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Bacon Jam

BBQ season is almost here, and the recently published The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces by James Beard Award winners Bill and Cheryl Jamison helps back yard barbecuers find easy-to-prepare homemade sauces to spice up any outdoor celebration. This Bacon Jam works as a topping on a burger or spread over some sliced tri-tip, grilled sweet potatoes, asparagus or simple grilled bread.

Big Book of Sauces1 lb. sliced bacon, preferably smoky, such as Nueske’s, chopped
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup brewed coffee
1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or agave nectar
1 bay leaf or 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme

Fry the bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is brown and crisp, after about 15 minutes, remove it with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and reserve. Pour off and set aside for another use all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat and stir the onion into the fat that remains in the skillet. Continue cooking over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the vinegar and scrape up the mixture from the bottom of the skillet. Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, bay leaf and reserved bacon. Stir well. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until very thick and jammy. Remove the bay leaf. We like the texture as is, but if you wish, you can puree about half of the jam in a food processor and then stir it back in.

Use warm or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days and reheat as needed. Makes about 2 cups.

Recipe © 2015 by Bill and Cheryl Jamison and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

Literary Friday, Edi