I was skeptical the first time I heard about Bacon Jam. I thought it might be something of a novelty and that maybe we were taking the whole bacon devotion thing a little over the top. I mean, jam made of bacon? It doesn’t get much more indulgent than that! Then, of course, I tasted it, and was ashamed of the doubts in my bacon-loving heart. (I swear, it won’t happen again!) Sweet, salty, smoky, and a little bit tangy, bacon jam was everything. When I set out to make a summer-inspired version, I decided to utilize some of the season’s best and add peaches. Paired with thick cut, applewood smoked bacon, grainy Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and a splash of bourbon (optional, but let’s be honest: highly recommended), the juicy fruit brought a welcome dimension of freshness to the rich jam. Let’s just say, for about a week after I first made it, we slathered this Bacon Peach Jam on everything. No shame!
Like most jams, this recipe takes a bit of time on the stove to prepare, but the flavor payoff of a slow simmer is well worth it! If I had any complaint about some of the bacon jams I’ve tasted in the past, it would be that a few were a little too salty and/or uniformly-textured for my tastebuds. I find that the sweetness of the cooked peaches (and released juices) balances the saltiness of the bacon and complements the tangy flavors of the vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce well. As for the texture, I prefer my bacon jam on the chunkier side, where I can see the chunks of bacon enrobed in the glossy base. If you prefer a more smoothly-textured jam for spreading, give it a few pulses in the food processor after it cools until you reach your desired consistency.
As noted in the recipe below, Bacon Peach Jam can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, but it is best served at room temperature. By nature, the bacon fat in the jam will solidify with refrigeration and it just won’t be as enjoyable. Before serving, very gently heat the jam on the stove or microwave just until the chill is taken off and it looks glossy again. We love Bacon Peach Jam as a summer appetizer with cocktails, spread onto baguette slices and topped with crumbled buttermilk blue cheese. It’s also a great addition to grilled flatbreads, grilled cheese (stay tuned to the blog on Thursday for more on this), as a topping for burgers, or baked into Brie en Croute. Hungry yet? I sure am!
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Bacon Peach Jam
This jam can be made a week in advance, and stored, tightly-covered in the refrigerator. Gently warm or return to room temperature before serving.
Tip: After cooling for a bit, the extra bacon drippings can be strained and frozen in ice cube trays for use in other recipes where you want a flavor boost.
- 1-1/2 pounds applewood smoked bacon (I use thick cut), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 4 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 to 1 cup dark brown sugar (depending on how sweet your peaches are)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Carefully remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pot and discard or save for another use.
Return pot to heat, add onions, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Return bacon to the pot with chopped peaches, brown sugar, black pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and bourbon (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until jam is thick and glossy, about 30-35 minutes. (If your peaches are very juicy and throw a lot of liquid into the jam, this might take a little longer; continue simmering until thick.) As the jam cooks, use the back of your wooden spoon to break up the peaches. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
If a smoother texture is desired, transfer cooled jam to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency. Serve jam at room temperature.