Kick off your summer with some serious barbecue black beans. The beauty of barbecue is its multiple layers of flavor: tang to sweet to smoke to spice all in one bite. To maximize this it’s usually best to follow a recipe until you have a handle on the process. For those of us who have a terrible time with recipes, this presents a pretty sticky situation. Luckily, there is a bit of wiggle room when it comes to side dishes like these baked black beans. I really really really encourage you to make beans yourself. It’s so laughably easy in the slow cooker and they have significantly less sodium.
When it comes to prepping the beans you’re going to need a reasonable amount of time to accomplish the variety of steps. Flavors like this take a little while to mix, marry and build. I like to start with the meat, cooking the sausage and or bacon. There’s a pineapple bacon chicken sausage that you can get at a bulk store which was a pretty awesome addition. After cooking it thoroughly and draining the fat, deglaze the pan with a bit of cheap beer. And at this point you should go back to the recipe…
- 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 3/4 cups), picked over and soaked in cold water for 8 hours
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 8 ounces sausage or bacon cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into small dice
- 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup dark rum
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
- 1/4 cup clover honey
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more taste
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add meat and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Strain if necessary and deglaze using a minimal amount of liquid needed.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onion and carrot to the pan and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rum, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans.
- Add 2 cups stock (or broth), barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup cilantro, honey, molasses, brown sugar and the reserved chorizo to the beans. Mix gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and cover. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Check to see if the bean mixture is dry; if it is, add a little more stock (or broth). Bake for 30 minutes more. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more to thicken slightly.
- Garnish the beans with the remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.