Bacon Jam and Grits Crackers

Bacon Jam and Grits Crackers recipe from
Saturday morning I told myself: no.

No getting up. No accomplishments. No worrying about schedules. No thinking about to-do lists. No planning, no cooking, no writing, no cell phone, no photography, no email. No. No. No.

It was as wonderful as it sounds. Four hours of watching ridiculous sitcoms in bed, eating junk food in my pajamas, covers up to my neck, happy as can be, flirting with the line of becoming Liz Lemon. Luckily (and Liz would approve), I didn't say no to bacon. Who could? (okay, vegetarians, and jews, and arabs, and hindus. I stand in awe of your strength).

Bacon Jam came into my life unexpectedly via a Serious Eats Newsletter. I love it. I loved it before I tried it.  Imagine the one food that combines all the goodness of bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup, caramelized onions, coffee (or postum) and bourbon (Hi Mother, please remember our bourbon vs. vanilla lesson from when I made maple bacon bourbon ice cream, and add four hours of cooking out. Love you! and Hi to your church ladies too!).You love it already too! Admit it!

The grits crackers came via email as well. George, my new buddy, who is putting together the Salisbury 2011 BBQ Festival occasionally sends me emails, oh say... every three or four hours (Hi, George! No lessons on bourbon for you). He put in a request for grits crackers, and I was all too happy to oblige. Grits remind me of my grandpapa, so any excuse to bring them (and postum!) into my life is always welcome and comforting. Plus these grits crackers have bacon fat and cheddar jack cheese with a little bbq rub and buttermilk. Comfort food: success!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! It may not be possible, but you should really try!

Ritzy Grits Crackers
created for the Salisbury 2011 BBQ Festival

1 cup instant grits
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon bbq pork rub
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled bacon grease (or chilled butter)
1/2 cup freshly shredded cheddar jack cheese
2/3 cup low-fat (1.5%) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Rub in the bacon grease until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheddar jack and buttermilk. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Wrap in plastic and let stand for 15 minutes.

Roll out half the dough 1/16 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out rounds of dough and arrange them on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bacon Jam

1 1/2 pounds bacon, sliced
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
3 medium cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons brewed coffee or postum
6 tablespoons bourbon

Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. Turn oven on to 400°F and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, until bacon is golden brown.

Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve one tablespoon of fat, pouring into a skillet, and adding onions, sugar and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and translucent, about five minutes. Add vinegar, maple syrup, coffee or postum, and bourbon. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes.

Transfer mixture and cooked bacon to a six-quart slow-cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid has reduced and thickened slightly and bacon is a deep burnished brown, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then transfer to airtight jars. Store in refrigerator for up to one month.