Smoky-Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Baked Beans ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Smoky-Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Baked Beans

I've been eyeing this recipe since I got my copy of Recipes From the Root Cellar last June. But what with our cross-country move and baby and all, I never got a chance to make it last summer.

Big pot of barbecued beans by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

But since June is nearly over, I decided it was finally time to carpe diem (inspired by Cher's character in Clueless, a truly great film) and I cooked up a big ol' pot of these lovely beans a few days ago as part of my Fourth of July Feast. These vegetarian beans make a nice addition to any party where you're serving a ton of grilled meat so that our non-flesh-eating brothers and sisters need not suffer any protein-deprivation.

Red Kidney Beans, photo by Bennett V, some rights reserved

I used kidney beans since I had a bunch of them in the pantry but I think that I might go with pintos next time around since they're even creamier.

After the soaking comes the cooking. It's crucial to cook the beans to your desired softness before adding the other ingredients since the acid in the tomatoes will stop the beans from softening any further, no matter how long you cook 'em.

Kidney beans finished cooking by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Then you add the other ingredients (tomatoes, brown sugar, chipotles, onion, garlic, etc.,) and move the beans into the oven to bake for several hours. Mine had to shove over to make room for the cornbread for a little while but they seemed to get along just bee-yoo-ti-fully in spite of the cramped quarters and heated atmosphere.

Beans and cornbread baking by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Like any dish made with dried beans, a little forethought is required to allow time for the beans to soak overnight and for the long cooking required to render them soft, creamy and flavorful. Otherwise, the process is a breeze! And, of course, if you're in a rush, you could use canned beans (I promise I won't tell the foodie police if you do.) If you want to go that route, just substitute 3 15-oz cans of pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed and begin at step 2 in the directions below.

Big pot of barbecued beans by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

I served these beans with barbecued beef short ribs, coleslaw, cornbread and a salad of the most delightful greens, fresh from my mom-in-law's garden.

July 4th Feast - grilled short ribs, BBQed beans, coleslaw, cornbread and green salad by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Smoky-Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Baked Beans
Serves 8


* 2 cups dried pinto or kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
* 6 cups water
* 1 onion, thinly sliced
* 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
* 1 1/2 cups (1 15 oz can or jar) strained or pureed tomatoes or unseasoned tomato sauce
* 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 2 Tbsps minced chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce
2 Tbsps soy sauce


1. Combine the beans with the water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and boil gently, covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are completely tender. Do not undercook; the beans will not soften further once they're combined with the tomatoes.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a large oven-safe pot with lid or covered casserole dish. Add the onion, garlic, tomato puree, brown sugar, chipotles and soy sauce and stir to combine evenly.

3. Cover and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until the sauce is a nice thick consistency. If necessary, you can remove the lid during the last 30 minutes to allow more of the liquid to cook off. Serve hot.

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Anonymous said...

OH! Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! I've been cooking beans in a pressure cooker to save money. My hubby loves the semi sweet baked beans that I've learned to make. Now, I've been wanting to make a great chili or ranch bean and haven't figured out the right spices. This recipe is very helpful. btw... I'm omnivore ... but looooove beans too. Canned ones are so ridiculously priced these days too. Thank Goodness for pressure canners and crock pots for cooking beans. ~ SJ in CA

Eve Fox said...

Hi SJ, so glad to hear it! I am crazy for beans the last year or so, too. Cheap, healthy and delicious. I've got more good bean recipes coming up so stay tuned.

Oxford said...

I have been reading your food blog and have really enjoyed it. As a fellow foodie, I have a blog about my quest for the ultimate hamburger, I wanted to share this link and project that I have been following as I think they have an very interesting idea for a short film that will appeal to foodies.

A team of documentary short film makers is making a film about the regional foods which are disappearing from our grocery store shelves. Once, the grocery store reflected the foods and culinary heritage of each region of our country. There was a time that Coors beer was not sold east of the Mississippi River, and Moon Pies only existed in the South. Small regional food companies are being bumped from the store shelves, and we are losing these food traditions.

These are those foods that maybe your grandparents had in their pantry and you refused to eat. Things (and these are real) like mudfish in a jar, sauerkraut juice, and canned snake. They are looking for input on regional foods in your area, like those strange food items on the top shelf that you have no idea how they are used or what to cook with them.

The film will include calling the makers of these unique foods and learning the history and reason behind why mudfish is available in a jar. Then they will have a big food tasting offering volunteers the chance to taste these items and give their feedback.
I hope you can suggest possible regional foods or ask your readers. You can learn more about the project on their website

eve isk said...

I like this too!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Making these next week. Your directions between your pictures you mention molasses. Molasses is not listed in your ingredients list. Should I use that? Thanks!

Eve Fox said...

oops, nope, just a typo (which I've fixed) - the recipe is correct as is. Thanks for flagging and hope you like them.