Test Kitchen Notes
Perhaps when we say "jam," you think of strawberries or blackberries. And you would be right! But you should also think of smoky, fatty, porky bacon, which is the main ingredient here, along with a boatload of chopped onions. Garlic and paprika underscore that this is a savory situation, while apple cider vinegar and beer (indeed, beer!) add tangy brightness. Dark brown sugar and maple syrup bring just enough sweetness and stickiness to call this a jam and invite you to spread said jam on toast. Beyond that breakfast of champions, put this condiment toward a box of Triscuits (name a better afternoon snack), smear it inside your next grilled cheese (or even a cheeseburger), use it for an upgraded BLT (mayonnaise not optional), tuck it inside an omelet (any egg dish, really), or toss it with hot pasta and call it dinner (maybe some arugula gets involved, who knows?). Bacon jam also makes for a very well received gift. In that case, you might want to make a double—dare I say triple—batch. Decant into tiny jars and put a bow on them. For bonus coziness, try using smoked paprika instead of standard. In lieu of apple cider vinegar, don't hesitate to swap in your favorite, from white to sherry to malt. And if you're looking for a little heat, go ahead and add a pinch or two of ground cayenne, or a couple shakes of hot sauce at the end. Note: If using malt beverage, cut the dark brown sugar down to 1 tablespoon. —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Makes 1 1/2 cups
bacon, maple-smoked and nitrate-free
(heaped) chopped onions (about 2 small onions)
garlic cloves, pressed
1 to 2 tablespoons
dark brown sugar
apple cider vinegar
beer (milk stout or malt beverage)
- Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch strips.
- Heat a large, high-rimmed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned and just crisp. (The crisper the bacon, the more texture your jam will have.)
- Once the bacon is browned, remove from the pan and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain the excess fat. Set aside.
- Pour out the excess bacon grease into a disposable container, leaving about 1 tablespoon behind in the pan. This will look like a film of fat in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the onions. Sauté the onions until translucent.
- Add the paprika and garlic to the onions and turn the heat down to low. Stir a few times to evenly distribute the garlic, then add the maple syrup. If using milk stout, add 2 tablespoons brown sugar; if using malt beverage, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cook until the brown sugar has dissolved. When you pull a spoon along the bottom of the pan, the liquid should slowly move back into place.
- Add the vinegar and beer. Turn to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the bacon. Allow to simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has started reducing. When you pull your spoon along the bottom of the pan, the line you drew should fill back in very slowly.
- Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes while you set up your blender (or food processor) with the blade attachment.
- Pour the bacon jam into your blender and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. (I prefer the consistency of chutney over that of jelly.)
- Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating to allow it to solidify, but sneak in a couple spoonfuls if you like it warm.
- Store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month.