Bacon Jam: From "I don't get it" to " I can't live without it"

Sometimes, not often but sometimes, my fellow employee-owners here at King Arthur Flour would like to murder me. Well, maybe not murder, but definitely toss me out the window in displeasure. Like the other day…

I was spending the day in the test kitchen, and I need to cook some bacon. Well, quite a bit of bacon. Like pounds of bacon. At 8 o’clock in the morning.

Can you imagine that? Arriving to work and the whole building smells like frying bacon? So, you check the tasting kitchen, ready to snag a few pieces of porky goodness to bring to your desk and… no bacon.  You’d be thinking dastardly thoughts about my well being too.

After the fifth or sixth person came to the kitchen to give me a sarcastic “thanks a lot” or glare daggers at my back, I sent this email, titled “Whasup with the bacon!?”:

“A batch of bacon jam in the making, and perhaps some maple bacon cupcakes.  I know it’s a killer, but the rewards will be great later today!”  Finally the hordes calmed down, knowing that eventually I would be feeding them their beloved bacon. Of course, from then on I was fielding questions instead of dodging bullets. “Bacon JAM? ”  “BACON Jam? ” “What the heck is BACON JAM?!”.

Bacon jam is the salsa of the decade so far. It seems to have started with a particular food truck out west, then it was featured on an episode of “Top Chef” and it’s been going like wildfire ever since. Bacon jam is a bacon and onion relish, cooked down to a syrupy goodness with brown sugar, maple syrup and a host of other sweet and savory flavors. The smoky bacon marries so well with the sweet onions and syrups and each chef has their own take on ingredients to add to give it their own twist.

My twist here? I couldn’t resist using our entrancing boiled cider as part of the liquid, and chef Susan Reid suggested some bay for complexity. It is a masterful combination and completely addictive.

Let’s get started on our Bacon Jam.

Ah, bacon. How do I love thee bacon, let me count the ways…

Cut 1 1/2 pounds of  nice thick bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook until crisp. I like to use a skillet for cooking my bacon, but some folks like to use the oven. Any way you like is fine, you just want the bacon on the crisper side.

Like this. Nice dark edges, fat rendered out. If you think it smells good now, just wait.

In the bowl of a 2 quart or larger crock pot, place:
the cooked bacon
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup boiled cider
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 dried bay leaves

The onions will brown up and cook down, the bacon will soften slightly and the liquid will have cooked down.

If you are not a coffee fan, don’t worry. NO ONE could tell I had put coffee in this. It just gives a deeper, richer flavor.

Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. (thanks everyone for reminding me to add this important info!!!)

Pour the jam into a food processor or blender, removing the bay leaves, and pulse to a relish consistency. You may find that there is still a bit too much liquid for your liking at this point. Easily fixed…

By simmering the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until the liquid reduces and the jam is thick and syrupy. By now the scent has practically driven you mad, so it’s time to start tasting.

When you make a vat of bacon jam in a building full of people and it is time to serve, you’d better have a lot of toast. Turn your oven on to 350°F and use your oven racks as giant toast racks. Monitor well, there will be a little smoking of crumbs and crumbles from the pieces of bread.

Turn the toast and move pieces about the oven as they brown up. Remove the finished pieces as they are done and continue to bake until all of the pieces are golden brown and ready to go.

I’m happy to say, after serving my co-workers piles of toast and bacon jam, they forgave me…for now. I hope your family and friends will do the same for you.

Please make, rate and review our recipe for Bacon Jam.

Print just the recipe:

Show me the bacon! BLT Pizza; Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake ; Bacon Bites

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Anna

    Maybe I missed it in the above recipe, but how long does everything stay in the crockpot, and at what temperature? This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
    Hi Anna,
    Well, one of us missed something, but it wasn’t you! I’ve added the cooking instructions from the recipe to the blog now. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. johndanks

    The blog is missing the step of “cover and cook over high heat for 3 to 4 hours” after adding everything to the crock pot.

    This looks amazing and I must make it.
    Thanks all, I’ve added the cooking instructions. Sorry for missing that “small” step! 😉 ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. CheriDawn

    Oh, how I LOVE bacon jam. We had it at a BaconFest at a friend’s house last year with corn fritters. Nummy-liscious! Thanks so much for the recipe!
    Holy cats! I never thought of having it with fritters. Must be my good karma that I bought a deep fat fryer last month. Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. biobaker

    Hmmmm….very interesting. I don’t care for bacon myself (yes, I know), but many of my friends would adore this if I could stand being around the bacon long enough to make it for them. I’m wondering how this would can. Plenty of sugar there, but it seems too low in acid for hot water-bath canning. Any thoughts or recommendations?
    I’ll admit, I’ve only canned once or twice in my whole life, and it has always been tomato based. I’ll ask Susan Reid, an awesome hand at canning to offer advice. Thanks! ~ MaryJane

    Here’s what Susan had to say: Only way this would be safe to do would be in a pressure canner, following instructions for meat. Hope it helps! ~ MJ

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks, and in the freezer up to 4 weeks. Will it last that long? Happy Baking – or jam making! Irene@KAF

  5. Rocky-cat

    Stop reading my mind! I was going to look for a bacon jam recipe this morning and here you are, my love. What would you suggest substituting for the boiled cider? I was going to cut the recipe in half, so I would only need 2 Tbs. of the substitute. More maple syrup, maybe?
    I would suggest using apple juice concentrate in place of the boiled cider. ~Amy

    Reply
  6. leblanc75

    How long do you cook it in the crockpot?
    It’s 3-4 hours on high. Thanks to everyone for bringing my mind back from its trip, not sure where it went, but it sure wasn’t here that day!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Bridgid

    MJ,

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…. For your cake decorating skills, your snowflake cake, your pistachio goodness, your coconut scrumptiousness, and for the love of all that is good, your bacon jam! Have I had it yet? No. Does it matter? No. I know I will love it the way I love you!

    My friend is visiting KAF today. I put in an emergency call for boiled cider & grade B maple syrup. I will make this this weekend in between shows. (I am in a musical). (I do not cook during shows. This WILL be an execption!)

    I hope you liked the pistachio ice cream recipe I posted a few months ago.

    Oh, another singing, acting baker! I love it. 🙂 ~Amy

    The pistachio recipe is one the top of my list for my next Sunday off. I will eat it all myself, MAYBE sharing a little with my DH. Would love to hear more about the musical. I have NO talent whatsoever in the acting/singing/dancing fields, but I can live vicariously through you, right?! <3 ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. kerry81480

    I made a large vat of bacon jam around Christmas to package up for gifts and now my husband and I both agree we will never again be without bacon jam. Our new favorite weekend breakfast is an egg and cheese sandwich with bacon jam and some good cheddar. Ridiculously good.

    It’s also good with sauteed Brussels sprouts, on baked potatoes with blue cheese, on burgers. It’s the perfect condiment.

    Reply
  9. Helen

    So, I am not going to spend 11 bucks on a bottle of boiled cider, what can I use instead?
    Hi Helen! You can use some apple juice concentrate instead. It won’t have the same depth of flavor, but it will certainly work. ~Amy

    Reply
  10. Lois

    Sounds yummy, and I’d like to try it. But how long do you cook the mixture in the crockpot – 8 hrs, overnight? Also, did you use the high setting or low setting.
    It’s 3-4 hours on high. Thanks to everyone for bringing my mind back from its trip, not sure where it went, but it sure wasn’t here that day!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply

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