Back in January, my friend Tina kicked off the new year with a resolution about healthy eating. I kicked it off by infusing bacon into everything. And then waited 4 months to tell you about it – until it was safe to say that most New Year’s resolutions had been long forgotten and you’d be more than happy to sizzle up some bacon with me. For the record, Tina’s been begging for the bacon salt recipe since about 24 hours after she decided to eat healthy in the new year – the bacon lure has a strong grasp on that girl.
If you’ve got a bacon-lover in your life, this is DIY bacon gift box holds the trifecta for their hysteria. Bacon jam. Bacon salt. Bacon candy. All jarred with little DIY labels that you can print below. A just-because “I love you” gift or perhaps a mother’s day gift for your bacon-loving mama? How about a bacon-themed Easter basket? Or maybe you’re throwing a fancy dinner party and want to spread some bacon jam on toast (because toast is the new food craze). Whatever the reason, this post is for all you bacon fiends out there.
What does crispy bacon have in common with Britney Spears? Besides the ‘b’, they both have the same #1 fan: my best friend Tyler. You thought that was going to be the start of a bad joke? No, we don’t joke about bacon in this house; bacon is a very serious matter. I’ve gone over Tyler’s infatuation with bacon, Britney, and pizza before, but I’m not sure I’ve made it clear just how deep his mania runs.
Actually, let me add Cheez-its to that list. Bacon, Britney, pizza, and Cheez-its. He’s a simple guy with transparent likes, and if you ever need to get him a gift to celebrate an occasion or to thank him for cat-sitting or for ushering guests to their seats at your 110ºF outdoor wedding, a matted and framed photoshopped two-toned picture of Britney with the quote Get your own box – Cheez-it inked in white across the front is a safe bet. Also a safe bet is anything involving bacon. Like say…a DIY Bacon gift set including bacon jam, bacon salt, and bacon candy.
Just when I thought I couldn’t top the homemade Britney/Cheez-it “art” piece, this epic bacon box happened. I’m sure you all have a die-hard bacon fanatic in your life (it’s also totally okay if that person is you), so you can imagine the squeal Tyler let out when he opened this bacon box one piece at a time. Bacon candy! Wait, bacon SALT?! OMG HOLDTHEPHONE BACON JAM!?!!
Then he rushed home and put it all on a single pizza. I know – who puts salt on pizza?! Like I said, he’s into pizza – just yesterday he proudly announced that he’s “only eaten 34 pizzas so far this year.” We’ll look past the fact that this averages out to more than one pizza per week. When I asked him how his newest pizza creation tasted, he said he could eat that bacon pizza every day for the rest of his life. Minus the salt – even he agreed salt was not a good idea on pizza. He got a little overzealous with the bacon ingredients.
Bacon salt is exactly what it sounds like. Sizzling oven-crisped bacon ground up in a food processor with some good-quality sea salt. Adding salt to your green beans? How about bacon salt instead. Tossing in a bit of salt with your mac and cheese? Definitely go with bacon salt.
We’ve done candied bacon before – chopped up like sprinkles on top of chocolate ganache cupcakes – but this time we’re jarring it and serving it as a delectable sweet and salty candy all on its own. I challenge you not to eat the whole jar while prepping the bacon jam. What’s the key to keeping this sugary bacon candy from turning soggy with grease? Lay the strips across a wire rack fitted over a pan and oven-roast them with spoonfuls of brown sugar on top until crispy. So simple that I cooked all the bacon for the salt and candy recipes all at once without any fuss or grease splatter on my new silk shirt.
Now bacon jam is where things get weird. Weird in a “what the heck am I eating? Is this sweet or savory? Do I like this? I think I’m kinda in love and want to marry it” kind of way. To state the obvious, to like this bacon jam, you’ve got to be really into bacon. There’s a hint of sweet maple syrup, a tang from onion, and a deep layer of roasted coffee, all mixed up with crispy bacon pieces. A little dollop goes a long way. I reserved a bit of the extra jam and ate it on top of gluten-free baguette slices with a julienned sun-dried tomato and some sprinkles of ricotta salata or goat cheese. Alternatively, you can spread some on your next burger or turn it into a fancy BLT. All bacon, all the time.
DIY Printable Labels: If you’re planning to make these as a gift, you can download the printable labels I used on my jars here. I’ve included the lid labels and two different shapes for the front labels to choose from because each jar brand has different smooth label areas. I printed mine on brown kraft paper half sheet label paper I had leftover from our DIY wedding and then just cut them out before peeling the backs off. I then wrapped a little green baker’s twine around the lid to add some flare.
- ¾ pounds sliced bacon
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Scant ½ cup brewed coffee
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean-up) and rest a wire rack on top. Lay the bacon on top of the wire rack, making sure none of the pieces overlap. Bake until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Coarsely chop the bacon and set aside.
- Spoon one tablespoon of bacon grease from the baking sheet into a medium cast-iron skillet or pan and heat over medium heat.
- Add the chopped and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any crispy browned bits from the pan.
- Transfer to a slow cooker with the chopped bacon. Cook on low, covered for 6-8 hours, or until liquid is syrupy.
- Transfer the cooked jam to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop it up a bit. Transfer to prepared jam jars and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon
- ¼ cup sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean-up) and rest a wire rack on top. Lay the bacon on top of the wire rack, making sure none of the pieces overlap. Bake until extra crispy, about 20-25 minutes.
- Transfer the crispy bacon and sea salt to a food processor or blender and pulse until the bacon is finely chopped and evenly distributed throughout the salt.
- Transfer the bacon salt to a 4-ounce jam jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon
- About a cup of brown sugar (dark or light will work just fine)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean-up) and rest a wire rack on top.
- Spread the brown sugar out on a plate and press each strip of bacon into the sugar to thoroughly coat each side.
- Place each sugared strip of bacon on the wire rack, making sure they aren’t touching one another. Sprinkle any remaining brown sugar on top of the bacon slices on the rack.
- Bake until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Coarsely chop and transfer to a 4-ounce jam jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month...but let's get real for a second, you're going to eat this in one sitting.