Your New Favorite Way to Eat Bacon

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
By Hannah Petertil  

The story I want to tell is one of years of stoic veganism that met its demise with one beautiful batch of bacon jam — but that wouldn't be the entire truth. I never really ate animal products; I avoided them growing up and completely cut them out of my diet when I went to college. Then, on a fateful trip to Chicago, I broke my veganism with a deep-dish pizza. But, it was bacon jam — the store-bought kind — that inspired me to head to the meat aisle to voluntarily cook up a batch of this irresistible condiment.

Buying store-bought bacon jam can become an expensive habit — it is the kind of food that gives Whole Foods its paycheck-related nickname. Making it, on the other hand, is easy and affordable. Once you start cooking up your monthly batch, as I'm sure you will, it will only be a matter of time before this underrated condiment finds a permanent place on your dinner table.

Bacon jam can be used to add depth to just about any food: Spread a little on your breakfast sandwich, add it to pizza when you don't want to splurge on extra toppings, or eat it by the spoonful. Want to add a smoky-sweet bite to your soup? Bacon jam! Want to bake next-level beer bread? Bacon jam! Think your mac 'n' cheese needs an upgrade? Add some salt...just kidding: Add some bacon jam!

Related: Cooking Perfect Bacon Is Still An Important Life Skill


Bacon jam changed me, as I'm sure it will change you. Before, I only indulged in Bac~Os, which — don't be fooled — contain no bacon (as a matter of fact, they're vegan). Now, I finally understand why people wax poetic about this cut of pork. Bacon jam made me a believer, a bacon-based poet. Now, it's time for you to join me on the bacon train.

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Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Homemade Bacon Jam
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients
10 oz bacon, maple-smoked and nitrate-free
1 heaping cup chopped onions (about 2 small onions)
1/2 tsp paprika
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 to 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup milk stout or malt beverage

Note: If using malt beverage, use only 1 tablespoon of brown sugar; if using milk stout, use 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Making bacon jam is better if you measure all of your ingredients before cooking for two reasons: Once you get cooking, it all happens pretty quickly and, more importantly, once you have measured out your 3/4 cup of milk stout or malt beverage, you can drink the rest as you cook. For your mise en place, everything should go into its own little bowl. If you don’t have eight little bowls, the vinegar and beer can go together, as can the maple syrup and brown sugar.  

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Instructions
  • 1. Chop bacon into 1/2-inch strips.

  • 2. Heat a large, high-rimmed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until browned and just crisp. (The crisper the bacon, the more texture your jam will have.)

  • 3. Once bacon is browned, remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess fat. Set aside.

  • 4. Pour the excess bacon grease into a disposable container, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. This will look like a film of fat in the pan. Turn heat to medium-low and add onions. Sauté the onions until translucent.

  • 5. Add paprika and garlic to the onions and turn heat down to low. Stir a few times to evenly distribute 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.

  • 6. Add the vinegar and beer (milk stout or malt beverage). Turn to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and add 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.

  • 7. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes while you set up your blender (or food processor) with the blade attachment.

  • 8. Pour the bacon jam into your blender and pulse for 1 to 2 minutes, until the desired consistency is reached. (I prefer the consistency of chutney over that of jelly.)

  • 9. Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating to allow it to solidify, but sneak in a couple of spoonfuls if you like it warm.

  • 10. Store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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