Introduction: BAM! Bacon Jam Recipe

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I love bacon, and I'm constantly looking for new ways to incorporate it into my diet.  Enter: BAM! - short for B(acon) (J)am!  Part bacon, no parts jam, and extra dashes of awesome make bacon jam the new must-have condiment.  Having seen versions of bacon jams cropping up in stores everywhere, I went about contrasting and comparing home recipes to bring you the best bacon jam there can be.  The only problem - everyone sampling the tests had a different favorite!  So I'll just have to share all three winning recipes and let you decide on your own.


Step 1: The Bacons and Friends

I had no idea how many different kinds of bacon there are available.  After a trip to my local Whole Foods deli counter, I decided to try everything they had - smoked, uncured, and Black Forest (my new favorite!)

All three of the following recipes started with the same base recipe:
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked* and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
*my favorite method for cooking bacon is baking it in the oven at 400F(200C) for ~20 minutes.  The bacon cooks evenly, there are no lingering smells, and cleanup is a snap!

Step 2: Variations

First step is to cook the bacon (as mentioned in the previous step) and saute the onions and garlic (might as well use up that bacon fat!).  Chop up the bacon, and combine with the onion, garlic, coffee, and vinegar. 

Next I added the remaining ingredients to make the three different variations, so choose your favorite!

Each variation included the following additions. 

Variation 1:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Variation 2:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Variation 3:
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-4 chipotle peppers (packed in adobo sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • Ground pepper to taste

The pots were then brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer to stew over low heat for up to 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until reduced.

The first variation reduced to a really thick type of sludge, the others were more liquidy.  I wish there were a word for sludge that has a positive spin to it, as this was my favorite of all three.  Reduce the jam to whatever viscosity of sludge you prefer!

Blend in a food processor until combined but still chunky.  Too much blending at this point will make the resulting jam really gooey in a less-than-pleasant kind of way.  Plus it's nice to be able to see what you're eating.

Step 3: Taste!

They don't look like much when they're sitting in their unlabeled plastic dishes, but I didn't want to influence the judges! 

Everyone had a different favorite, and all were appreciated.  I guess the lesson to be learned from this is:

You can't go wrong with bacon jam!

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