Who said that jam had to be sweet and not savory? No on one. Bourbon Bacon Jam is a revolutionary addition to any kitchen.
I love jam. Jam makes everything just a little bit better. The same adage applies to bacon so why not combine the two? It might take some getting used to, but once you take that first bite, there’s no going back.
Bourbon Bacon Jam is a jar of goodness every household should have around. Easy to cook, easy to eat, and easy to freeze for those days when a craving hits.
What is Bacon Jam?
Bacon jam is sweet, smokey and salty condiment made with bacon, brown sugar, sometimes syrup and sometimes onions and other savory and sweet elements. Some call it a relish while others call it a jam.
In my opinion, Bourbon Bacon Jam should be rustic. It should be packed with large pieces of bacon so you can not only see what you are eating but so you can get that fantastic bacon texture as well.
If a recipe calls for something smoother, I may give it a little blend with an immersion blender or finely chop. In this instance, I want my Bourbon Bacon Jam to be hearty and toothsome.
I prefer the stovetop from start to finish as well because the liquids evaporate better. This leaves you with more of a syrup consistency which is what I want in my jams.
You can even just top it on cream cheese and use it as a spread or combine it into other more complex recipes. Any way you put it, it is pure deliciousness!
Why You’ll Love This Bourbon Bacon Jam
A savory jam with a touch of sweet perfect for bacon lovers- what’s not to love!
- Super versatile – This maple bourbon bacon jam is perfect for adding to your favorite burgers, putting on a grilled cheese sandwich or any variety of ways you can come up with.
- Easy to make – This savory spread is ready in under an hour, and the ingredient list is fairly short and sweet.
- Sophisticated flavor – Despite being easy to make, this porky bacon jam adds a layer of flavor to absolutely anything you slather it on.
While this is a complex jam in terms of flavor, the ingredients are really very simple.
- Bacon – Because this is a bacon forward dish, cheese a good quality, center-cut bacon. Picking an applewood smoked versus peppered or even jalapeno flavor, will also impact the overall flavor profile.
- Shallot – this provides a gentle onion flavor. Swaps include a vidalia onion or just a plain red or white.
- Garlic – garlic is optional, but helps to supplement the other flavors and isn’t meant to be strong.
- Light brown sugar – Or dark brown sugar works too, but since you are adding syrup too, you don’t really need more molasses.
- Sherry vinegar – Rich and just a little sweet, this aged vinegar offers complex flavor that balances sweet and salty elements. Substitutions can include champagne vinegar (although milder), red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. I’ve seen some use apple cider vinegar as well.
- Water – Water helps the mixture thin out so it doesn’t burn while the sugars caramelize, develop flavor and cook down.
- Maple syrup – Use real, grade A maple syrup, not imitation or watery syrup. Molasses can be swapped too.
- Bourbon – A splash of good bourbon is another lovely flavor, but it optional. The alcohol will cook off, so no worries about alcohol intake.
- Yellow mustard – Many recipes use fancy mustards, but good ole, plain yellow works for me. A smooth and creamy Dijon mustard would be my only other choices.
- Dash of salt – This is optional and only if needed. Bacon usually carries enough salt to season.
How to Make Bacon Jam
With crispy bacon bits and tons of natural flavor, you’ll love how easy it is to make this bourbon bacon jam.
- Cook bacon. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until done and on the verge of crispy, approximately 10 minutes.
- Drain bacon. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off fat, reserving about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Discard the rest and reduce to low heat.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the garlic and shallot directly to the same skillet with rendered bacon fat. Soften for approximately 4-5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, water, syrup, bourbon and mustard. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it starts to thicken and liquids are reduced by about 25%. It will not fully thicken until it starts to cool off-heat.
- Return bacon to pan. Return the cooked bacon to the pan. Remove from the heat and stir well.
Customizing your bacon jam recipe can be so much fun! Suggestions for swapping out the vinegars and mustard are above, but also consider these fun ideas:
- Jalapenos– Add 1-2 tablespoons of diced jalapeno or another type of pepper.
- Nix Nightshades. Feel free to leave out the onions and garlic for a purely sweet and salty jam.
- Smoky. Add smokiness by smoking the jam when finished or giving it 1/2 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke.
- Molasses. Use molasses instead of maple syrup for a slightly sweet and bitter taste.
How to Use Bourbon Bacon Jam
The sky is the limit and nothing is off limits for bacon jam. Here are my favorite ways to use it.
- Slather onto a gourmet burger or hot dog for a better burger.
- Use is on crostini with brie or other savory cheese.
- Serve it on a salad.
- Use it to top deviled eggs.
- Top chicken, beef or pork with this heady condiment.
- Use it in a grilled cheese or other sandwich or panini.
- Dip for crackers.
- On a charcuterie board, cream cheese board, butter board or any cheese boards.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: Bacon bourbon jam is loaded with items that preserve fairly well naturally. Kept in the refrigerator, it should last up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Let it sit at room temperature to soften.
Freezing: You can freeze bacon jam in an airtight container or plastic storage bag. Remove as much air as possible for freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Bacon Jam Recipe FAQs
Anything you can slather, can use bacon jam! Sandwiches, avocado toast, grilled cheese, sweet cookies and more!
Jams are made from combining fruit and sometimes raisins, nuts, and coconut. Marmalades are usually made of citrus fruits and contain pieces of the peel suspended transparent jelly. Technically there is no such thing as a bacon jam or bacon marmalade, but jam seems to fit it better.
I am not a keto expert, but I would say no. Although bacon is considered to be keto-friendly, bacon jam is made with brown sugar, which is not keto approved.
I hear from canning experts that it is possible to can bacon jam and from others that it isn’t, however I’ve never canned anything in my life and I don’t want to give you bad advice. I would advise against it and just freeze your bacon jam.
Generally speaking, just keep simmering it on low and it will thicken. It is also smart to take it off the heat before it is the right consistency. As it cools, it will thicken even more and you run the risk of it getting too sticky.
More Homemade Condiments
- Nashville Sauce
- Quick Garlic Aioli
- Spicy Ketchup Recipe
- Chipotle Aioli Recipe
- Garlic Butter Sauce for Pizza
- Chick-fil-A Sauce
Bacon Bourbon Jam
- In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until done and on the verge of crispy, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off fat, reserving about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Discard the rest and reduce to low heat.
- Add the garlic and shallot directly to the same skillet with rendered bacon fat. Soften for approximately 4-5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, water, syrup, bourbon and mustard. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, ir until it starts to thicken and liquids are reduced by about 25%. It will not fully thicken until it starts to cool off-heat.
- Return the cooked bacon to the pan. Remove from the heat and stir well.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.