• Tommy Centola

Whip up some Bacon Jam

Bacon. Just the mention of this word starts my mouth watering. Bacon is one of the ingredients that many feel makes a dish more desirable.

The past two years I have been a part of my brother’s BBQ team at New Orleans Hogs for the Cause, benefiting families of children fighting pediatric brain cancer. Teams turn in Pork Shoulder, Ribs, Whole Hog, and Porkpourri(a dish containing pork). This year the team placed 13 out of 85 for the Grand Championship.

Since I only joined the team last year, I have not been selected to contribute the Porkpourri dish. But I have started to perfect a dish that will eventually be my contribution. One of the components of my dish will be a bacon jam.

I started last year trying to perfect a recipe for Bacon Jam that I am happy with. Most of the recipes that I found lacked a New Orleans flair. So, I started to use Steen’s Cane Syrup in my attempts. The syrup gave me the flavor that I was looking for. Now, the following recipe is not the one that I will be using in my dish. The one I will be using contains an ingredient that is hard to find, Praline Rum. When I was in New Orleans this March, I found Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Rum. Since this ingredient is impossible to get here in Arkansas, here is the recipe I came up with without it, which is still very tasty. If you wish to make it with the rum, add 3/4 cup of rum and reduce the water to 2 tablespoons.

Bacon Jam

1 pound Center-Cut Bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 medium Onion, sliced

4 cloves Garlic, chopped

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 teaspoon Maple Flavoring

1/4 cup Cane Syrup

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Thyme Leaves

In a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat, cook bacon until it begins to brown. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Reduce heat to medium and sauté onions until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes. Add bacon and all remaining ingredients, Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove the browned bacon bits. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until mixture resembles a loose jam, about 25 minutes. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix the jam.

Now that you have the recipe, what do you do with it. Here are a couple of ideas.

Grilled Cheese, spread some Bacon Jam on the inside of one of the slices of bread before you grill it.

Stir in some Bacon Jam into tomato or Alfredo sauce and toss with some pasta for a kicked-up bacon pasta dish.

BLTs. Substitute Bacon Jam for the slices of bacon in this classic sandwich.

Bacon Jam makes a great condiment on a hamburger. Spread it on the bun or right on the burger before you melt the cheese.

Stir Bacon Jam into mashed potatoes.

Mix it with ground meat for an amazing meatloaf.

Stir in with scrambled eggs for a ready made bacon and eggs.

Spread on toast, English muffins or freshly baked biscuits for a quick breakfast.

There are endless uses for Bacon Jam. It is not the easiest ingredient to find in stores. It is, however, fairly simple to make. You don’t know what you are missing until you take your first bite. You will be making this dish often.

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