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Catastrophe Kitchen | Grilled BBQ Beans

By Salongo Wendland

This is the only recipe you’ll need for baked beans this summer. It’s got plenty of bacon and beans, subtle spice, and a bit of smoke. They’re the perfect accompaniment to everything at your summer cookout,  from potato salad to sour cream and onion potato chips. Try it, you will thank me.

Best of all, they’re only in your kitchen for a brief simmer before you move them out to the grill, where they’ll transform WITHOUT heating up your kitchen! The prep really is easy and quick, and the cooking is mostly hands-off (with a few quick check-ups), so you can make them while you do something else, like yard work or just reading a book in the hammock, because the grass will just need to be cut again next week.

There’s about 20 minutes of active prep, then cooking for about an hour and a half. Once they’re finished, wait for them to cool and you can refrigerate them until BBQ time, then reheat them on the grill for 20 minutes until they’re nice and bubbly again.

You will need:

  • 8oz. bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • ½ jalapeño pepper (more if you like it spicy, sub in green pepper if you don’t like spice)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ bottle BBQ sauce
  • ¼ C ketchup
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T mustard (or 1 T dry mustard)
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t liquid smoke
  • 1 28 oz. can Pork and Beans
  • 1 can Butter beans
  • 1 can Pinto beans
  • 1 can Great Northern beans
  • 1 disposable aluminum pan

Start by chopping the bacon and separating the pieces out. It’s a little bit of a chore to separate them, but if you don’t they clump all together and don’t cook evenly. Put your biggest pot on high heat and add the bacon. I like to make my bacon nice and crispy for this. When the bacon is done, take it out of the pan with a strainer spoon and put it on a paper towel to drain it.

While the bacon cooks, dice the onion very small, about the size of a pencil eraser. De-seed the pepper and dice it even smaller, about the size of a peppercorn. Mince or press the garlic. Drain about half the fat out of the pan, then add the onion and pepper.

Cook it until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 60 seconds longer, then turn off the heat.

Turn the grill on to medium high and let it preheat while you finish the beans.

Measure all of the sauce ingredients into the same pot. Give it a good stir, then turn on the heat again. As the sauce heats, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce is bubbly, turn the heat off.

Open all of the bean cans, then drain and rinse them (except for the Pork and Beans, which you add without draining). Add all of the beans to the pot, give it a good stir, then scrape the entire pot into the aluminum pan. Scatter the bacon on top. If you’re deathly afraid of non-crisp bacon, you can reserve about half of it to stir in at the end, but I used all of it and it was still perfect for me.

Cover the pan with foil and put it on the grill. After about 30 minutes, check on the beans. Give them a good stir and remove the foil. If certain spots are getting more done than others, rotate your pan.

If you’re serving them straight off the grill, continue cooking them for about 45 minutes, or until they’re nice and thick, stirring every 10 minutes or so and rotating the pan if necessary. If you’re going to be re-heating them later, you can probably get away with 30 minutes now and 20 minutes when you reheat them on the grill– that way they won’t be overly thick when they’re ready to serve.

Re-cover them loosely with foil until you’re ready to eat, then enjoy your BBQ! And you don’t even have to clean your pan (or remember to bring it home, if you’re away), so go ahead and have a beer. Cheers to you!

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