Sweet and Salty Bacon Jam

Wow, what a week. I just came back from an awesome trip to the Bay Area where I relaxed with my family and caught up with old friends. During my trip, an extra awesome thing happened: my homemade beef jerky post was featured on Freshly Pressed. My lowly little blog making it onto the front page of WordPress was an unexpected, but welcome surprise! Thank you sincerely to everyone who sent me feedback.

And now….back to reality!

I decided to try my hand at bacon jam a couple weeks ago because I was craving a sweet and salty sensation. Bacon jam has been popular for quite some time now, thanks to our local Skillet who sells it by the jar. To my pleasant surprise, it is also very easy to make at home. It does require a couple hours of cook time, but the trade off is that you have more control over the balance of flavors. Totally worth it in my book. Be forewarned that a full batch of this recipe completely filled one of my three cup mason jars. But who can ever have too much bacon jam?

This condiment adds an extra special touch to eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, baked potatoes, cheese and crackers, and more. A little bit goes a long way, so when eaten in moderation it’s not completely unhealthy. Right!?

It’s a bit unfortunate that this bacon jam post came on the heels of my old beef jerky post being featured, because now I look like some carnivorous freak. I swear it’s just a coincidence! More fruit and veggie posts coming soon, I promise.

Bacon Jam
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart using The Perfect Pantry method

Yield: About 3 cups

  • 1 -1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  1. Cook bacon in a large cast iron pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned (approximately 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon). With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and place on a platter lined with paper towels.
  2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. (Save the fat for another delicious use). Add the onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 3/4 cup coffee, and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up the bacon bits from the bottom of the pan. After 2 minutes, add the bacon, and stir to combine.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning. If the jam seems to be cooking too fast, add 1/4 cup of water every now and then.
  4. Toward the end of the 2 hours, taste the jam and see what flavors you need to add. This recipe is about finding the right balance–and it just comes down to personal preference. I added some salt to balance out the sweetness, and some cayenne pepper give the jam a nice spicy kick.
  5. When the liquid is syrupy, remove the pot from the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then transfer contents to a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a heat-resistant bowl. Let the jam cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a month.

Start by rendering the bacon, and draining off all but one tablespoon of grease. Save the remaining grease in an airtight container in the fridge for another use.

Saute the onions and garlic to bring out their delicious flavors.

Add the remaining ingredients, grab a good book, and wait for the magic to happen.

Bacon mixture after an hour of cooking. Stir periodically to make sure it’s not cooking too quickly and burning.

Toward the end of the two hours, do a taste test and see if you want to add any salt or cayenne pepper. If you’ve never worked with cayenne before, be very careful–a little goes a long way. When the mixture takes on an almost syrupy consistency, you’ll know it’s ready to hit the food processor.

Use your bacon jam on absolutely anything. My boyfriend Jeff was a huge fan of my grilled cheese with arugula and bacon jam. It’s also delicious simply spread on a piece of toast with a poached egg on top.

What would do you do with your bacon jam? Do you have any creative ideas for the leftover bacon grease?