Bold and Beautiful Barbecue Beans



Most everyone likes baked beans or barbecued beans. Most people don’t want to take the time to make them and settle for that stuff that comes in cans. I confess I have. But you know, they are just child’s play versus the real thing. The real thing takes time, but the reward is so worth it.

This recipe is from Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide. I made them for the 4th, and they were simply excellent. Leftovers freeze up nicely for later use, so don’t be afraid of the quantity. The actual work time is really short, the time is in the slow cooking.

So take a look and give it a try.



  • 1 lb of dried great northern beans. (Or use navy beans or pinto–any bean frankly will do)
  • 8 slices (about 1/2 lb) of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c barbecue sauce (your own or commercial of your choice)
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper


  1. Soak beans over night in just enough water to cover. Rinse, and drain. Set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven, saute the bacon until it has rendered its fat, remove bacon, pour off fat, leaving enough to saute the onions.
  3. Saute onions. When softened and starting to brown, return bacon, add the beans and all the rest of the ingredients. Stir to blend.
  4. Bring to a boil. Turn off.
  5. Place in a 350° oven, uncovered,  until beans are done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Approximately 4 hours. (Mine took closer to 4 1/2.) There should be a nice thick sauce coating your beans.

Serves: 8- 10

NOTE: you can probably easily adapt this to a slow cooker. Also this is a nice recipe to make a day ahead of a picnic. It will reheat nicely



Frijoles Refritos

Refried beans are a staple in Mexican cooking. They are a wonderful side all on their own, but they are also used as part of more elaborate dishes such as tostados, chimichangas, and carne guisada tacos.

Yes, you can buy a can of it ready-made, but it won’t be very appetizing, and if you are taking all the time to make something really wonderful, why ruin it by have some blah refried beans when with very little extra time, you can make a really great refried bean dish.

If you insist on total purity, then start with dried pinto beans, soak as recommended, (over night) and then drain, refill with water and cook until tender. But frankly good canned pinto beans are fine. Just make sure to rinse off the salt and stuff by placing them in a sieve and rinsing.


  • 2 cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 TBSP lard, bacon fat, or oil
  • 1/2 c finely minced onion
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, finally minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • a bit of chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the fat in a saute pan. Add the onion and jalapeño and saute until tender
  2. Add some of the beans and begin mashing them with a fork or a potato masher. As they get mashed, add more, until all is incorporated.
  3. Add the cumin and stir, and then loosen until it is the consistency for spreading on a tortilla by adding a few tablespoons of chicken stock.
  4. Add the cilantro

Serves: at least a dozen tortillas, and 6-8 as a side dish

Note: if you don’t want the heat, then leave out the chiles.