Bacon jam – the best recipe yet

December 14, 2011. My 21st anniversary of meeting LL and the 20th anniversary of our engagement. An occasion that called for – at the very least – a dinner treat – but dinner was elusive that night. Kid Two had a 6:00 keyboard lesson, his first with a new teacher, former Doobie Brother Dale Ockerman. While he was making music I drove to Whole Paycheck – I mean Whole Foods – to find something to make for dinner. The pizza boys were too busy shuffling around looking busy to help me out, the salad bar was a bit wilted, and the fish department smelled fishy. Feeling put out, I left, mentally figuring out Plan B. We stopped by Gayle’s Bakery on the way home but the Blue Plate Special had sold out by 7:30 and I didn’t feel like ficelles and twice-baked potatoes. So. I dropped Kid Two off at home and went for the big splurge – take-out from Bittersweet Bistro. Turned out to be a serendipitous choice  . . . one of their dinner specials was Bacon Jam Pizza! I’d already made two batches of my own bacon jam in search of the perfect recipe, and finally something to compare my effort to. And Bittersweet’s pizzas are nicely done; a plate-sized pie with thin crust and tasty toppings applied sparingly. So I loaded up, and by 9pm – on a school night –  we finally all sat down to dinner: sliders for Kid Two, steak sandwich for Kid One, Mediterranean pasta for Mija, beef stroganoff for LL. Sadly, though, my bacon jam pizza manifested itself as a Bacon Chicken Ranch Pizza, so recipe-inventing-wise, I was still on my own.

I’d been giving bacon jam a lot of thought. My first batch was too spicy – 1/4 cup sriracha for one pound of bacon was definitely too much. It was all about the heat, not the blending of flavors. My second batch was more balanced, having gone lighter on the sriracha and the tequila, but I let the bacon cook too long, so there was a slight burned taste. Plus, it lacked zing. After thinking and mixing and tasting, my third batch of bacon jam came out just right. Thank goodness! – it was a big investment of time and ingredients I would have hated to throw out. LL had the genius idea to throw in the whole lemon – that really finished it.

I pressure canned these babies and gave them away as Christmas gifts. Here’s what I did:

Bacon Jam Recipe – Best Yet

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds bacon
  • 3 extra large sweet yellow onions
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • scant 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch

What to do:

  • Cut slabs of bacon into quarters cross-wise. Put about a half-pound at a time into a large dutch oven and cook on medium heat. This is the tedious part, so get some good music going to keep you company.
  • Drain fat as you go. There will be quite a bit, so pour it into a large Mason Jar to save for some future project like refried beans or roux.
  • Take each bunch of bacon out when it is browned and set aside to drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the bacon is cooked.
  • While the bacon is cooking, chop your onions. I recently invested in a KitchenAid hand blender with a chopper, and I LOVE this thing:

 

  • Now take your poblanos, cut them in half, discard the stem and seeds, and slice the halves into half again. If you have a gas cooktop, place them directly over medium-high flame to smoke them a bit. Use tongs. Don’t scratch your eyes after you play with the peppers. Better yet, wear gloves!
  • When the peppers cool, chop them into small pieces. Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup. Chop the rest of the lemon into small pieces – pith and peel included. I tried using the KitchenAid chopper, but it was only mildly successful – you just have to do this one by hand.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, tequila, lemon pepper, paprika, sriracha, and tapioca starch.
  • Heat about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in your Dutch oven. Add the onion, poblano, and lemon and sauté for about 5 minutes. Crumble the bacon into the pot and stir well.
  • Add the vinegar-sugar-spice mixture. Bring almost to a boil on medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer until the mixture is thick and syrupy – it took about 40 minutes. Stir often.

I parceled out the finished bacon jam into 12 4-oz Mason jars and pressure canned them for 75 minutes at 11psi. They need a full half inch head space; I only left 1/4 inch and had some seepage. There was enough left over to fill another 2 or 3 jars; I’m not sure exactly since we served it with burgers that first night at a party and I kept the rest for myself.

We made stickers for the jars on round brown Kraft paper and gave them away as holiday gifts.

You will need a pressure canner to pull this one off safely. Here’s the one I bought:


12 Comments

  1. When you start with your general kitchen lighting you will most like look at recessed can fixtures or fluorescent fixtures. These are both a great solution for your overall needs. They are both available in energy efficient versions and have a wide spectrum of lighting possibilities. But these types of fixtures can be a tad boring and do not add to your overall design and theme of your kitchen

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  2. I just found your blog while looking at bacon jam recipes. I’ve made a couple of batches with other recipes and found your addition of Sriracha interesting. How did you decide 4-oz Mason jars should be pressure canned for 75 minutes at 11psi? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Louise,
      Thank you for taking a look at my blog! That’s actually a really good question, because I was worried about pressure-canning the bacon jam properly – especially because I was giving the jars away as Christmas gifts. I bought a new pressure canner, and the manual that came with it gave 75 minutes at 11 psi at lower altitudes as the basic guidelines for meat in pints and half-pints, with a note that it was better to over process than under process. Then, as I was looking around the web, I did find another, more experienced canner who pressure canned 8-oz jars of bacon jam at that same minute/psi ratio. I’m sorry I can’t find her site right now to share with you but will forward when I do. So I went for it.

      My only mistake was headspace – I left 1/4″ in some jars like regular jam and 1/2″ in others. You definitely need the 1/2″, the 1/4″ jars had seepage in the canning process.

      I ladled the hot, fully cooked jam into hot, sterilized jars fresh from the dishwasher. Rings were put through the dishwasher, too. I poured hot water over the lids to soak before I used them.

      I’m thinking about playing with the recipe some more – I just ate at a restaurant in Loreto, Mexico that served sides of pineapple/jalapeno jelly. We all agreed it would be REALLY good with bacon.

      Cheers,
      Maggie

      Reply
  3. I was one of the lucky gift recipients and I am putting this on grilled cheese tonight – and trying very hard not to just eat it out of the jar. Smells divine.

    Reply
  4. Hi Maggie, today I am collecting recipes for jams, jellies and relishes. Please do drop me a line on ca4ole@gmail.com if you are ok with me linking to your post in my blog (Carole’s Chatter). Cheers

    Reply
  5. Found your like in the search for bacon Jam and then for processing into jars. Thanks I am thrilled!

    Reply
  6. I just made some bacon jam, I adjusted the recipe a bit and used jalapenos peppers instead of poblanos and used whisky instead of tequila. It’s great and they are in the pressure cooker right now. Some people will be very lucky this holiday season! I kept tasting and tasting and tasting.

    Reply
    • That’s so exciting Judy – I’m glad you had success with the recipe. I’ll try it with jalapeños next time. . . makes it a bit more spicy, I think.

      Reply
  7. Hi- This was very helpful. I made bacon jam today and canned it in my giant pressure canner for 75 minutes at 11 psi. I left more than a half inch head space and cleared out the air bubbles. When it was done and I opened the canner, there was a bit of oil in the water as if there was some seepage but all the jars are sealed and it looks good. Should I be worried about this whole batch? Also how long does it keep in the fridge after opening? Thanks

    Reply
  8. Hi, I’ve been trying to pressure can my bacon jam in 4 oz mason jars at the 11lbs of pressure for 75 minutes but each time I do it, the bacon jam comes out burnt. Any suggestions on how to make this work without it burning? Thanks

    Reply
  9. I am ready to try this recipe….just curious about using the lemon…peel and all….am I missing something or does that stay in the jam?

    Reply
  10. Hi there,

    Thank yo so much for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to try it! I was wondering if you could help me problem solve another bacon jam though, it’s really good, and I would like to can it as well, but want to be totally safe in doing so. I would follow the times you provided, but this recipe also has tomatos which is a whole other factor to consider. I have tried looking up bacon jams, but they just don’t address tomatos. Here is the recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/228140/tomato-and-bacon-jam/ You should try it, it is really good. Spring break is coming up, and I am going to take that opportunity then to make your bacon jam. Thank you again for sharing! 🙂

    Reply

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