In 1968, NASA included “bacon squares” aboard Apollo spacecraft, prompting astronaut Jim Lovell to remark, “Happiness is bacon squares for breakfast.” The love of bacon is also attributed to the 1990s Atkins diet craze that placed considerable emphasis on high-protein foods.
With so much attention lavished on salt-cured pork belly, innovative food producers have responded with bacon-centric products including maple bacon donuts, chicken-fried bacon, bacon-infused vodka, bacon ice cream, bacon jerky and chocolate-covered bacon.
The product that has caught my attention is bacon jam, a thick, luscious, sweet and savory spread that exquisitely blends the flavors of perfectly cooked bacon and caramelized onions with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and a variety of alluring spices. The end result is a highly versatile condiment that is perfect on grilled burgers and adds a flavorful touch to charcuterie boards.
Online searches reveal an endless number of applications including omelets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carbonara pasta and salad dressing. While some of these combinations may not resonate favorably with you, I’ve found bacon jam is a welcome addition to baked beans, an undeniably flavorful glaze on meatloaf and adds exciting new twist to grilled cheese sandwiches as well as the humble BLT.
Readily available in supermarkets and specialty food stores, some of the more popular brands include TBJ Gourmet’s Uncured Bacon Jam, Stonewall Kitchen’s Maple Bacon Onion Jam and Terrapin Ridge’s Hot Pepper Bacon Jam. For the cooking enthusiast, there are numerous recipes online that will allow you to make your own. Whichever you prefer, assuming you are one of the many Americans who believe bacon is heaven-sent, there is a world of new and exciting flavor waiting to be explored.
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Jeffrey Spear is the President & Creative Director at Studio Spear, a global branding agency working exclusively with food and consumer lifestyle products and services. His creative and strategic leadership accounts for Studio Spear’s successes, numerous industry related awards and stellar reputation. With client engagements on every continent except Antarctica and more than 40 years in operation, Spear applies his strategic and creative skills to a variety of branding and growth-oriented activities.
On a culinary note, Spear has obtained training from professional cooking schools in Australia and the United States. He is an accomplished trade journalist and food writer, providing recipes, stories and industry insights to a variety of trade and consumer publications. Jeffrey has also produced three cookbooks “Yum: Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats,” “The First Coast Heritage Cookbook,” and “My Life in Gluttony: A Culinary Adventure.”