Smoke and fire

Jonno Clench
Jonno Clench. Photo: supplied
Since early times, mankind has been drawn to the primal flavours of meat and smoke. Hanging the spoils of the hunt over an open fire to keep predators away was a common practice.

It had a couple of other important side-effects as well: the meat was slowly infused with fragrant smoke, creating distinctive flavour profiles, and it helped to preserve the meat.

For many, bacon is the ultimate smoked food, with its sensory balance of sweet, salty and smoky flavours.

In the past couple of years there has been a resurgence in the craft of smoking, with some interesting results.

In light of this, today's 101 by Jonno Clench shows you how to make a smoky bacon jam - a contemporary twist on an old favourite.

Since early times, mankind has been drawn to the primal flavours of meat and smoke. Hanging the spoils of the hunt over an open fire to keep predators away was a common practice.

It had a couple of other important side-effects as well: the meat was slowly infused with fragrant smoke, creating distinctive flavour profiles, and it helped to preserve the meat.

For many, bacon is the ultimate smoked food, with its sensory balance of sweet, salty and smoky flavours.

In the past couple of years there has been a resurgence in the craft of smoking, with some interesting results.

In light of this, today's 101 by Jonno Clench shows you how to make a smoky bacon jam - a contemporary twist on an old favourite.

Smoky bacon jam on crostini. Photo: Jonno Clench
Smoky bacon jam on crostini. Photo: Jonno Clench
Smoky bacon jam

Ingredients
500g smoky streaky bacon
3 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
200g dried apricots
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup water

Method
 

Photos: Jonno Clench
Photos: Jonno Clench
Preheat oven to 200degC. Line a baking sheet with foil and top it with an oven rack, Lay bacon strips in a single layer on the rack, and place the baking sheet in the oven.

Cook for 20-30 minutes until the bacon is crispy.

When the bacon is cooked, transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. 

Pat the bacon dry with a paper towel to remove the bacon fat. Reserve the bacon fat left on the foil and pour into a frying pan.

Slice and chop onions, garlic and dried apricots. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Add chopped ingredients and cook until the onions are soft.

While the onions are cooking, chop the bacon and set aside. Once the onions are starting to turn a light golden colour, add salt, light brown sugar, sherry vinegar and cayenne pepper*. Stir to combine.

Add the chopped bacon and stir in ¾ cup of water to the bacon mixture. Cook until the overall colour is a light brown bacon colour and continue for 15 minutes or until a jam consistency is achieved.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly and store in jars. Apply lid once the jam has cooled completely and lid is air tight.

Jam is usable up to 3 weeks if kept in refrigerator.

*A drop of high-quality liquid smoke can also be added at this stage for an extra smoky hit.

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