Monday, August 25, 2008

Smokehouse baked beans

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
1/4c. molasses

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.


phil said...

Good baked beans are fantastic and I'm sure yours were. Too often, baked beans are kind of a waste of beans and all the electricity or gas that goes into making them. Sigh.

I like wettish baked beans served with cornbread. Mmm...

(related: some of my Asheville/Denver friends and their little boy say "bean" instead of "fart". Tee hee.)

Other - good potato salad is also amazing, and your thing about pickle juice reminds me of a joke I loved as a kid. The abbreviated version of the joke, set in the wild west:

A panicky man sticks his head into a saloon and yells, "look out everyone, Big John's a'coming!" And then he runs away.

Moments later, a huge, mean, nasty looking cowboy comes into the bar and snarls, "Gimme a barrel of pickle juice!" Quickly, the bartender rolls one out to the near-giant, who rips off the lid with his teeth and gulps it down in an instant."

Trembling, the bartender asks, "Sir.... would you like another barrel?"

To which the man replies, "There ain't no time. I've gotta run. Big John's a'coming."


Dave said...

That recipe looks good. Think about adding some diced green peppers as well.