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Sense & Edibility's Bacon-Bourbon Jam

Bacon-Bourbon Jam

Bacon and Bourbon are combined to create a perfect spread for your holiday soirees. 
Course Soirees/Appetizers
Cuisine North American
Keyword bacon, bourbon, jam, spread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 pints


  • 2 12 ounce packages bacon
  • 3 medium white onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • kosher salt, to taste


Cook the Bacon

  • Cut the bacon slices into half-inch thick strips. 
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the bacon to the pan.
  • While the bacon is cooking, peel and cut the onions into 1/4" thick by 2" long slices. Place the onion slices into a bowl and set aside.
  • Check the cooking bacon. Carefully drain off some of the fat if there seems to be quite a bit of it in the pan. Return the pan the stove to continue cooking.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves while you wait for the bacon to finish cooking. Set this in a separate bowl and this bowl aside. 
  • Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan, then return the pan to the stove.

Caramelize the Onions and Garlic

  • Over medium heat sauté the sliced onions, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. The onions will begin to take on a glossy, opaque appearance as they sauté.
  • Add the minced garlic to the onions and continue to sauté for 5 additional minutes.
  • Stir to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan and scorching. 

Add Seasonings

  • Strip the leaves from the thyme stems and add them to the pan along with the ground mustard, pepper, and the cloves.
  • Stir in the coffee, balsamic vinegar, and the brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to further caramelize the onions. 

Deglaze with Bourbon

  • Pull the pan off of the stove and turn off the heat. Carefully, add the bourbon to the pan and, using a butane torch, a long lighter, or a long match, light the bourbon to burn off the alcohol. 
  • You may, or may not, be able to see the flame in your pan, so use caution. The alcohol should burn off in 1-2 minutes. 
  • Once the flame goes out, return the pan to the stove to continue cooking down the onions for 10 more minutes, or until the onions look thick and syrupy. 

Finish the Jam

  • Transfer the onions to a deep-sided bowl, and using an immersion blender or a blender, puree the onions to a semi-smooth consistency. 
  • Return the onion mixture to the pan and fold in the bacon. 
  • Warm the bacon through, then taste the jam, adding just a pinch of salt if necessary. The jam will become saltier as it sits.
  • Transfer the Bacon-Bourbon Jam to a serving dish, or an air-tight container. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Serve as desired, either cold or warm.