One of the most classic barbecue side dishes is baked beans and in my opinion this is one of the best recipes available. It's cooked in a cast iron skillet for a few hours and everytime I make this recipe it reminds of a baked bean recipe that a cowboy would be eating sitting out next to his horse on a campsite. This baked bean recipe is from Alton Brown's show on Food Network called "Good Eats." The recipe requires soaking your beans overnight and then baking them for about 6 hours. It might sound like a lot of work but it is well worth it.
1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
The first step is to soak the beans overnight. I make sure to fill the bowl with enough water to allow for the beans to expand. This turns out to be about 1 inch of water over the beans.
The next day you chop the bacon, dice the jalapenos and onions and add them to your pan. Alton Brown recommends a cast iron dutch oven. I don't have a cast iron dutch oven but I do have a 4 qt cast iron skillet. I used this and it turned out just fine. I would imagine this baked bean recipe would also work well in a crock pot as long as you do the initial sauteing in a regular frying pan. Over medium heat sautee the onions, jalapenos and bacon until the onions are soft (about 5-8 min).
After the onions are soft, add the tomato paste, brown sugar and molasses to the skillet.
Stir this around for a little bit and then strain the beans and add them to the skillet. Save the water the beans were soaking in and then add 4 cups of this water to the skillet. It may seem like a lot of liquid but all this liquid will reduce by quite a bit during the cook. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper and bring this to a boil over high heat.
Once the beans are boiling, cover the skillet and place it in a preheated 250 degree oven for about 6-8 hours. I kept thinking to myself that I bet this would work well on an extra grate of a smoker while a pork shoulder was cooking!
After 6 and a half hours my ribs were ready and so were my beans.
This is a really nice bean recipe to accompany your BBQ. Just look how nice it goes along with my ribs!