Ahhh, Bacon. Ahhh, Pork, most versatile meat there is!! I was invited to go on a press trip to Smithfield, VA which is the Pork Capital of the world, and it was a welcome reprieve for me getting to go be in the South again, and take brake from being a mom for a short bit.
One of the highlights for me, was getting a chance to catch up with two of my blogging buddies, Chris from NibbleMeThis and Clint from Grillocracy, and when I arrived to the Smithfield Inn (an Historic Bed and Breakfast where George Washington stayed), everyone was in the midst of making bacon jam!
And this recipe inspired me to go home and make a somewhat simplified version that I’m sharing with you now, that can even be made in the crockpot. I slathered this on the low carb biscuits I’ve been making lately and I am in bacon-biscuit heaven. OMG I’ve been sooo obsessed with these biscuits lately and this jam is PERFECT for them.
(makes a pint jar’s worth)
- 12 oz (1 packet) sliced bacon
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 2 cloved garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cup agave syrup
- 1/3 cup breffed coffee
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 dash curry
- 1 dash nutmeg (optional)
- 1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
Cut the bacon in small pieces and then cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is getting crispy- about 20 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and discard all of the fat except 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Cook the onion and garlic until translucent, scraping up crispy bits.
Next, remove the onion mix and add to a crockpot. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for 2-3 hours on high, or until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
Pulse the mix in a food processor or with a hand blender until a smooth consistent paste like texture. Spoon into a cute jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
If you want to make some to give away, double this recipe.
Here are a few facts about Smithfield that you may not have known:
- Smithfield, and Ham, go back to the 1700s!
- The process of salt cured and then smoked Ham, is a result of the Early Settlers and Native American’s process for preserving Ham. The settlers were used to salt curing ham for preservation, and the Native Americans used to smoke theirs, the end result is today’s way of making the perfect ham we know today.
- “Genuine Smithfield” Ham can only come from Smithfield City Limits
- Smithfield is about an hour away from Norfolk, VA and is in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia
- The Town of Smithfield and the Smithfield Brand emerged together as a brand and a city together as the area developed. Pork is what put this place on the map.
- Smithfield, the company, seems to be a high integrity brand that cares about its employees and the treatment of its animals, and the community. Their motto, “Good Food, Responsibly”, sums it up. I was really impressed to hear about all of the work they do with their “Helping Hungry Homes” initiative.
So let’s get back to the food for a minute.
Here are some tasty ideas for pork pairings learned from the Smithfield guys. I was in ham biscuit heaven the whole time I was there, and that is just about my favorite thing on the planet. The highlight for me was country ham on a Sweet Potato biscuit! I just about died and went to heaven!! This was a day that I said oh to hell with it, and gorged myself on carbs (and pork of course) all day long. I even had second helpings of the apple crisp served at our pig pickin!
So, here are some fun ideas for serving pork at your next gathering!:
- Candied Bacon
- BBQ Rubbed Pork Cracklins drizzled in Honey!!!
- Ham and Lobster Eggs Benedict (brunch menu)
- Country Ham in a Sweet Potato Biscuit
- Pork Lollipops
I hope this gives you some ideas on ways to think about the upcoming entertaining season of the Holidays! I know I am always looking for inspiration. I am thinking ham biscuits made with Charles Henry Grey ham, the best ham I have ever had with a brown sugar glaze, would be perfect for a casual Christmas party or possibly for Christmas morning or Thanksgiving day. AND Bacon jam is a great gift for the hostess or to give to neighbors for the holidays. Stay tuned for my gift guide, coming soon!