Dean Sample’s Bacon Jam Recipe

prepared bacon jam recipe from Dean Sample of Big Bear BiscuitsChef Dean Sample has worked in some of Indy’s top fine-dining kitchens, including Oakleys Bistro, Meridian Restaurant & Bar, and Northside Social. That wasn’t always the plan, though. “When I went to culinary school, I wanted to open up a country kind of restaurant that served the food I grew up eating,” says Sample, who hails from the small Morgan County town of Paragon. “My grandma taught me how to make a lot of things,” he says. “It’s kind of funny. Growing up, I was interested in eating and not necessarily in cooking. But as a family, we always sat in the kitchen, so I watched everything she did.”

On Sundays, they ate biscuits and gravy, which was Sample’s inspiration for Big Bear Biscuits (3905 E. 96th St.), his come-as-you-are breakfast and lunch spot set to open this summer. Big Bear’s main attraction, biscuits as flaky and fluffy as the ones Sample ate in his grandma’s kitchen, will be served in classic B&G form, of course, but also stuffed with the likes of spicy Asian chicken or short rib with kimchi and Korean barbecue sauce. To create your own biscuit masterpiece, slather on a layer of this sweet and savory bacon jam that works both as a condiment or, applied generously, on its own.

Bacon Jam


  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Dice all bacon and render until brown and crispy.
  2. Add onions and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic and remaining ingredients except for cornstarch and water.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Make a slurry of cornstarch and water and add to mixture.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Blend until smooth.