The Best Barbecue Baked Beans
It's not a real barbecue until a dish of baked beans shows up! While there are many different versions and many different techniques, I'm here to tell you that these are the best. These are the tastiest, most satisfying, the easiest, and the meatiest. They not only make a great side dish, but if the budget's a little tight, these will absolutely work as a main course. Sprinkle the top with sliced green onion if you like.
- 1pound dried red beans
- 3quarts water
- 1bay leaf
- 1½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1yellow onion, chopped
- 1cup barbecue sauce
- ½cup ketchup
- ⅓cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼cup packed light brown sugar
- 3tablespoons molasses
- 2tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1tablespoon smoked paprika
- ⅛teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1tablespoon kosher salt
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- 2½ cups reserved bean cooking liquid
- 6slices thick-cut bacon
Step 1Add dry beans to a bowl, cover with water, and let soak for 8 hours, or overnight.
Step 2Drain beans and transfer to a large pot filled with 3 quarts of cold, fresh water. Add bay leaf, pork shoulder, and onion. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir. Skim off foam if desired. Let simmer until beans are just tender, about 1 hour.
Step 3While beans simmer, combine barbecue sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, cayenne, black pepper, kosher salt, and garlic powder in a bowl with a whisk. Set aside until needed.
Step 4Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Step 5Transfer tender bean mixture to a deep, 15x10-inch baking dish using a spider strainer. Pour in barbecue sauce mixture and 2 ½ cups of the bean cooking liquid. Place bacon slices on top.
Step 6Bake uncovered in the center of the preheated oven until the liquids have reduced into a thick sauce, 2 to 3 hours.