Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mmmmm, good! Bacon Jam!

For several years I've been reading about Bacon Jam all over a slew of blogs, and I finally decided to make some to see what all the fuss was about. Well, let me tell you it's one of the tastiest things I've had in years!!!

My kitchen had the most enticing smells coming from it for several hours as I was making this recipe, and it will surpass anything you can buy in a jar. YUM!

I tripled the recipe, using 3 pounds of thick-sliced applewood smoked but uncured bacon, cut into 1" pieces and fried until just curling at the edges. You want them still soft in the middle. Remove the bacon and drain.

Then leave just a tablespoon (or 3 tablespoons since I tripled the recipe) of bacon fat in the pan, add the brown sugar and sliced onions. Cook over low heat until the onions are slightly caramelized.

Add the spices, cook for about 5 minutes, then add the liquid ingredients and the bacon. Cook at a low simmer for a couple of hours, until somewhat thickened. Cool it enough to handle and then run the cooked "stew" through a food processor until it is the consistency you like. After 2.5 hours, mine was still on the thinish side, so after I processed it to a jam consistency, I added a half a tablespoon of Knox gelatin dissolved in a bit of water... then heated it up for the gelatin to "set" before putting it in jars to refrigerate.

I suppose you could can it in a pressure canner, but frankly I think it will be eaten in short order so I just refrigerated it.

Here is the basic recipe I used; the only changes were to add some finely chopped crystalized ginger, and to reduce the hot sauce and chile powders a bit. It still has a 'bite' but not an eye-burning bite. Oh, since I was tripling the recipe, I cut down on the apple cider vinegar, starting with ¼ cup and then adding more to taste as it cooked down. (You can always add more but you cannot take it out once it's added.) I ended up with a nice sweet/sour balance.

1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
½ teaspoon dry chipotle powder [I used ancho which isn't as hot but it's what I had]
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup strong brewed coffee
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup good quality bourbon
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon hot sauce

Recipe Steps
In a Dutch oven or large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until it begins to crisp up at the edges - the pieces should still be soft in the center. Drain on paper towels and retain one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan.

Lower the heat to medium low and cook the onion and brown sugar until soft and caramelized (20 minutes or more).

Add the garlic and spices and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the liquid ingredients and the bacon to the pan. At medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and barely simmer for about 2 hours. Check every 30 minutes to make sure that the mixture does not dry out. If it does, just add a few tablespoons water. The final mixture should be moist and sticky.

Let cool slightly and add to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency you like - slightly chunky to showcase the bacon or smoother.

Make 1½ cups.
Recipe source: kayb @ eGullet

ps, this is my second attempt. The first time I used a Smithfield hickory smoked, thick-cut bacon without cooking a piece of the bacon first to check the taste. It was terrible tasting, and I should have known better. What a waste of money and ingredients! Usually I make my own bacon, but sometimes I'll buy bacon at a natural foods store if I don't have access to fresh pork belly to make my own bacon.

pps... I'll be out of pocket and able to approve comments until the morning of Nov. 21


  1. Nope, Phil would kill me if I did this to bacon.

  2. Do you suppose you could do that last step in a blender? I don't have a food processor. Or?

    Besides smearing on toast (yum!), any other ideas on how to use this?

    And PS... I got 9 quarts of great broth from those chicken feet; threw in a bunch of green garlic as it all cooked, cooked it down for 2 days. Rather Jeffrey Dahmer-ish taking all the falling apart feet out, but oh my how rich the broth is. =0)

  3. We had it on cheese and crackers, but it would be good on a baked potato, or topping a steak... probably lots of ways to use it! A blender would work, just blend until it's a consistency you like.

    Congrats on the chic broth!!

  4. Go for it, but don't triple the recipe like I did. A little goes a long way!

  5. Sounds very similar to schmaltz. My Grandmother and my Mom used to make it every now and then with bacon, apple, and onion.

  6. I know schmaltz well, but I never heard of it with additions!


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