Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

bacon, bourbon and a special maple syrup combined with onions

I know two things for certain. Most things are better with bacon, and all things are better with bourbon. So, combine the two in this maple bourbon bacon jam recipe and it’s a winner-winner. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than a good bacon onion jam, am I right?

I love cooking with wine and bourbon. The flavors left behind after the alcohol cooks off are very complex. This recipe doubles down on that complexity by using a maple syrup that’s been aged in a bourbon barrel by the folks at Horse Soldier Bourbon.

If you haven’t heard the story of Horse Soldier Bourbon, founded by some real American heroes, it’s definitely worth a read. Add to their incredible story some truly incredible bourbon and it’s a can’t miss.

Bacon, onion, bourbon and maple syrup are the ingredients

Why Cook With Bourbon?

As I mentioned earlier, the flavors associated with cooking with bourbon are very complex. Add to that, bourbon has a sweeter flavor profile than whiskey. Why all bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon is another story.

The hints of vanilla and caramel from the bourbon add a slight sweetness to a dish. Meanwhile, smoky and savory elements mix with a hint of oak from the barrels that make bourbon, bourbon.

Horse Soldier Bourbon - a smooth tasting bourbon made by patriots

What Do You Do With Bacon Jam or Onion Jam?

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Bacon onion jam can be served on a cracker as part of a charcuterie board, served in an omelet, or as a topping for a burger or a hot dog, and especially on pork chops.

cracker topped with jam

One of my favorite things to do with this jam is to incorporate it into what I consider the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. This maple bourbon bacon jam takes something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich and makes it gourmet.

grilled cheese

How To Store Maple Bacon Jam

One of the many great things about this bacon and onion jam recipe is that it stores very well. I’ve kept it for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator without issue.

To store this jam, simply place it in an airtight glass container and place it in the refrigerator. Simple right? I recommend taking it out of the fridge an hour or so before using it just to let it warm up a bit.

jar of bacon jam

Tips For Making Bourbon Bacon Jam

The Bacon: Stay away from any of the fruitwood smoked bacon. While that bacon is excellent on its own, you want to use a standard thick-cut bacon for this recipe.

sliced bacon

The Time: The cooking times listed here are pretty accurate, but a large onion to me might be a medium onion to you so the cooking times may vary somewhat.

The Puree: Don’t get carried away when pulsing in the food processor. You want bacon bourbon jam to be spreadable but still “chunky.”

The Processor: In some cases a blender can be used in place of a food processor. This isn’t one of them. I’ve tried it. The jam gets overworked in a blender so I don’t recommend it for this recipe.

serving bacon jam

Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam Recipe

Serves: 6-8 |Prep Time: 10 minutes |Cook Time: 70 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large sweet onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
⅓ cup Horse Soldier bourbon
¼ cup Horse Soldier maple syrup
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
½ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper

How To Make Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

Step 1: Place bacon into a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered out and the bacon is lightly browned, but not crispy, about 30 minutes.

bacon cooking in dutch oven

Step 2: Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. 

drained of fat with a slotted spoon, bacon rests on a paper towel

Then drain all but two to three tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.

just a little fat in the dutch oven, with normal browning

TIP: Save the excess rendered bacon grease and store in the refrigerator. Try adding a couple tablespoons to your next batch of chocolate chip cookies.  

Step 3: Add the onions to the rendered bacon fat over medium heat. Allow the onions to cook down, stirring often and scraping all the browned bits of bacon from the bottom of the pan—those are all flavor—for about 20 minutes. At this point the caramelized onions will be a deep brown color. 

onions cooking in dutch oven

Step 4: Add the garlic to the cooked onions, stir together, and continue cooking for an additional three minutes. 

Step 5: Add the brown sugar and maple syrup, stirring together until the brown sugar has dissolved.

pouring bourbon into Dutch oven

Step 6: Increase heat to medium high and add the remaining ingredients, along with the cooked bacon. Continue to stir until they are well combined. Allow the jam to cook down for five to seven minutes until the jam is a thick, sticky consistency.

bacon added back to the Dutch oven

Step 7: Remove the jam from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, about five minutes. Then place the jam in a food processor.

food processor with bacon jam mixture

Pulse several times until the jam is a chunky consistency but easily spreadable.

proccesed mixture, slightly chunky but spreadable

Step 8: Serve immediately while warm, or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

bacon jam in mason jar with cracker

bacon, bourbon and a special maple syrup combined with onions

Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

5 from 22 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large sweet onions sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • cup Horse Soldier bourbon
  • ¼ cup Horse Soldier maple syrup
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Place bacon into a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered out and the bacon is lightly browned, but not crispy, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Then drain all but two to three tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.
  • Add the onions to the rendered bacon fat over medium heat. Allow the onions to cook down, stirring often and scraping all the browned bits of bacon from the bottom of the pan—those are all flavor—for about 20 minutes. At this point the caramelized onions will be a deep brown color. 
  • Add the garlic to the cooked onions, stir together, and continue cooking for an additional three minutes.
  • Add the brown sugar and maple syrup, stirring together until the brown sugar has dissolved.
  • Increase heat to medium high and add the remaining ingredients, along with the cooked bacon. Continue to stir until they are well combined. Allow the jam to cook down for five to seven minutes until the jam is a thick, sticky consistency.
  • Remove the jam from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, about five minutes. Then place the jam in a food processor.
    Pulse several times until the jam is a chunky consistency but easily spreadable.
  • Serve immediately while warm, or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Notes

I know two things for certain. Most things are better with bacon, and all things are better with bourbon. So, combine the two in this maple bourbon bacon jam recipe and it’s a winner-winner.

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