We’re getting ready for another HomeEcNight (our monthly pop-up food event) and, since the theme this month is jam, we’ve decided to join the party and bring samples of bacon jam.
Bacon jam, unlike most jams, isn’t safe to preserve in a jar and water bath (though you could freeze it). Small portions are generally made and kept in the fridge. It’s a great addition to hamburgers, toast, sandwiches or served with eggs. My version has a slight bite and is more savory than sweet.
I hadn’t made bacon jam before and searched the internet for inspiration. The Endless Meal had the most intriguing recipe and I used it as my starting point. I loved their idea of using coffee and appreciated the few simple ingredients that they used. I suspect their final product is sweeter than mine and have significantly altered the ingredients and ratio of ingredients for very different results.
For best results, choose your bacon carefully. Here’s a few considerations I used when choosing ours:
- We choose bacon from a small farm that was cured by our butcher. It is more expensive than mass-produced bacon but it is far thicker, tastier and the animals lived a better life (and death) than many large-scale producers use (W5 in Canada showcased some of the treatment of pigs on large farms in Canada in December, 2012).
- We used different types of porks (specifically Tamworth and Berkshire). I can’t say definitively that it makes a difference but the two products are very different (especially when it comes to the percentage of fat vs lean meat) and I think variety makes for better results.
- The bacon was treated differently (some was unsmoked, some smoked and some double-smoked). Again I like the variety.
I am taking a few liberties with this recipe. Many bacon jam recipes have a much higher percentage of onions which create a jam-like texture. I wanted the emphasis here to be on the bacon and maple so mine is less jam-like and more jam-inspired. You can use it the identical way to other bacon jam but it’s texture is closure to chutney than jam. If you’re looking for a ‘jam-like’ consistency, check out the Endless Meal’s recipe above – it looks fantastic!
BACON JAM RECIPE – INGREDIENTS
Makes 3-4 cups of bacon jam.
- 2 lb. extra thick cut bacon
- 2 extra large spanish/ red onions, quartered and sliced in thick strips
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 double-shots espresso (4 shots total)
- 1/4 cup bourbon (or whisky)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
BACON JAM RECIPE – INSTRUCTIONS
- Cut bacon into small strips (about 1/5th an inch across).
- Place all the bacon into a large pot and cook over medium-high, stirring often. Avoid crisping the bacon but cook until it gains colour (the meat will become pinker and the ft will turn slightly grey). Depending on your pot this could take 15-25 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the bacon from the pan/ pot. Drain all fat into a bowl and turn heat to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons of bacon fat back into pot and wait a few minutes. Store extra fat in a jar and use it for frying and/or conditioning your cast iron pots.
- Add onions and cayenne to pot, turn to medium and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
- Add maple syrup, espresso, bourbon and bacon to the pot and return temperature to medium-high. simmer, stirring every few minutes until sauce reduces and turns into a thick sauce (enough to coat the bacon without dripping off the spoon).
- Add balsamic at end, stir to incorporate.
- Place in a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. It is natural for the fat to turn white in the fridge (return to room temperature to serve).