Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BBQ Baked Beans

Beans in a can are great, but nothing is more rewarding than making a pot of your very own BBQ baked beans. It may take a little longer, but you won't mind when your house smells like these tangy and rich baked beans.

You can use any kind of dried beans or dried bean blends you like. I had a blend of beans intended for bean soup (sometimes I make Ham and Lentil Soup with regular beans) so I used them.

Here's something that's really important. You want to make sure you use fresh beans. I know this sounds like a misnomer--fresh dried beans? But it's true. Apparently if beans get too old, they lose the ability to fully rehydrate and no matter what you do, they'll still be hard in the middle. Check the expiration dates on the beans (if there are any) and get the freshest you can find.

The night before you plan on making your beans, measure them out and give them a quick scan for anything that isn't supposed to be in there (like rocks.)

Put them in a large bowl and cover them with 3 to 4 times the amount of water.

Let them soak overnight (at least 12 hours.) This seems like a long time, but if you think about it, you could cover them with water before going to bed and they'd be done after you get up. You don't have to do a thing with them while they're soaking.

The next day, drain the beans and put them on standby  while you start the good stuff.

What goes better with beans than bacon? Grab yourself some of the thick-sliced stuff.

Cut them into larger pieces and start them in a pot over medium heat. You just want to render the fat and soften the bacon a little, not get the pieces crisp. If it colors around the edges that's fine, but you want to remove it while it's still limp.

While the bacon is rendering, roughly chop half an onion.

Do the same to half a pepper. I used orange and red, because that's what I had frozen and on hand.

Remove the still-limp bacon from the pan and toss in the onion and pepper.

Once the onion and pepper have softened, add the beans to the pot.

Now you can start seasoning your beans. Start with your favorite BBQ sauce--mine is from Roscoe's Root Beer and Ribs.

I just bought this bottle a month ago and it's already almost gone. Uh oh.

A tablespoon of molasses sweetens the pot.

A couple more tablespoons of brown sugar makes things nice too.

A shot of Jim Beam makes these beans a little more grown up.

You don't argue with Jim.

Dried mustard is next. You could use prepared mustard, or Dijon mustard, too.

Throw in a bay leaf.

A couple big splashes of cider vinegar gives the beans some tang.

Oh. My. Goodness.

At this point, you could do a number of things with the beans. You could leave them in the pot and let them simmer for 30-45 minutes. You could move them to an oven-safe dish (if your pot isn't oven-safe) and cook them low and slow at 250F for 2-3 hours. You could throw them on the grill at the same temp for around the same time. You could even throw them in a crock pot.

I moved the beans to an oven-safe dish and topped them with the bacon pieces. The heat from the oven let the bacon render more and it got nice and crispy.

And, with just a little oven time, I got a pot of rich, tangy baked beans with a thick, sweet sauce, great bits of bacon, and deliciously seasoned beans. They make take a little longer, but oh my gosh, they are so worth it!

Recipe: BBQ Baked Beans

1 c. dried beans
3 c. water

5 slices bacon, cut into large pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c. BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 shot bourbon
1 tsp. mustard
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

The day before you intend on preparing your beans, soak them in water at least 8 hours. After they have soaked, drain the water and rinse the beans to make sure they are clean.

In a large pot, gently render the fat from the bacon. Remove bacon from pot while still limp.

Saute onion and peppers in the rendered bacon fat until softened. Add in beans.

Add BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, mustard, bay leaf, cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Top with rendered bacon pieces. Follow one of the options to finish cooking beans:

* Leave beans in the pot and let them simmer for 30-45 minutes.
* Move beans an oven-safe dish (if your pot isn't oven-safe) and cook at 250F for 2-3 hours.
* Move beans to a grill-safe dish and leave in a covered 250F grill for 2-3 hours.
* Move beans to a crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment