Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

Maybe for others it’s been a week of planning, packing, flying and socializing. BlogHer Food in Atlanta, Eat, Write, Retreat in DC and Plate to Page in Germany. I miss meeting the bloggers that I’ve gotten to know professionally and ‘virtually’ but it’s helped immensely that I’ve had a great week with bacon and I have to say, bacon does make it better.

My last post detailed the how, the why and the wherefore of curing your own bacon and I’ve enjoyed bacon like no time I can remember. The bacon, grits and egg dish I made with it was amazing and simple BLT’s have been elevated to new heights. I can hardly stand the anticipation of  later this summer when I’ll enjoy a sandwich made with bacon I’ve cured, a home grown tomato and some fresh baked bread; certainly Heaven ensues!

Yesterday though I made true Southern biscuits from my friend Lana’s website at Never Enough Thyme. So I’ve christened this the McJamming Biscuit! Simply a biscuit, bacon jam, a poached egg and a slice of tomato. If McD’s actually did this, they would be swamped for breakfast, even by foodie purists!

I’ve already decided that bacon is going to be my holiday gift for friends and family. Every year I make everyone a basket of homemade goodies. It’s fun but it’s also a lot of work and part of that work is figuring out what to make for everyone that is unique and special. I’ve made candles and scones, candy and liqueur…certainly cookies too…but this year? Maple Bourbon Bacon will rule! Seemed almost too easy, just a basket with 2 lbs of home cured bacon so I already know I’ll want to add something else. In keeping with what is becoming my own personal #BaconPalooza, I’ve decided to also include bacon jam.

I’ve already found the perfect half pint jars and a friend already knows my plans…she’s asked if I would consider Christmas in June this year!

I wanted something with my favorite flavor combination; what I call sweet/heat. I’ve used balsamic vinegar which is a bit sweet so to get some heat into the mix; I balanced that with cumin. Perfect. While I’m sure it’s going to be great as an appetizer on bruschetta, I didn’t want it so hot that it seemed too much for breakfast, so tweaking the spices is important. Since I’m using my maple bourbon bacon for this batch…it would be a sin to not include a bit more bourbon, right?

You do not have to cure your own bacon first, but some good quality thick cut bacon is important to insure the end product has some heft to the bacon pieces.

Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam
Prep time
Total time
A wonderful sweet and savory spread made with bacon, maple syrup, bourbon, onion and spices.
Serves: Approximately 4 cups of jam
  • 1 pound good quality thick cut bacon; cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of whole grain mustard
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Ancho chile powder
  • 1 cup espresso (I used dried espresso with 1 cup of hot water)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  1. In a large, heavy skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until it's lightly browned and just starting to crisp. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent and starting to caramelize; 20-25 minutes. Add the spices the last 5 minutes; mix thoroughly.
  3. While the onion cooks, chop the bacon into smaller pieces; approximately ½" square.
  4. Return the bacon to the pan and add the brown sugar, mustard, coffee, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and bourbon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Simmer over low heat stirring occasionally for approximately 2 hours, until the mixture is a thick, jam-like consistency and deep rich brown color.
  6. Let cool for 20 minutes; check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to a food processor. Pulse about 20 times to get the desired consistency. Do not process until completely smooth; it should remain a bit chunky.
  8. Spoon into jars or storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
OK, I forget how many jars this filled; I had so much going on! I'm guessing about 6 (8 oz) jars. I'll keep track when I make again and confirm this information. Sorry and...Oops.


    • Creative Culinary says

      Would you believe I don’t remember exactly but you made me think. I figure there is ‘about’ 4 cups of ingredients that are cooked down so I’m guessing it filled maybe 4-6 (8 oz) jars? I’ll keep track and include that info in the meantime I’ve noted what I just shared with you on the recipe notes. If you find differently; please let me know, OK. It’s so good though; maybe I should count one jar just for sampling during the process? :)

  1. julia coker says

    Love your bacon jam recipe! Have you ever tried canning it? I would think you would need to do it in a pressure canner to preserve it properly… Love your site, and started following you on pinterest, too.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I queried some folks about this very issue and you’re right; pressure canning has been all I’ve heard considering it has meat in it. That being said, it was eaten so quickly that I didn’t have to worry about storage. Thanks Julia, you made my day.

  2. Penny Wolf says

    I have made a similar recipe and am very soon going to make this one!
    My very favorite way to eat the bacon jam is on a burger with a bit of blue cheese.
    Particularly good when you have had your fill of turkey which is just around the corner.

  3. says

    Lord, I love this capital L love. I cure my own bacon and usually give people chutney or brandied or spiced cherries for Christmas but!!!! I’m almost afraid to tell my husband about it. He’s going to want it instantly. Great post, amazing recipe.

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is AMAZING. I make homemade buttermilk biscuits and I do think we went through a whole jar the first morning! I’m sure it would be good in any way BUT as you know…using your own home cured bacon? Well, how could anything beat that?

  4. Trish says

    Has anyone tried to can this? It’s awesome!!! But I want to store it so i have lots of it on hand. So come on …. what if I processed it in a water bath? any ideas?

    • Creative Culinary says

      I wanted to do the same thing and got so many differing replies I dare say I was more confused than ever! One said it would have to be done in a pressure cooker because it contained meat and another said that would make the meat mushy. I have asked Cathy Barrow, one of the founders of #charcutepalooza and a canning expert herself to comment with her advice. Stay tuned!

      • says

        Hi Barb, I love bacon jam, too, and have done a little research to figure out how to preserve it for shelf stability. Off hand, I’m certain it would need to be canned using the Pressure Canning method (here’s a good link I made some bacon jam myself and found it held in the refrigerator for three months with no issues. Hope this is helpful! – Cathy

  5. Beth says

    I just … you … it … wow. This looks incredible! I suddenly know what I’ll be doing with my weekend.

    Any idea of how long this will last if, by some miracle, I don’t eat the whole thing before getting it into jars?

    • Barbara says

      Absolutely love it; sort of reminds me of making barbecue sauce and just as easy to revise for your own taste. Mine is almost gone. Sad.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I just pulled some out this morning, my last little precious jar and am having it with a biscuit and yes, hubba hubba hubba does seem to be the thought I’m having!

  6. says

    I’d love to see your kitchen in bacon-jam production — I bet it would look like Santa’s Workshop in May!

    The bacon jam is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it — many thanks for the inspiration.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well, if you make that Denver trip I’ve begged for in late November, you might just see exactly that kind of craziness!

      I hope you do try it…and I will forever be on cloud nine that I brought some inspiration to you…it’s ALWAYS been the other way around! Thanks Dorie.

  7. says

    This sounds delicious! I’m thinking of making grilled cheese sandwiches this weekend with some really sharp cheddar on beer bread, and wanted to also add caramelized onions OR onion jam — would this jam work well, flavor-wise, do you think?

    Thanks :)

    • Barbara says

      Sorry for the late reply Julie…sometimes that real work stuff gets in the way of my blogging! I think it would be a great addition though to be perfectly honest…the caramelized onions would be great and I can’t help but think the bacon jam is a lot of work to end up sort of hidden in all the components of a grilled cheese. I’m loving it most on plain crackers or biscuits.

    • Barbara says

      Thanks Sommer…the bacon was amazing; the jam made from it…hardly words to describe. Guess YUM will have to do!

  8. says

    I’ve wanted to try the curing of bacon but just haven’t had the time. Maybe this Summer when school gets out. That jam sounds fantastic and a great gift. Now I really want to make my own bacon!!!
    Love the new (old?) site!

    • Barbara says

      Thanks Megan…it’s really pretty easy; the hardest thing is the wait. I also heard that Williams Sonoma carries pink salt too.

  9. says

    This looks so good. I’ve been intrigued with the idea of this for awhile, and now with your endorsement I’ll have to put it on my “to cook” list.

  10. Carol says

    Great recipe… my mouth’s watering! lol

    Question: How long will this last in the fridge? And have you canned it?

  11. says

    I think this might be better with poached eggs than my idea to serve asparagus, oh wow. I’ve never had bacon jam before, but I can definitely see this making everything in life better :)

  12. says

    Your bacon jam sounds like a flavor explosion! And sounds incredibly delicious! I can think of 100 things off the top of my head I want to slather it on.

  13. says

    Oh wow. I have been wanting to make bacon jam for some time now and this is definitely going to be my go to recipe! Love the savory-sweet! This would be just incredible on burgers! Skillet Street Food in Seattle makes bacon jam but guards their recipe.

  14. says

    That biscuit looks beyond fabulous. The poached egg looks perfect. What did you use to get it that way?

    Poached eggs have been my unicorn – I just can’t get them right. I’ve tried everything but I nearly always end up making a mess. Even when I don’t make it mess, it still doesn’t look pretty.

    I’ve tried Gordon Ramsay’s method of poaching the egg in a little whirlpool (so the egg, etc., stays in the centre of the pan).
    I’ve tried adding vinegar.
    I’ve tried those microwave poachers (that always seem to explode five seconds before the timer is done, no matter what I set the timer for).
    I’ve tried using old eggs.
    I’ve tried using new eggs.
    I’ve stood on my head the night before a full moon.

    So I’m still stuck going to a restaurant if I ever want to eat eggs Benedict.

    • Barbara says

      I use an egg poacher that is basically like a double boiler. The pan holds the boiling water and a tray fits across the top with cutouts for the individual egg cups. Works like a charm. I did read that the method of putting them straight into boiling water is best if you let the more watery part of the white drain off but I’ve used an egg poaching pan as long as I can remember and probably won’t be trying that method myself!

      • says

        I guess I’ll need to look fora fancy-pants egg poaching pan. I have some sort of cast-iron thing that I’ve used for decoration. Since I made one of my famous messes with it, it hasn’t left the wall. It doesn’t have removable cups.

  15. says

    OMG….what an unbelievable recipe. I will be making it this weekend. I love bacon and have cured my own and also made some pretty kick ass pork belly that won over some of the chefs in Utah. I also love the sweet and salty nature of pork with some sweets. This weekend at the Big Eat event in Denver, Panzano had small apples dipped in homemade caramel then rolled in bacon…to die for. Also I posted a recipe a long time ago for bacon, caramel, cashew popcorn that is to die for…I also make it with lamb bacon I buy from a rancher friend.
    Can you tell me I’m excited???

    • Barbara says

      Good gracious Jane I was happy with the jam til now. Those apples sound absolutely to die for. Want to be a part of my new business? All bacon..all the time? (OK, just kidding but this jam should be bottled and sold)

  16. says

    Something is seriously lacking in my life and I think I know what it is….Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam! Good grief, my salivary glands are misbehaving at the very thought of it. I’m imagining it in all kinds of dishes now. I might never be the same. I need some of this!! Urgently! xx

    • Barbara says

      The home curing part is timely…skip that and it’s an afternoon thing…so I can only say…do it!

    • Barbara says

      I found a lot of recipes and followed none to a ‘t’ but did get the idea of espresso from someone who added coffee. I mean if using coffee, espresso is better, right?

  17. says

    I like how sweet/heat sounds! First homemade bacon, now bacon jam. I’m gonna call u the bacon queen ;)
    This looks so good and tempting, could you please include me in your list of lucky friends who’re getting some of that bacon this X-mas? :D Happy Tuesday! xoxo

    • Barbara says

      I’ll take that title with honor. Although I’ve always loved bacon; it wasn’t until now that I LOVE BACON!

  18. says

    That poached egg looks like a fluffy cloud ready to burst! Bacon Jam does sound like a great idea. Who am I kidding, it sounds like the BEST IDEA EVER! Thanks for sharing!

    • Barbara says

      I almost fried the egg and then remembered I had a nifty egg poacher that I seldom use. I will be using it more now; this was a perfect breakfast sandwich!

  19. says

    I’m totally intrigured Barb. I have head of bacon jam but have not ever tasted it. Loved the ingredients and think I can picture the flavors combined. Guess I’ll need to make some to affirm my thinking! Great ‘first of the morning’ post to read/see; thank you!

    • Barbara says

      The ingredients are not unlike many I used to make a bourbon barbecue sauce but it’s thicker and well, it does have bacon. Thanks Toni…it has been a fun journey. Next time you see me, I will have quit my job and turned my kitchen into full on bacon and bacon jam production. :)


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