8 of America's Best Jams

Is this your jam? Or is this your jam?

Smokin Padrón Jam // Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. // Santa Cruz, CA

Capture the sultry, smoky heat of late-summer grill outs with a jam that goes where others don’t. Friend in Cheeses was founded to bring sweet spreads out of the candy aisle (all that sugar!) and into a place of pantry prominence, and their Smokin’ Padrón is indeed as versatile as any condiment, with just the right mix of heat and sweet, and a wisp of earthy smoke. PB+J? Sure. Charcuterie? Of course. And cheese? Well — naturally. A friend to all, it’ll be the secret sauce of any grill-worthy sandwich, keeping your party grooving and guests guessing at the miraculous mix of flavors. Whether you spread the gospel is up to you.

Pictured Above: Schnitzel Sandwich With Smokin Padrón Jam Recipe Here

Drunken Monkey Jam // The Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY

If a sun baked, Tommy Bahamas clad Dad was holding a scone instead of umbrella accented Mai-Tai, this jam would be on that scone. The talented ladies responsible for Brooklyn’s Jam Stand add a nosh of cane rum to a cleverly concocted base of banana and fresh lime juice. Use to top off your cakes or swap out for Grape Jelly in a PB & J.

Smoked Onion Jam // Blackberry Farm // Walland, TN

A match-made-in-heaven blend of two southern-grown heirlooms: sweet-as-an-apple Georgia vidalia onions and sesame-like benne seeds, an African grass brought over by antebellum slaves and more or less forgotten until now. Add to that another Dixie staple — barbecue smoke — and you get this perfectly tart, savory spread.

Country Ham with Smoked Onion Red Eye Gravy Recipe Here

3. Anarchy In A Jar // Spiced Beer Jelly // Brooklyn, NY

Two things Brooklyn is really good at right now: beer and canning. Laena McCarthy packs both under one lid starting with Sixpoint Craft Ale and local apples from Terhune Orchards in Jersey, finishing things off by infusing the mix with exotic spices like grains of paradise and black cardamom. Revel in this smearable beer by swiping some on a Beer Flat with a hunk of aged cheddar or enjoy the only PB & Jelly sandwich that mom wouldn’t have snuck in your school lunch box.

Bacon, Beer Jelly & Brie Sandwich 

Bourbon Blueberry Jam // Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY

Two gal pals, one humble, hard-working apartment stove, and a crate-load of mason jars turned to this: Brooklyn’s best and booziest jam-maker. Savory salt might warm the bones — a fried egg sandwich, say, on rich country toast — but something sweet will raise the spirits. Top your morning bun with a spoon or two of Jam Stand’s blueberry, the perfect blend of spritzy sweet fruit, mellow vanilla, and the spicy splinter kick of — you guessed it — bourbon.

Borsellino & Fried Egg Sandwich Recipe Here

Bacon Spread // TBJ Gourmet // Philadelphia, PA

Leave it to this Philly-based team of food scientists, chefs, and engineers to crack one of life’s eternal quests: spreadable bacon. OK, we admit, this is one of those food “inventions” that, well, gilds the lily. Or rather, butters the pork. A fatty strip of crispy pig is pretty damn close to perfection. Still, this spread moves it one step closer. It’s simple: bacon — a half pound in each jar — sugar, onions and vinegar. And it’s best used simply, spread on a burger or the morning’s toast.

Bacon Jam Burger Recipe Here

Berry Pasilla Jam // Primo Specialty Foods // Denver, CO

Peanut butter and jelly: the ultimate stuck-at-home quick snack. Why mess with something so simple? Indeed, we wondered as much, until we tried Primo’s jam. Sweet-tart rasp- and blackberries brighten the wintry dark; the soothing, slightly smoky burn of pasilla peppers warms the heart. A jam no sandwich can contain — let it shine, unadorned, beside a sharp sheep’s milk cheese.

Grilled Honey Chipotle PB & J Recipe Here

Bacon Spread // Skillet Street Food // Seattle, WA

Bring home the best of Seattle chef Josh Henderson’s Airstream lunch cart. This scrumptious spread produced epic sandwiches, blocks-long lines, and turned a little truck into an empire — now it’ll revolutionize your mid-morning snack. Spreadable bacon? Goes with anything, naturally. But our favorite use is as the smoky-sweet bedrock to a smashed avocado on toast. Just make sure to pop the jar in the microwave for a few seconds before assembly, to make for easier spreading.

Smashed Avocado Bacon Toast Recipe Here

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