Barbecuing and beans – a better combination would be baffling
Most barbecue joints have beans on the menu but not all joints are equal in that the type of beans comprising the barbecue bean dish in a particular restaurant is dependent on where that actual restaurant is located.
For instance, if you’re tucking into barbecued beans in Texas you’ll almost certainly be chewing on pinto beans. Popping over the Kansas City? Then expect to find red kidney and navy beans in your barbecued beans dish. On the other hand if you happen to be passing through North Carolina then you’ll find yourself enjoying barbecued lima beans.
The type of beans used in a barbecued dish is dependent of course on what beans grow more readily in that state. And then again, there’s also tradition to contend with. This has, of course, resulted in classic barbecued beans recipes throughout the land.
All chefs agree that the secret to making good barbecued beans – regardless of the type of bean used – is to smoke them the same flavour as the meat you’re serving up at the barbecue.
As for the sauce in the beans well, we’re looking at different regional variations again. In Caroline it tends to be a mixture of cider vinegar and ketchup, in Kansas City they will almost certainly have a sweet smoky flavour and in Texas expect to find a jalapeno pepper or ten…
Sourcing of the actual beans is usually at a supermarket or grocery store (or even a health food shop if you’re seeking the organic variety). On the whole dried beans are far cheaper than the tinned variety, although they have to be soaked overnight – or even for a whole 24 hours, depending on the type of beans – to get rid of any indigestible substances on the actual beans. Cooking beans will also depend on the type of bean you’re attempting to heat up.
It’s extremely important to rinse the beans too, regardless of whether they are tinned or dried.
Chef and barbecue king Joshua Bousel is a huge advocate of barbecued beans which he makes on his outdoor grill (although it takes quite a time!).
He said: “It’s hard for me to fire up the smoker without making a batch of beans—especially since I can just throw them in with whatever is smoking and let them cook, low and slow, until the perfect balance of flavour and tenderness is achieved.
“It takes a good six hours or so for this to happen, but patience is well rewarded, with a deeply sweet and meaty tasting bean that has just the right touch of heat to balance it all out.”
Those keen to try and make barbecued beans for themselves will find a host of recipes on the internet with hundreds of different variations for sauces. We’ve tried out a couple ourselves and have been pleased with the results. If you have a special barbecue beans recipe we’d love to hear about it…
Finally, if you’re done with the hassle of using a charcoal or a gas barbecue then consider getting yourself a La Hacienda firepit or La Hacienda chimenea to cook over. They provide a great place to cook as well as a brilliant source of heat.