Imagine you’re making a sandwich or a burger and you open the fridge only to find that you’ve run out of bacon. It’s a difficult and distressing thought to dwell on, so stay with me here just a moment longer. Imagine then, discovering that past-you had cooked up a batch of this jam: an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass* jar of bacon-laced jammy goodness to get you through the hard times.

2½ cups





Skill level

Average: 3.6 (26 votes)


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) rindless loin (back) bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 150 g (5½ oz) soft brown sugar 375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) beer
  • 160 ml (5½ fl oz/⅔ cup) malt vinegar
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) maple syrup
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Put the bacon in a large, cold heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until well browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Add the oil and onion to the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until soft and caramelised. Add the garlic, chilli powder and rosemary and cook for 1 minute.

Return the bacon to the pan and then add the remaining ingredients and 500 ml (17  fl oz/2 cups) water. Simmer, uncovered, for 45–50 minutes until most of the liquid has reduced and the mixture is thick. Season to taste. Blend in a food processor until the bacon is finely chopped and the mixture is the consistency of a thick jam. Spoon into a large sterilised jar and store in the refrigerator.



• This jam is particularly good on burgers and sandwiches. It has a lovely salty–sweet punch. It is best eaten within 5 days of making.


*The thought of no bacon can make a person do strange things, but don’t literally break the glass – I’m sure there’s a perfectly good lid on that jar.


Recipes and images from The Little Bacon Cookbook by Jack Campbell (Smith Street Books, $29.99, hbk).

View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.