I'll start by linking to the bacon jam recipe. I'll include it below.
When I first made it, and I'm thinking this was the third time I made it, I thought it was a little much going on all at once. But this time everything went pretty well and I'll tell you why: I discovered bacon ends.
Also, it helped that I had 1.5 pounds of bacon ends thawing in the refrigerator.
Making this recipe with slices of bacon is painful and tedious and greasy. I had bacon ends left over from the my first attempt, which turned out to be divine, but I also used the aforementioned slices of bacon. A mistake. Somehow I had some pieces of bacon ends left over, which surprised me, but maybe I thought somehow the slices were paramount to the recipe.
They are not.
The second time I made the recipe, I bought a five-pound box of bacon ends and then painstakingly and tediously stood there with my kitchen shears cutting off the fat from most, but not all of it. It was worth the sore feet I got because I didn't have grease floating in the air while the bacon cooked and I had spare parts for the freezer.
I put all the thawed bacon ends into a soup pot and stirred it now and then.
I dumped the finished bacon into my big Crockpot. You can see there is still some fat in there. Maybe too much. The recipe calls for rendering the fat. For more on that, read this.
While that was cooking, I got busy chopping up two onions and some garlic. I've learned to use a few cloves more garlic than the recipe calls for.
I had almost no fat in the pan, so I had to throw in a little olive oil/butter combination. The onions got to know the oils and turned into this:
pretty, isn't it?
I threw in the rest of the ingredients and if you're a squeamish cook, you might think this must be awful. The more adventuresome will look at the list and think something along the lines of "Wagons, Ho!" and what not.
Real maple syrup, cider vinegar, brown sugar and coffee get boiled a little and then everything is put in the Crockpot.
Turn the Crockpot on high and let it live there uncovered so the liquid boils off. It takes hours for this to happen. Toward the end, I use my stick blender to chop everything into bits and then I taste test it. This batch needed to be sweeter and didn't have complexity, so I used some instant coffee and brown sugar. I just threw it in there and let it sit a bit longer on the heat. It turned out fine.
Someone might think to put this in a blender, but have you ever tried to blend bacon? I have a regular blender and I'm sure it isn't up to the job. The recipe says you can use a food processor, but again...no. My stick blender is perfectly capable and keeps me from transferring hot liquids and putting a lid on hot liquids and so on.
I'm not that talented.
What do you do with this? One of my favorite things to do with bacon jam is serve it on toasted dense bread. You can stir it into avocado, corn, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, etc. You can dress up a grilled cheese sandwich or a cheeseburger. You can spread it into a stromboli or top a pizza. You can do anything with it you want! Vanilla ice cream...O! I haven't done that before. That could be amazing.