Bacon Jam – Cedar Crest, New Mexico

My Friend Bruce “Sr Plata” Silver Stands in Front of Bacon Jam, a Celebration of Decadence, on Candelaria

I think we love bacon because it has all the qualities of an amazing sensory experience.
When we cook it, the sizzling sound is so appetizing, the aroma is maddening,
the crunch of the texture is so gratifying and the taste delivers every time.”
~Alex Guarnaschelli

NOTE: On July 31, 2020, the original Bacon Jam in Albuquerque closed its doors, but the Bacon Jam in Cedar Crest remains open.  While this review is based on visits to the Albuquerque location, I’m confident the Cedar Crest location will serve the same high quality food with the outstanding service we experienced every visit.

With all due respect to the Iron Chef, we love bacon because we’re genetically disposed to love bacon!  It’s in our DNA.  We’re hard-wired to love bacon!  In much the same way the brain releases endorphins when we enjoy intensely piquant New Mexico raised chile, bacon’s savory flavor elicits a highly addictive response on our neurochemicals.  In a 2009 article, journalist-editor Arun Gupta of The Indypendent newspaper in New York, revealed that while bacon has eighteen ingredients, six of them are a type of umami, a Japanese term loosely translated to “deliciousness.”  Foods with umami have a meaty, savory quality which renders them highly addictive.

At the risk of political incorrectness, we also love bacon because we got tired of being told how unhealthy it is.  All those incessant harangues about bacon’s 60-percent fat content drove the rebels among us to scarf down rashers of bacon, a protest of sorts.  Thanks to the anti-fat diet craze of the 1980s, bacon was priced ridiculously low.  That backlash response coincided with the advent of the Adkins diet frenzy and diners becoming increasingly weary of the flavorless, fat-free, calorically-deprived fake bacon shoved down our throats.  Enterprising restaurateurs caught wind of the increasing demand and haven’t looked back.

A True Bacon Jam

Those of us who can’t envision starting a day without bacon have our own version of the popular Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon  game sans the “Kevin” part.  In that version, the “bacon number” of an actor or actress is derived by the number of degrees of separation they have from actor Kevin Bacon.  Yawn!  In the Kevin-less version practiced by bacon aficionados, we attempt to find a food that wouldn’t be greatly improved by the simple addition of bacon.  Burgers?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Adding bacon to burgers is one of the greatest culinary inventions of the 20th century.  Hot dogs?  Ditto!  Pizza?  Ever heard of Canadian bacon, a staple on many great pies?  Tacos?  Yep, bacon elevates the most pedestrian of tacos.  Macaroni and cheese?  Bacon should be mandatory!  Pancakes?  Bacon is a natural foil for the oft-cloying syrup!  Hmm, maybe there’s nothing bacon can’t improve.

Some of you trying your hand at six degrees of bacon may have concluded I bet fudge wouldn’t be very good with a little bacon.  You would be wrong.  Noted gourmand and everyman philosopher Homer Simpson once noted “Mmmmm!  Move over, eggs.  Bacon just got a new best friend – fudge.”  You can’t argue with such an unimpeachable source.  The great folks who launched Bacon Jam in March, 2019 certainly wouldn’t.  Their all-day breakfast and lunch diner doesn’t yet have a dish that pairs bacon with fudge, but it’s probably just a matter of time.

Chicken Fried Steak with Bacon Gravy

True to its name, Bacon Jam is a celebration of bacon-infused decadence, offering bacon in forms that might lead vegetarians and vegans into temptation.  Bacon Jam thumbs its nose at all those health food obsessed one-percenters that would tell the rest of us we can’t enjoy the foods we love best.  You’ll do a double-, maybe triple-take at some of the bacon blessed, calorically-endowed decadence on the menu.  If you love bacon for breakfast, you’ll be thrilled to find bacon batter pancakes, maple bacon fried French toast, bacon and waffles, bacon omelets, biscuits and eggs and a fatty phalanx of bacon-bearing bounty.

The lunch menu is just as decadent, starting with an appetizer called “The Defibrillator,” two pieces of bacon rolled in a bacon batter and deep-fried.  If that’s not enough bacon for you, ask for bacon jam gravy on the side.  Other bacon dishes on the lunch menu include a Double BLT, triple cheese and bacon grilled cheese and a bacon chili (SIC) cheeseburger.  For those of you less inclined to have fun, Bacon Jam offers a “build your own salad” option that starts with a bed of lettuce, tomato and onion and a wealth of optional toppings such as bacon, ham, pastrami, roast beef and several cheeses.

Chicken Fried Steak with Red and Green Chile

5 April 2019: It probably won’t surprise you to learn that what brought my friend Bruce “Sr Plata” Silver and I to Bacon Jam is a chicken fried steak plate called “The Widow Maker.” For a pauper’s price of a buck south of ten dollars, the Widow maker includes a chicken fried steak, two eggs prepared any way you want them, papas and two silver dollar pancakes.  If you’re wondering where the bacon is, it’s on the gravy, a rich pepper gravy with lots of bacon crumbles on top.  This dish is not for the faint of heart–literally.  The hefty chicken fried steak is tender, well-seasoned and delicious, elevated to sheer pleasurable decadence by gravy which should come with an angioplasty on the side.

5 April 2019: It takes a very strong, very resolute, iron-clad man to resist the lure of bacon.  I know of only one person with convictions that implacable–Sr. Plata.  Of course, it helps that he’s able to enjoy his beloved chicken fried steak with red and green chile.  Even without the magical properties of bacon, both the red and green chile are terrific, imbued with the qualities all New Mexicans value: great flavor and a nice piquancy.  The green chile, in particular, bites back.  Sr. Plata loves pancakes nearly as much as he loves chicken fried steak.  It almost pained us that the silver dollar pancakes weren’t full-sized, but neither of us really wants to make widows of our brides.

Silver Dollar Pancakes

15 October 2019:  Actor Matthew McConaughey may have had some memorable lines in the many movies in which he’s starred, but the quote which resonates best with many of us casual movie fans is “Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.”  He shouldn’t have stopped there.  The person who invented the bacon cheeseburger was surely a Renaissance man (or woman) at the level of Elon Musk, Leonardo DaVinci or Steve Jobs…and the person who invented the bacon green chile cheeseburger must have been divinely inspired. 

It didn’t take much effort by the lovely Taylor to convince me to add bacon to my green chile cheeseburger (one-third pound. ground beef patty, onion, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and green chile).  She also convinced me (without much effort) to choose onion scoops instead of fries or garden salad with the burger.  Onion scoops (bite-sized petals of sweet onion covered in a light batter) may not be as big as onion rings, but they seem to have more sweet fried onion flavor than their circular counterparts.  They’re also served with a pleasantly piquant jalapeño ranch dressing, though rather than scoop up the dressing, you’ll probably dip the scoops into it.  Three strips of bacon infuse the burger with a smoky, salty, sweet, mellifluous concert in your mouth.  It’s a perfect foil for an autumn blend combination of roasted red (sweet and fruity) and green chile.  Though the burger has a nice char, inside it was prepared to my exacting degree of doneness: medium-rare.  Mustard, ketchup and mayo were certainly not needed.  This is a terrific burger…and those onion scoops are a revelation.

Green Chile Cheeseburger With Onion Scoops

13 June 2020: On March 8, 2003 in celebration of its one-hundred year anniversary, the city of Mexicali, Mexico made a grilled steak taco that weighed 1,654 pounds and was more than 35 feet long and 33.8 inches wide.  The flour tortilla-based taco was constructed with 1,182.5 pounds of grilled steak, 186 pounds of dough, 179 pounds of onion and 106.3 pounds of coriander. Eight grills were used to cook the meat and a staff of approximately 80 people were involved in the entire process which lasted about six hours. It goes without saying that this behemoth is the title-holder of world’s largest flour taco according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 

As is oft said, size is relative.  So, you’ll forgive me if I’m still impressed by Bacon Jam’s giant taco (foot-long taco shell filled with crispy fries, smothered with red or green chile, Cheddar cheese, house made chicken tenders, topped with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno ranch, bacon crumble and a side of green salsa). It’s not every day you find a taco this large.  It’s easily the size of a half-dozen standard tacos or a baker’s dozen mini tacos.  The taco shell is made from a deep-fried flour tortilla, but there’s no way you can pick this taco up as you would a conventional taco.  The shell would crumble and an avalanche of ingredients would spill out.  As such, you’ll find yourself eating it as you would a taco salad.  There’s a lot to like about this taco, our favorite elements actually being the crispy fries, jalapeno ranch and bacon crumble.  Not many of us can finish this taco, but you’ll enjoy trying.

Giant Taco

13 June 2020: After consuming Mexicali’s titanic taco, you’d probably want dessert.  What could possibly have been more fitting than the Guinness Worlds Record largest cinnamon roll?  This massive galaxy-shaped circular coil comes from Wolferman’s Bakery in Kansas City and weighs in a whopping 1,149.7 pounds (more than an adult moose) and was constructed from 697 pounds of flour, 378 pounds of cinnamon sugar filling and 55 pounds of butter. 

In comparison, the cinnamon roll at Bacon Jam is tiny (again, size is relative).  Variations of America’s favorite breakfast pastry served at other restaurants often include several nuts, raisins, streusel, and even fruit.   You can have all those additives.  We’ll take bacon crumbles, a pile of them at the very center of the cinnamon roll.  That’s how Bacon Jam does it.  Chocolate is drizzled atop the sweet, decadent icing for a doubly calorific treat.  Trust me, you’ll appreciate the bacon, a perfect foil for the sweet, buttery roll.

Cinnamon Roll

 Bacon Jam is located in the space which previously housed Mick’s Chile Fix.  It’s everything you look for in an independent mom-and-pop restaurant (unless you’re into more healthy dietary pursuits).  The proprietors are friendly, accommodating and eager to please.  For denizens of the east side of the Sandias, a second location of Bacon Jam is now open in Edgewood (150 Highway 34–the Southeast corner of 344 and Dinkle Road).

Bacon Jam
150 Highway 344
Cedar Crest, New Mexico
(505) 492-2886
Website | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 13 June 2020
1st VISIT: 5 April 2019
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 21
COST: $$
BEST BET: The Widow Maker (Chicken Fried Steak, Two Eggs, Papas and Two Silver Dollar Pancakes), Green Chile Cheeseburger, Onion Scoops, Giant Taco, Cinnamon Roll
REVIEW #1105

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, more than 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,200 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

View all posts by Gil Garduno →

19 Comments on “Bacon Jam – Cedar Crest, New Mexico”

  1. Alas…7/27/20 Journal has a blurb: BJ announced 6/16 it would be closing its ABQ location 7/31… (but NOT the Edgewood one) “We have tried very hard to keep this location alive but we are unable to do so with this new shutdown.” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post.””

  2. The only thing that could get Sr. Plata to discard his mask and release himself from shelter-in-place is a plate of chicken fried steak with bacon gravy. That dish alone ought to give Sr. Plata enough antibodies to counteract the most virulent intrusion to his body.

    Gil, you say this place is a celebration of decadence. Indeed. The Decadence Movement is a 19th century rejection of Naturalism. This is about excess as an antibody to the inevitability of death and boredom. Some people say we should give up meat, fat, alcohol, and all matter of things fun and pleasing. I reply, ‘What, are you doing, inching yourself to death?’

  3. Good morning, Gil!
    In October, you wrote a very nice review of our diner, Bacon Jam Diner which is posted on your website. Thank you!

    Since that time, a couple of things have changed:

    At the bottom of the article you list the Candeleria location and a link to its associated web address. The web address has changed and is now http://www.baconjamdiner.com.

    Also, we now have a second location in Edgewood, NM. (the address and telephone numbers can be found on the above mentioned web site).

    Since your article shows up on the first page when Googled, we were wondering if the above changes could be made to the page to incorporate them.

    Thank you in advance,

    Jim Jewell

    P.S. Note: I am the webmaster of the new web site and am requesting the changes at the request of the owners. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you, Jim. I’ve made the changes you requested.

      As webmaster, I hope you’re able to introduce smell-o-vision technology so that when we launch your website we’re treated to the wondrous aromas of bacon frying at the restaurant.

  4. Dang it, Gil!
    My new office is right down the street near Carlisle and Candelaria.
    I’ve eaten at Bacon Jam probably 10 times and I’m sorry I missed you and Sr. Palabras.
    You know, I’ve heard many times that this website needs more pictures of Sr. Platanos and myself. Just playing Devil’s Advocate.

    1. Ryan,
      We should get a FOGer’s Christmas collage of you, Sr Platanos, Sr Pablamos, others and myself this year. Think it would be a treat for all…

      1. A collage of photos with Sr. Planta and the Break the Glass dude is a great idea, but not for Christmas. Halloween sounds more appropriate espcially if Ryan Scott sings. Where are the photos of the Dazzling chick or Sarita?

        1. Thank you, Diego. Just for you I might commission a Friends of Gil calendar reminiscent of the beefcake calendars some fire departments put out. Sr. Plata will be Mr. January and Ryan will be Mr. March, two of the longer months so you can gaze at their physiques for 31 days.

  5. As I’m someone who thinks a serving size of bacon is “however much there is”, my Jim said we needed to try this place. Gravy is another thing I’m finicky about and they do an excellent one and bacon gravy was a new and pleasant delight. I had to ask what an onion scoop was and thought it best to pass on yet more not-so-healthy deliciousness. Jim likes chicken-fried steak almost as much as Sr. Plata and was quite happy with their version. I was intrigued by the idea of battered (not breaded) fish and chips for $7 and gave it a shot. They don’t mention that the batter has chile in it and I can’t do chile but normal New Mexicans will be happy. The fries are lightly battered but not with chile and are quite tasty. We overheard another diner mentioning your review to our server and we went for a chat and exchanged recommendations. We’ll definitely be back to work our way through the menu.

  6. I have known several people who followed the “Adkins” diet (usually referred to as the Atkins Diet) & have attended most of their funerals & (as I had been accidentally following it for years) very nearly my own. I love bacon BUT for several reasons (staying alive being the principal one) seldom eat any-about one delicious slice a month.

  7. I’m amazed by the verbiage and creativity of the talented blog writer, Gil Garduno. His view of “Bacon Jam” is witty and positive even while pointing out some small things that need to be improved. I can’t wait to try it. Paragraphs One andThree thru Nine are Informative, witty and positive. Positive being the most important tool for pointing out, in this case, the truth for foodies. I was confused by Paragraph TWO, and was wondering if it had been included as a foil to the rest of his writing and I simply missed the point of its inclusion in an otherwise enjoyable piece or maybe it is beyond my ability to appreciate the fact that there is always got to be someone or something to hate and make fun of, or then again, maybe I’m just a humorless being unable to appreciate the fine texture of bitterness and gall.

    1. First, thank you very much for the kind words about my creativity and general positivity.

      Consider paragraph two a failed attempt at a type of humor known as “benign violation,” essentially violating a social norm in a non-threatening way to elicit laughter and amusement. Don Rickles’ entire career was based on this premise. Had Rickles delivered punchlines using such terms as “nutrition Nazis” and “health food nuts” he would probably have brought the house down. I should have remembered that I’m not Don RIckles (not by a longshot). While friends may have recognized my wry attempts at humor, other readers may have seen only a violation of a social norm. It was poor reader analysis on my part. My apologies to everyone who found that paragraph offensive or who expected better of me.

  8. Alas, for those who don’t already have it on their calendar, Dec. 30th is National Bacon Day!
    – Alas, If you mean by crunches, the sound Bacon makes when you eat it…YES! I do crunches! For more bacon humor, click http://tinyurl.com/y27ph63l and then on the pics.
    – Love Six Degrees of Bacon (aka Separation) http://tinyurl.com/y4krhmda ! In today’s world of Tweeting and Emailing and etc. this becomes so instantaneous.
    – And lastly, and not elucidated, check out: http://tinyurl.com/yyy77tv5 !!! OMG! (I didn’t know that!)

    1. Whoa…youz Guyz are keeping all sorts of things hidden from us! For 7ish bucks, one can get a jar of the stuff through WallyMart. Looks like ya can even get a jar of the Bacon Jam…are ya ready for this?…. Sweet Chili(sic) “in store”, e.g. the Cottonwood Mall store http://tinyurl.com/yynarrcd …but check your FAV. (No, I haven’t tried it yet.)
      Like women…so many good things in Life to explore, so little time!

  9. Gil is our roving gourmand, a fire lookout scanning the restaurant-scape for a breakout of the next great lunch spot for us. It appears he’s found yet another one: Bacon Jam: a pork ashram.

    Speaking of porcine spirituality, eating bacon is the first spiritual ritual, an act that transmits life energy from one animal to another. So it follows the bacon faith must not just survive but prevail over the diet culture, the “nutrition Nazis,” as our roving gourmand puts it. It’s like these bliss-ninnies think dropping bacon from their diet will gain them immortality. Eating toward immortality is their goal. But is living to eighty-eighty instead of eighty-five a reason to skip bacon?

    I think not. So I for one am looking forward to a big breakfast of Chicken Fried Steak with Bacon Gravy at Bacon Jam real soon. After all, good bacon is a benign weapon against the sodden way we live. Avoid it at your own peril.

  10. Joined Sensei on this trip to Candelaria and being the Sephardic I am, I chose no bacon (sorry you pork lovers out there). But, we met one of the owners, and he said it would have been very easy to make me white gravy without the Bacon. Oh well, next time. The food was quite good and at an extremely reasonable price, a taste of a true diner. The chile had a bite to it, so if I was to have chicken fried steak without the gravy, the chile makes it a 2nd best. It was funny, our server looked at my CFS and said it looked empty without something covering it (ok, there goes an LOL even though I don’t like doing LOLs). The 2 baby pancakes were quite cute. As Sensei said, having larger ones would have been awesome, but it did give us a chance to try as much as possible at the same low price. The papas were so-so. Making them roasted with caramelized onions would give them some much needed pizazz. And sorry to say, some of our food was not as hot as other food was. I think they are still trying to get their process perfected as Bacon Jam has only been open for 8 weeks or so. They want to open a diner on the West Side which I hope they do (Breakfast/Lunch) close to the Corrales/Rio Rancho area, if anyone has ideas where they could go, please comment in this blog. And, I want bloggers to come try this diner as my palette is limited to the non-pork dishes. Oh, if new cousin Jessie from Washington reads this, please check out if Gil has been to any restaurants you may have gone to (see his U.S.A. Restaurant Index) and let us know your M.O …. Sr Plata out.

    1. I can think of a few places they could go. Namaste’s old location? That spot where Delish used to be? Also, there’s that shopping center on Alameda that sprang up next to the Giant gas station. It’s got a mattress store, a nail salon (A prerequisite of a shopping center, it seems), among other things. But at one end, the one closest to the Giant, there’s an empty spot that looks like it’s meant to be an eatery. Even has potential patio space where The Dude could hang out. Those are just spots I can think of offhand. I’m sure others can think of places I hadn’t even thought of.

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