Barbecue Cowboy Beans

BBQ Cowboy BeansBeans, beans the more you eat, the more you….well you know the old saying.  Luckily if you are a bean fanatic like my husband you can develop a tolerance to the not so nice after effects of a bowl of beans.  Seriously, if you eat beans regularly your body will become accustomed to the complex sugars which cause the gastrointestinal distress associated with beans.  Soaking dried beans, either overnight or by the quick-soak method, also reduces the amount of complex sugars, especially if you thoroughly rinse the beans after soaking.

This is a really simple recipe and only requires a few ingredients.  The most important of which is the barbecue sauce.  You really want to use a quality sauce, either store bought or homemade.  Whenever we drive to Dallas to visit family, we always wind up in east Texas at dinner time.  Luckily, there are two great barbeque restaurants near Kilgore to choose from.  Crazy Bob’s BBQ is a bit of a dive but has the best barbeque sauce and pinto beans.  Bodacious Bar-B-Q has excellent brisket and really good sauce that you can buy for cheap.  For this recipe I used sauce from Bodacious Bar-B-Q.  For those that aren’t in the know, Texas barbeque sauce is smoky and slightly spicy with only a minimal amount of sugar.  But feel free to use your favorite sauce, just remember that a sweet sauce will give you a sweet side dish.  This recipe can also be made easier by substituting canned beans.  You will want to use 3 (15.5 ounce) cans of rinsed and drained pinto beans.

1 pound dried pinto, cranberry or anasazi beans
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
3 cups water
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
black pepper to taste
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (optional)

Sort the beans to remove any dirt clods or pebbles and soak covered in water overnight.  Alternatively, you can do a quick soak on the beans by placing them in a 4-quart pot and covering with water.  Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover and let sit one hour.  With either method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans.

Place a 4-quart pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon.  Cook the bacon until it is beginning to brown and the fat has been rendered out.  Drain all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat.  Add the onion and saute until the onion is soft but not brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and jalapeño (if using) and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the soaked beans, water, salt, pepper and barbecue sauce.  Stir well.  Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the beans to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the beans are soft.  If you are using canned beans, you can reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Serves 6 to 8.

adapted from Southwest Slow Cooking by Tammy Biber and Theresa Howell

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