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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.