BBQ Baked Beans

I always find it a little funny that baked beans are a summer picnic food – I guess that’s fine if you’re letting Bush’s make the beans for you and all you have to do is open a can. REAL baked beans require hours in the oven to slowly simmer and bubble away in a flavorful broth until they become tender, plump and coated with a sticky, spicy sauce. These baked beans are hearty and definitely for the winter months when you welcome the extra heat that running the oven for 6 hours provides.

And while you’re running the oven for hours on end, you might as well throw one of my slow-roasted BBQ Pork Shoulders in the oven right alongside the beans…this is all in the name of using energy efficiently, you know. Okay, it may be a little bit about having just a teensy bit more pork in an already extravagant meal, but baked beans and pork shoulder belong together – trust me. Once everything is in the oven, the beans require little more than a stir every hour, and you can baste that beautiful shoulder while the oven door is open. Six hours later, you’ve got a complete meal ready for the table to impress your guests. Serve it up with some homemade tortillas, a big bowl of crunchy slaw and you can close your eyes and pretend it’s summer…though you certainly won’t mistake those beans for Bush’s.

BBQ Baked Beans
Serves 10-12 as a side dish
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

4 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic , minced
1 T smoked paprika
1 pound dried small white or red beans, rinsed and picked over (I used Rancho Gordo Santa Maria Pinquinto beans)
8 cups water
1 cup strong black coffee, or 1 T coffee extract
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard (Gulden’s is my favorite)
1 tablespoon mild molasses
1 T chipotle puree or hot sauce
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the beans, water, coffee, smoked paprika, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, mustard, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake, stirring every hour, until the beans are tender, about 4 hours.
  3. Remove the lid and continue to bake, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency, about 1 1/2-2 more hours. Season the beans with additional barbecue sauce if needed, chipotle puree, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To Make Ahead: After cooking, the beans can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated, wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. Reheat over medium-low heat before serving.
204 cal per 3/4 cup serving, 25 cal from fat, 2.8g fat, 190mg sodium, 580mg potassium, 35g carbs, 8g fiber, 10g sugar, 10g protein

3 thoughts on “BBQ Baked Beans

  1. Guilty as charged with the Bush’s baked beans. *embarrassed* I don’t usually make baked beans on my own, but my parents do. Annnnd since I moved back home, guess who’s getting her baked beans in? I’m printing this recipe out and handing it to them. We will be gourmets this summer thanks to you!

  2. I will admit this to you, because I do that sort of thing, but I’ve never made my own baked beans. Also, I do tend to really enjoy “Bush’s baked beans”, straight from the can.

    That being said, it is weird that they are summertime treats, and it’s also weird that thick ol’ potato salad is a summertime treat – both seem heavy and just out of place in summer, but perfect in winter :). Either way though – these you’ve made look really good and I bet they would smell absolutely awesome sitting in the oven all day…………..

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