Best Billy Can Beer And Bacon Damper: Australian Favourite

What’s the best damper recipe? It’s a tough question, but one that everyone has an opinion on. In this article we will share with you our favourite damper recipe – Billy can beer and bacon damper! 

This twist on a traditional Australian dish is easy to make and absolutely delicious. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

The bread which can be a meal in itself, eat it warm and so lathered in butter it drips down your hand. We love this tasty beer and bacon twist on the traditional recipe from Taste.

Recipe for Billy Can Beer And Bacon Damper

The damper is a traditional Australian bread that usually includes flour, yeast, salt and water. It’s cooked by being baked in an oven or on a campfire. The beer adds flavour and the bacon gives it a nice salty balance. This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves the taste of beer! This article will teach you how to make a damper with your ingredients and provide recipes for variations that can be made at home using this delicious bread.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 middle bacon rashers, trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon Always Fresh Relish Chilli Jam
  • 450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 280ml beer, at room temperature




1. Grease and line the base only of a 1.5L billy can with baking paper. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 7 minutes or until soft. Stir in bacon for 6 minutes or until golden. Stir in the jam for 2 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Season. Transfer to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine flour, rosemary and salt in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Make a well in the centre. Add beer and remaining oil. Stir to form a soft, sticky dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Roll out dough to a 20 x 35cm rectangle. Spread with onion mixture. Roll up lengthways to form a sausage shape. Holding each end, twist dough to expose some onion mixture. Shape into a coil and place in prepared billy can. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest.

3. Preheat enclosed barbecue on low. Place billy can on tray. Cook with hood down for 40 minutes or until golden and dough sounds hollow when tapped. Stand for 5 minutes. Remove from billy can and serve warm.

Why is it called a Damper?

A damper is bread made from wheat-based dough. With some butter, if available, flour and water are lightly kneaded and baked in the coals of a campfire, either directly or within a camp oven.
Historian James Bonwick ( 1817 – 1906) refers to a First Fleeter named William Bond, who had a bakery in Pitt Street and claimed the first bread he made was damper. According to Bonwick, the name was derived from Bond’s way of “damping” the fire, covering it with ashes.

The ashes were flattened, and the damper was cooked there for ten minutes, often wrapped around a stick. Following this, it was covered with ashes and cooked for another 20 to 30 minutes until it sounded hollow when tapped. Alternatively, the damper was cooked in a greased camp oven. Damper was eaten with dried or cooked meat or golden syrup.

A damper is an iconic Australian dish. While considered quintessentially Australian within that country and synonymous with early European settlement and rural life there, bread making is such an ancient and widespread practice that this form of bread baking is not unique to colonial or pre-colonial Australia