BAM! (aka Bacon Jam) inspired by Skillet
Yup. Bacon jam. Allow us to explain. Once upon a time in a land called Seattle there was a diner dubbed Skillet that was—actually, still is—known throughout the land for burgers slathered with a sweetly smoky lusciousness dubbed known as bacon jam. So ridiculously habit-forming was this curious condiment that the diner, which operated out of a vintage Airstream trailer, began to jar the porcine concoction and sell it throughout the lard, er, land.
–Renee Schettler Rossi
What exactly is bacon jam? According to Skillet founder, Josh Henderson, it comprises bacon, onions, balsamic, and brown sugar. Hmmm. Sounds swell—though suspiciously scant. Skillet junkies have been conjecturing as to those missing ingredients for years. A robust collection of renegade recipes exist online, most of them a riff on the recipe found below, a basic blueprint that’s been bandied about on sites as varied as Martha Stewart Living and countless obscure blogs. We’ve not tasted the original bacon jam from Skillet diner, so we can’t speak to this sweet, sweet recipe’s authenticity, seeing as some of its ingredients vary from the above. We can, however, vouch for the go-wobbly-in-the-knees responses we’ve witnessed in dozens of folks who’ve sampled this bacon jam. That said, we can fathom making tweaks to this recipe, like maybe making it a splash of balsamic rather than cider vinegar, cutting back on the sugar, tossing in a jigger of bourbon…or not.
Equally debated is what to do with the bacon jam once you’ve made it. Slather it on burgers, clearly. Egg sandwiches. Grilled cheese. Waffles. Crostini. Surprise us. Surprise yourself.
BACON JAM RECIPE
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes | Makes 3 cups
- 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut into smallish dice
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, or less to taste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real deal, please)
- 1. In a large skillet over mediumish heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towel-lined plates to drain.
- 2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the skillet and reserve for another use. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet, for 2 minutes. Add the bacon and stir to combine.
- 3. If making this on a stove top, reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid almost completely evaporates and turns syrupy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
If making this in a slow-cooker, transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow-cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until the liquid almost completely evaporates and turns syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- 4. Let the bacon concoction cool slightly before transferring it to a food processor and pulsing until coarsely chopped. Spoon the bacon lusciousness into individual jars or other resealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Transfer to a pan and rewarm gently over low heat prior to indulging.
Above article, photo and recipe courtesy of Leite’s Culinaria
***NOTE*** When preparing this recipe, the key is to keep it simple, or add touches of things you like. Things I have added in the past are 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, 1/4 teaspoon of cocoa power, a splash of bourbon. Feel free to play around as you like, or prepare as listed above! BAM!***