Barbeque, or “baked”, beans really need a new PR manager. I mean, they are delicious. Yet, somehow, they’ve fallen from American-classic-status to some embarrassing side dish that no one wants to talk about. Admitting to liking this dish is social suicide. How did this happen? I’m blaming that stupid jingle about beans being a magical fruit, etc, etc. It’s gotten so bad that I’m now totally embarrassed to help myself to the baked beans at the 4th of July cookout. Doing so would guarantee a D-Day-esque onslaught of verbal artillery fire from my five brothers. Seriously. Baked beans. Get a new publicist.
Crippling reputation or not, we decided to serve them with some pork ribs as an appetizer at work. Lucky for me, I was asked to tackle the project. Masking the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, I headed back to the prep-kitchen to try and pinpoint where to even begin. Onions. They’re always a great starting point. And throw in some sliced bacon. I was getting somewhere. Then there’s that tangy, sweet, slightly spicy sauce… o geez.
So I did what any normal person would do and started throwing stuff in a bowl. Steak sauce? Sure. Ketchup? Of course. Molasses? I knew that one from camping with my Dad. Slowly but surely, a sauce started to form that tasted like the tangy, sweet, slightly spicy sauce I wanted. Some ground cumin and coriander sealed the deal.
So, once you have your sauce, these beans are a piece of cake. To recreate my prep-kitchen luck, dice some onions and slice some bacon and sauté that slowly down in a pot on a medium to low heat. You don’t need olive oil because the bacon fat becomes your grease. While the onions and bacon cook, mix together the ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, A1 (or whatever type of steak sauce you want), Molasses, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. When the onions are soft and starting to caramelize, throw in your minced garlic. Let it cook for 30 seconds and then stir in your sauce and your drained beans.
And there you have it. Homemade baked beans. To eat in the privacy of your own home. Away from public ridicule.
- 3 small or 2 large onions
- 8 pieces of bacon, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tablespoons A1 Steak Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Molasses
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne
- 3 lbs cooked, canned kidney beans, drained
Makes 5 servings