I ran across this recipe on Serious Eats and thought it sounded pretty good….but this was soooo beyond good! This bacon jam is unbelievably tasty – so amazing that James said it was “slap your momma”-good (adding not my momma, no one would ever want to slap her). Bacon is great on it’s own, but this is bacon-on-crack. The aroma is heavenly and may cause drooling…then there’s the first taste. All the smoky, chewy goodness of bacon with sweet caramelized onions and garlic, melded with hints of maple syrup, coffee, cider, and bourbon … candied bacon perfection! I can’t think of a thing it wouldn’t be good on! We proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is awesome with grilled pork banger sausages, grilled red bell peppers and Waldorf salad.
I made the tragic mistake of making only a half-recipe, which was about one cup of jam. Here is my modification of the recipe, omitting the brown sugar because it really is sweet enough without it! I also used less bacon than the original recipe because a pound and a half of bacon seemed to be a bit much (and I’d rarely say something has too much bacon in it). Feel free to add the full amount of bacon if you wish!
I think the quality of the bacon is important since it is the star ingredient, so pick a good one! I used Wellshire Dry Rubbed Peppered Uncured Bacon. I think the pepper rub on the bacon really added to the flavor of the jam, so I would highly recommend this brand. It is available at Whole Foods (of course).
- 20-24 ounces of good quality bacon, cut crosswise into ~1-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin (Vidalia onions hit the spot!)
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus 1 T (REAL maple syrup, not fake syrup-like substances)
- 6 T brewed coffee
- 6 T bourbon (I didn’t have bourbon, but Irish whiskey worked just fine)
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned and slightly crispy. You may have to do this in a couple of batches. Note: If you have an oven-proof skillet with a lid, use that and you won’t need to transfer the mixture to another dish later…less to clean up!
Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off bacon fat from skillet, leaving about 2 T. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add vinegar, maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring and scraping browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add bacon and stir to combine.
Here, the original recipe calls for the mixture to be transferred to a slow cooker and cooked on high, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced and the bacon is a deep burnished brown, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I did not do this. My alternative was to place the skillet, partially covered (lid slightly pulled aside) in a 300 degree oven. Stir occasionally, and cook until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is that beautiful, deep burnished brown. I think it took a couple of hours – it needs to cook slowly to achieve the caramelization, so adjust the oven temperature accordingly. You’ll know it’s done when you see it….but take care not to burn it! That would be a shame and a waste of bacon!
Let cool somewhat, then transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped and it all starts clinging together. It’s ready to serve! The recipe states that it can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight jar for up to one month, but I don’t think
it will last that long!
Bangers and bacon…and rats? Well, the good kind anyway!
The Boomtown Rats are one of the most memorable groups from back in the day, and 1978’s Tonic for the Troops might be their best moment. Punchy, witty and sounds great on LP. Perfect soundtrack to sneaking bits of bacon jam when the cook isn’t lookin’!