire life.
two words: bacon jam.
i know, it sounds crazy. strange. weird. scary. maybe even a little off-putting?
it’s so not, trust me. it’s amazing. it’s actually kind of life changing.
so this is really less like a jam, and more like a chutney in terms of consistency, but ‘bacon chutney’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it, don’t you agree?
you’re still on the fence about this, aren’t you? i know, it sounds so weird! how could this be good? how could anyone want to eat this? how the hell would you even use it?
first of all, it’s totally outrageously good. secondly, i dare you to not eat this by the spoonful out of the jar, it’s that addictive. thirdly, i’m going to tell you a handful of amazing ways to use this bacon jam, so hold your horses.
this is probably the most concentrated form of bacon i’ve ever encountered, and i’m a bacon connoisseur if there’s ever been one. there aren’t many jews that can resist the siren song of bacon, and i am certainly not one of them. i’m just not that strong. so sue me.
the flavors here are deep. rich. oaky, herbaceous, smoky, porky goodness. it’s sweet, savory and salty all at once, all in the best possible way.
it’s multifaceted; layer upon layer of hints of caramelized onion, woodsy thyme, richly deep molasses and brown sugar, smoky bourbon, zingy espresso, and apologetically unctuous bacon.
if you have any friends or loved ones who are self-professed bacon addicts, you NEED to make this for them. i mean it. i’m serious. no foolin’. this bacon jam is, quite literally, the jam.
come to think of it, this would be a perfect father’s day gift if your husband, father, grandfather, favorite uncle, or any other man in your life you kind of like happens to love bacon. actually, it’s a scientific fact that all men love bacon. it’s man law. or so i’ve heard.
so what can you do with this bacon jam once it’s made, you ask?
- spread it on buttered toast for a delicious morning breakfast.
- smear it thickly on hamburger buns for the most outrageously delicious hamburger you’ve ever had. beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers…just kidding on that last one. unless you want to to it.
- schmear it on brioche, layer on the cheese and griddle for the best damn grilled cheese sandwich ever!
- stir a spoonful into your favorite brownie batter before baking. no, i’m not kidding.
- spread onto toasted bread, add fresh lettuce, oven-roasted tomatoes, salt and pepper for the perfect weekend blt sandwich.
- use in any recipe calling for bacon as a background flavor, such as bouef bourgignon, coq a vin, or braised short ribs.
- slice a chicken breast in half. slather the inside with bacon jam, add a piece of swiss cheese, fold back, and bake in the oven for a fun take on chicken cordon bleu!
hopefully that gave you some ideas on how to use bacon jam, though once you taste it for yourself, you’ll become as obsessed with it as i am, and will find any excuse to sneak a little bit into whatever you’re making.
this recipe yields two 6-ounce jars of bacon jam, so make one for dad for father’s day, and keep the other for yourself. you’ll be happy you did!
bacon jam. in my opinion, it’s the perfect expression of bacon. and i’m pretty renowned for being right
almost all the time, so just take my word for it and make it already!
Yield: 12 ounces jam
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
1 pound bacon, chopped roughly into one-inch pieces (freezing the bacon first makes this easier!)
1 large vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, well-packed (light brown sugar will work too)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (the real stuff, please!)
2 tablespoons molasses
6 tablespoons brewed espresso
1-2 sprigs of thyme leaves, stripped from the stem
6 tablespoons whiskey (scotch or bourbon would be excellent here too)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it's brown and crispy. you may need to do this in two or three batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
drain the cooked bacon on paper towels and set aside.
pour off all the bacon fat from the pan except for a tablespoon or two.
with the heat on medium-low, saute the onion and garlic in the bacon fat for a minute or two, until they are translucent.
add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, espresso, thyme leaves, whiskey, cayenne pepper and espresso powder.
turn the heat up to high, and boil the ingredients for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
turn the heat off and add in the bacon, stirring to combine.
if using a crock pot, transfer the mixture to the crock pot and cook on high, uncovered for 4-4 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is thick and burnished. stir every so often during the cooking process, and if the jam gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.
if cooking on the stove, transfer to a medium-sized dutch oven or tall-sided pot and cook on medium low for 4-4 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is thick and burnished. stir every so often during the cooking process and, as above, if the mixture gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.
transfer the jam to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
portion the jam into glass jars (two 6-ounce jars, or three 4-ounce jars), and allow to cool to room temperature before putting the lids on.
transfer to the fridge, where it will keep for up to a month. be sure to write the date you made it on the jar!
adapted from serious eats