Bacon has been around for a long time. In fact, the earliest recorded examples of the cut date back to 1,500 B.C. The fatty back or belly of pork was popular with the Greeks and Roman, the latter who cooked it with figs and flavored with pepper.
Breakfast meat history
What we know as bacon today is not precisely what has been traditionally known as bacon or bacoun. In much of Europe, the word bacon was used as a synonym for all pork. The word bacon and its earlier form bacoun were derived from French, German, and Teutonic versions for “back.”
The form of salt-cured and sliced bacon we know in America today is much different from its earlier forms and is known as “streaky” bacon in the United Kingdom.
Bacon became a common dish in England starting in the 17th century. According to the Oxford Companion of Food, bacon, especially smoked bacon and extra-fatty bacon was a staple for almost everyone except the very poor across the British Isles. In fact, many families would keep their bacon in a prominent place in the home as a point of pride. For centuries, Bacon grease was a common cooking fat, which remained true until the mid-twentieth century when bacon fat was replaced by olive oil, vegetable oil, and other fats not derived from meat.
Today, Wiltshire in England remains one of the world’s bacon-producing centers; Wiltshire has been the center of the bacon universe since John Harris set up the first large-scale bacon curing business there in the 1770s.
The modern, American version of bacon was an innovation of butcher and manufacturing. At the turn twentieth century, the meat industry moved away from salt-curing and smoking bacon, and found it more affordable to sugar-brine pork belly at a large scale. Before 1915, bacon was still sold as a solid hunk of meat — usually four pounds — and people cut bacon into smaller pieces in the home.
Until the 1960s, bacon maintained its reputation as being a “country” cut of pork, a holdover from its English peasant popularity. As wet-cured, pre-sliced bacon became easier to package, it appeared more readily in stores and — due to its sweet and salty flavor — found its ways to the breakfast plates of many Americans as the perfect companion to fried eggs.
You can even make homemade bacon jam these days
These days, you can find bacon beyond the morning breakfast table as the cut of pork has spiked in popularity over the past two decades.
There is dark brown sugar candied bacon, maple bacon, applewood smoked bacon, turkey bacon, and even, shockingly, meatless veggie bacon.
These days, you can find bacon cheeseburgers almost anywhere someone is making burgers, and it is especially useful — to add some fatty flavor — to lead cuts of beef like filet mignon. Bacon appears everywhere from donuts to ice cream to cocktails — in the form of sweet bacon candy — and can even be made into a form of bacon jam.
Our Head ButcherBox Chef, Yankel Polak, has devised an ingenious bacon jam recipe that he thinks is best used when added to a cheeseburger. It could also be added to grilled cheese or mixed in with roasted and mashed potatoes, pasta, or scrambled eggs.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Without further ado, here is Chef Yankel’s famous burger recipe featuring his own unique homemade bacon jam recipe featuring maple syrup, brown sugar, coffee, and Guinness.
Chef Yankel’s “Epic Burger With 15 Ingredient Homemade Bacon Jam”
Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 4 ButcherBox Burgers or ButcherBox Ground Beef molded into 6oz burger patties
- Bacon Jam
- 1 pack (10 oz) ButcherBox Bacon, roughly chopped
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ c bourbon
- 3 Tbsp cold brew coffee
- 3 Tbsp Guinness
- 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ c maple syrup
- ¼ c ketchup
- Onion Rings
- 1 red onion, sliced and separated
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp chipotle powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 c cornstarch
- 2 c peanut oil
- Truffle Mayo
- ½ c mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp truffle puree (or truffle oil)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 4 thick slices sharp yellow cheddar
- 4 leaves butter lettuce
- 4 large tomato slices
- 4 sesame hamburger buns
- Place bacon in a cold Dutch oven on medium heat (starting cold renders the fat better). Cook bacon until crispy, then drain half the bacon fat. Keep the other half in the pan.
- Add onions to bacon and sauté. Once onions are translucent, add nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic cloves, and brown sugar. Stir until sugar has melted.
- Add bourbon, coffee, Guinness, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. Simmer on medium heat until liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature for 5 min. Place mixture in food processor, add ketchup and pulse to a chunky jammy texture. Refrigerate for up to 30 days or freeze up to 6 months.
- Soak red onion slices in buttermilk for 30 min.
- Preheat peanut oil to 350°F.
- Mix cornstarch, kosher salt, smoked paprika, chipotle powder and garlic powder.
- Coat onion slices evenly with the spice mix and fry gently for 2 min or until golden brown. Let rest on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Mix mayo, truffle puree and salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
- Bring burgers to room temperature and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large skillet (preferably cast-iron skillet) and add 2 Tbsp ghee. Once the ghee is hot, sear burgers for 3 min on one side. Flip burgers, place cheddar on the burger and sear the other side for three more min or until desired doneness.
- Spread truffle mayo liberally on both sides of the bun. Place lettuce leaf down first (to protect the bun from burger juices), followed by tomato.
- Place burger on top of tomato followed by a healthy dollop of bacon jam. Top with onion rings and close that baby up! Be sure to let us know how it went!