Monk Bacon and Habanero Fig Jam Recipe

Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

Thirsty Monk operates a 12-barrel brewery in Denver’s Uptown, along “Restaurant Row,” which serves as a production brewery for their locations from coast to coast. Thirsty Monk’s head brewer Brian Grace is based in Denver and brews up their core, seasonal, specialty, and side-project beers here. You can join Grace and the Thirsty Monk crew at their intimate and comfortable taproom at 1604 E. 17th Ave., where you find them serving fresh-from-the-tank pours of Belgian-rooted modern ales, along with expertly paired food flights. Try a few of their recipes at home.


Habanero Fig Jam

  • 5 lbs dried black mission figs (stems removed)

  • 4 habanero peppers (seeded and chopped) 

  • 1 ½ cups yellow onion (chopped)

  • 48 oz stout beer (Thirsty Monk Brother Noah Belgian stout) 

  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar 

  • 1 ½ cups molasses

  • ½ cup lime juice 

  • 1 ½ tbsp salt

Monk Bacon

2 ½ lbs center cut applewood smoked bacon

1 ½ cups sugar 

1 ½ tbsp kosher salt 


Habanero Fig Jam

Sweat the onions and habaneros in a medium sauce pan. Add in the figs and caramelize. Deglaze (dilute and lift pan mixture) with apple cider vinegar. Then add in the molasses and beer. Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid is reduced by roughly a third and the mixture has slightly thickened. Place in a food processor and blend the mix slightly,  retaining some of the texture from the figs. Season as needed with lime juice and salt. 

Monk Bacon 

Mix the salt and sugar together and place in a shallow pan. Press each slice of bacon into the mixture on both sides, being sure to coat evenly. Then place the bacon on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake the coated bacon at 350 degrees until fully cooked. The bacon should have a deep brown color and all the fat should be rendered so the bacon can be fully crisp once cooled. When the bacon is removed from the oven, immediately place each slice on a glazing rack so that the bacon can cool without sticking to the paper and any remaining fat can drip off. Let the bacon cool completely and then store at room temperature in a sealed container.  


Pair with

Thirsty Monk Trail Monk IPA

Balanced, flavorful, with a beautiful hazy, burnt orange hue, this Belgian IPA is brewed with the addition of maple syrup, red wheat and roasted chestnuts, and dry hopped with cascade, centennial and East Kent golding hops. Trail Monk honors a favorite season ... the season of falling leaves, cool mist mornings, and fall-day hikes. Part of the Karma Series, this beer benefits organizations committed to protecting trails and national parks.

Baltimore native John Strauss is revamping Thirsty Monk’s food and beer pairings and will soon launch a menu of burger and beer pairings. Strauss attended the Western Culinary Institute, now the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, in Portland, Ore. He later interned under Chef Michael Mina in San Francisco. Strauss served as executive chef for seven years at Hobnob in Brevard, N.C., and also was the chef at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.