A salty, sweet bacon jam spread may be the reason Rok:Brgr captured the fan favorite award May 11 at the Riverwalk Burger Battle, where it sang in a burger with Brie. On the gastropub's menu, you'll find bacon jam in sliders and as a sauce option for the build-your-own burger -- as well as in the award-winning burger.
Owner Marc Falsetto says he was inspired to add bacon jam to Rok:Brgr's offerings after a trip to Chicago, where he saw savory jams and marmalades trending in gastropubs. "Nine out of ten customers have never heard of it before, but after tasting it, they are hooked," says Falsetto.
Executive chef Robbyns Martinez took Falsetto's vision to the stove and developed a recipe including
Maker's Mark bourbon, Nueske's bacon, maple syrup, and espresso. It's slow-cooked in small quantities, two or three times a week. "Too large of a batch and it loses its quality," Falsetto says.
More jams and marmalades are slated for the kitchen's repertoire. A balsamic-red onion marmalade is in the works, says Falsetto. In the meantime, try your hand at jammin' with this recipe.
Rok:Brgr's Maple-Bourbon Bacon Jam
1 pound Nueske's bacon, thick-cut
3 white onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup espresso
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Maple syrup, aged in bourbon casks
¼ cup Maker's Mark bourbon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
In a cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon down on medium to high heat until it's lightly browned and starting to crisp. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions caramelize, about 25 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, espresso, vinegar, maple syrup, bourbon, and spices. Simmer it for three hours, and then let it cool. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Purée in a food processor until desired consistency and jar.