Bacon Jam

April 19, 2013
2 Ratings
  • Makes 1/2 cup
Author Notes

Bursting with flavor, this bacon-laced condiment has jalapeno peppery heat, balanced acidity and fruitiness from apple cider vinegar and fresh orange juice, and bright sharpness from fresh ginger root. Bacon, the main ingredient, contributes its own elements of umami meatiness, saltiness and smoke. You will love a spoonful of it atop a piece of brie or a grilled burger, and you have to make it to eat it. It can't be bought, to my knowledge, in any store. —marie rama

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 pound applewood or cherrywood-smoked bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch wide pieces
  • 1 medium-size shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3 pieces peeled fresh ginger, each about the size and thickness of a quarter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp and the fat is rendered, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet.
  2. Add the shallot and jalapeno to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the shallot is softened, about 2 minutes, stirring often and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Return the bacon the skillet and add the brown sugar, cider vinegar, orange juice, bourbon, ginger, and bay leaf. Cover the skillet and let come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer gently, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the bacon mixture to a mini food processor and pulse until the bacon is finely diced but not pureed, 10 to 15 times, pausing several times to scrape down the side of the bowl.
  4. Place the Bacon Jam in a small bowl and stir in the honey and a couple of grindings of black pepper. Serve with assorted cheeses and crackers, or as a delicious condiment for a grilled burger, steak, or chicken.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marie rama
    marie rama
  • beejay45

5 Reviews

marie R. June 13, 2013
Hey, Beejay,
This is a great question. I spent the last two years writing Bacon Nation and dealing with bacon cooking puzzles just like this. There's really no official way that I know of, technically speaking, to proceed. But, personally I always cook the bacon first so that I can control the amount of fat that ends up in the dish. I also prefer to chop the bacon before cooking it, rather than to cook strips and then crumble or chop it up as I believe this gives me more control over the browning process. If I cook the bacon in strips and then chop or crumble it, I don't get those uniformly browned pieces, just the size that I want them to be. Also, if I'm going to add the bacon to a dish after I've browned it, then I pay special attention to just how brown I want the bacon to be. Ordinarily, I want the bacon pieces to be lightly browned, with some fat remaining that will render off into the dish at a later point, adding that incomparable flavor. You are absolutely right in assuming that overbrowned, hardened bacon bits don't do much for a dish. So, brown with care and retain some of the fat for later infusion. Hope that helps. You can check out these and other bacon cooking tips on my blog or in my recently released book, Bacon Nation.
beejay45 June 14, 2013
I guess what I'm thinking about and jonesing for is a sort of bacon/carnitas jam. I like the idea of the tender, flaky meat, but I still want the smokey bacon flavor to come through. ;) I'll have to play with this, maybe do a side by side, measuring the fat rendered cooking it before and the amount that can be skimmed throwing it in raw and simmering slowly. If nothing else, it should be interesting. ;) And I will check out your site! Thanks.
marie R. June 12, 2013
Thanks for your comment. I've not tried preserving it because bacon being a meat is tricky to preserve even though it's been cured. But it sure is as you say marvelous on a burger or as a condiment with assorted cheeses. I would imagine that if you do jar it you could keep it refrigerated after opening for a week or more.
beejay45 June 12, 2013
As long as we're more or less having a convo in solitary splendor /;), I notice that all the recipes I see cook the bacon first. Is that simply to render the fat? If so, do you think it would be just as easy to go through the whole process, skipping that step, and then skimming off the extra fat at the end? Because it seems to me that the uncooked bacon would end up being more or less braised and tenderized through the process and give you all the flavor without the hard bits. Am I way off base? Thanks for your time, and, again, this recipe sounds great -- love the seasonings, and I am going to use this one.
beejay45 June 12, 2013
This sounds marvelous. Have you ever made a larger batch and tried canning it?