Marinades, Sauces, Rubs & Salsas

Bacon Jam

Tulsa, Oklahoma may not top your must-visit travel list, but this lively oil town boasts a terrific Woody Guthrie museum, a fine are museum (the Philbrook), a monumental piece of folk art (the Golden Driller, a three-story tall statue of an oil man), a singular grill manufacturer (Hasty Bake), and enough great barbecue joints to keep you sated for a week. What I remember most from a recent visit was one of the coolest uses I’ve ever found for bacon: the bacon jam served at Smoke Woodfire Grill. Smoke chef-owner Erik Reynolds brings a tweezers sensibility to traditional Oklahoma bacon. He cures and smokes his own bacon, and developed the jam as a way to take advantage of all the smoky trimmings. If you can’t make your own, use a good artisanal bacon, like Nueske’s.


Bacon Jam

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes 3 cups


  • 1 pound bacon, thinly slivered crosswise
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark—your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Tabasco sauce, or your favorite hot sauce, to taste

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Place the bacon in a large cold cast-iron skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is browned and crisp, 5 minutes. Work in several batches, as needed.

Step 2: Transfer the bacon to a colander set in a heatproof bowl and drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. (Reserve the remaining bacon fat for later use).

Step 3: Return the skillet to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until lightly browned, 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Step 4: Return the bacon to the pan along with the coffee, vinegar, syrup, molasses, brown sugar, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir well and gradually bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, until thick and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often.

Step 5: For a chunky jam, use as is. For a smoother jam, puree the ingredients in a food processor, running the machine in short bursts.

Step 6: Serve the bacon jam at once, either warm or at room temperature. Or transfer to a jar, cover, and cool to room temperature. The jam will keep refrigerated for at least 3 days, but for the best results, let it warm to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Tips

Try this: Stuff Bacon Jam into a pork chop (cut a pocket in the side) or spoon it over grilled burgers or salmon steaks. It revolutionizes a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s even pretty awesome eaten straight off the spoon.

Tip: For an extra kick, add a shot of bourbon.

Find This Recipe

And More

Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades—Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too

Barbecue sauces, rubs, and marinades are every griller’s secret weapon—the flavor boosters that give grilled food its character, personality, depth, and soul. Steven Raichlen, America’s “master griller” (Esquire), has completely updated and revised his bestselling encyclopedia of chile-fired rubs, lemony marinades, buttery bastes, pack-a-wallop sauces, plus mops, slathers, sambals, and chutneys. It’s a cornucopia of […]

Buy Now ‣