A while back, CPM was obsessed with figuring out the perfect, scratch-made BBQ Baked Beans – you know – from dried beans – the real deal. We traded bean recipes and little crocks of BBQ beans back and forth for a whole summer trying to get our beans straight. Most of the recipes were came up with were really solid – Amelia’s was the best one. But, we still left that summer disappointed -too thick, too thin, too crunchy, too starchy…too many tastes and we just don’t feel like sampling any more freaking beans, so we’ll just buy Bush’s canned beans. So, here we are, nearly two years later, my pantry still continually stocked with every clearance white bean known to man, waiting for a culinary breakthrough to fall out of the bean heavens.
But, as our friends at The Halau so sagely say “not all knowledge is contained in the same school.” So, as I was working on my like 5th take at refried beans to post to this site, I had one of those “ah ha” moments regarding the BBQ baked beans. I’m always grateful when one recipe lends its knowledge to another! For the regular readers, you will pick up on the technique right away.
Homemade BBQ Baked Beans
1 pound small white bean or Northern bean or Navy bean
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 teaspoons freshly ground mustard seed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste
In a large pot, combine all ingredients except for salt and BBQ sauce, fill pot ¾ full with water, and, over high heat, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally and replenishing water as it gets low, for 2-2 ½ hours or until beans are fully cooked and tender. Remove pot from heat, place lid on top and allow beans to fully cool, stirring a couple of times (I usually do this in the evening and let the beans cool overnight).
Once cool, with a strainer over a large measuring cup or bowl, strain liquid from beans. RESERVE LIQUID.
Return drained beans to pot. In a separate saucepan on medium low, heat up BBQ sauce. I’m using Amelia’s Jack and Coke BBQ sauce with a little doctoring for this application, but use whatever sauce you like. Once BBQ sauce is hot, whisk in reserved bean liquid, a little at a time, until desired thickness is reached. Heat thoroughly and let cook, without boiling, for 10 minutes (reduce heat if needed).
IMPORTANT: At this point, taste your sauce! Does it need salt? Sugar? Heat? More liquid? Now is the time to make this sauce what you want it to be. Once sauce is doctored to your own taste, pour sauce over drained beans, a little at a time until beans are a thick or thin as you want. Return bean pot to medium low heat and heat thoroughly.
Serve hot or portion out beans and refrigerate or freeze until you need them.