Sunday I went to a picnic, and I was asked to bring baked beans. I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but until now I have never made baked beans. You know how North Carolina BBQ is practically synonymous with coleslaw? Well, Kansas City BBQ joints tend to feature quite a lot of baked beans. In fact, if you are ever in KC, you must go to this place called Smokehouse Bar-B-Que for the divine baked beans and brisket burnt ends.
I studied some old church cookbooks from my childhood to see if I could find a comparable recipe to take to the picnic. I remembered my friend Marion has a delicious and easy recipe. It is basically a can of baked beans doctored up. It requires BBQ sauce but not the vinegar kind. Be sure to use the thick, tomato-based kind like KC Masterpiece.
4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
1 large can (40oz) baked beans
3/4c. brown sugar
1/4c. chopped onion or 1T onion flakes
1 T chili powder
1T yellow mustard
1t. or more liquid smoke
1c. barbecue sauce
Combine all ingredients. Taste as you go and adjust the various flavors to your preference. I like a bit more mustard than the recipe requires. Put beans in a casserole dish, top with bacon, and bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes or so.
Make some potato salad, grill some burgers and you've got a picnic.
Potato salad is just as easy: boil taters that you've cube. Cool. Add a chopped onion or two to the potatoes. Stir in mayonnaise by large spoonfuls until it is as you like. Be generous with salt. Add some pickle juice if you have a jar in the fridge.