As a Southerner, I know I’m supposed to pledge a certain allegiance to bacon, but I have to admit the “bacon-makes-everything-better” trend had me rolling my eyes after the first month or so. (And that was five years ago!)
Then I made this sweet and savory bacon jam, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t want to slather it on everything from breakfast sandwiches to cupcakes.
You might have heard of bacon jam from “Top Chef” winner Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta, who helped put high-end Southern fare on the culinary map. Or perhaps you heard of bacon jam from the now-famous Skillet Street Food, a food truck-turned-restaurant chain in Seattle. Skillet’s version of braised porky goodness has a major cult following and is now sold on grocery shelves coast to coast. No matter how (or where) you look at it, pig is still in.
If you haven’t already discovered bacon jam for yourself, here’s your chance. There are a lot of variations floating around the Internet, including ones using coffee, brown sugar, garlic, bourbon and peppers. My version gets its inspiration from a recipe for glazed bacon, with its addictive combination of sugar, tangy Dijon and Worcestershire sauce.
I used those same ingredients, adding balsamic vinegar, onions and shallots to the mix. My jam came together fairly quickly and is relatively hands off. Once you fry the bacon and saute the onions, everything else gets thrown in the pot and simmered until all the ingredients cook down. (Warning: It will take everything in your power not to jump right on in.)
There are a million ways to serve bacon jam, and half the fun is seeing how crazy you can get. My personal favorite (besides eating it straight from a spoon) is to build the ultimate breakfast sandwich. Try it – toasted challah, cheddar, oven-roasted tomatoes, field greens, a fried egg and a heap of bacon jam – and don’t tell me it isn’t the best breakfast sandwich you’ve ever had.
Seriously, the possibilities are endless. Spread it in between a grilled cheese, slap it on a burger, or drip it over hot biscuits. And, hey, don’t be afraid to ice it on a cupcake. Just sayin’.
Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a website on food and home cooking.
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