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october daze

Recipe: barbecue rib baked beans

October has been a weird month, mostly because I’ve been playing catch up on all of those neglected items on the to do list that keep getting carried over from week to week, month to month. Do any of you do that? I cross off the tasks that were completed and everything that wasn’t completed shows up on the following (longer) list. I am also catching up on things that weren’t on my to do list, but certainly weren’t getting done. Mid-autumn is when I try to return to being a normal person.

a red aspen leaf and delicate ice on a trail run

catching up with friends at lunch in boulder

Mid-autumn is also our last chance to address things like sealing the driveway, sweeping out the garages (they accumulate mud all winter and summer), spreading the compost to make room in the compost bin for a winter’s worth of additions, putting away summer furniture, etc. But then Jeremy noticed that our first floor heating in Crested Butte wasn’t able to maintain the set temperature, so we drove out for less than 24 hours this weekend to troubleshoot the problem and find a workaround until the new part could be installed.

jeremy seals the driveway as neva looks on

a nice hot bowl of pork belly ramen after figuring out what was wrong with the heating

fresh snow in crested butte

That last minute drive to Crested Butte meant cancelling a grouse hunt with Erin and Jay. But we were able to return home in time for me to join Erin Sunday morning. The winds were pretty bad at home which meant they would be terrible up high closer to the Continental Divide. They were in fact, horrible, with 60 mph gusts shoving us this way and that. But we plodded ahead through the dark, in howling winds and cold, and wound our way through willows and aspens and conifers. Fresh snow didn’t seem to give up any signs of grouse, and we figured they thought the same thing we were thinking about the winds. Those fucking winds. It’s the one thing I would change about life on the Front Range. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Erin and I chuckled as we hiked out under the morning sun – shouting over the roaring and crashing of gusts to hear one another, “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

well, we certainly have nice sunrises

erin scanning the next meadow for the elusive dusky grouse

The winds are still raging against the house, but they are supposed to ease up a bit this week. The back and forth of sunny and warm with snowy and cold days is signature autumn around the mountains here. And while I loathe the windstorms, I like having four distinct seasons. Having lived in Southern California for ten years, I don’t miss what I call “hot” and “hotter”. Don’t get me wrong, there were many things I loved about So Cal like the beans at Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ in Van Nuys. My friend, Melinda, dubbed Hogly Wogly’s “a shrine to the slaughterhouse” and whenever we went we would order “beans and beans” for our two side dishes (two orders of baked beans). Since we moved to Colorado, I’ve made half hearted attempts at recreating the beans, which were mostly met with disappointment. But a couple of weeks ago, I think I got a step closer to those Hogly Wogly beans I love so much.

mustard (not dijon as pictured, you want spicy brown), ketchup, worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, baked beans, tamari (or soy sauce), a half rack of barbecue pork ribs, onion, bell pepper, brown sugar, bacon

You can make your own ribs or purchase barbecue ribs for this recipe. I found a half rack of St. Louis cut pork ribs will yield about a half pound of rib meat. I made my own ribs using the sous vide method and finished the racks on the grill. Choose a barbecue sauce you love – something sweet, spicy, and tangy for me. Here, I’ve used a jar of Banjo BBQ sauce that my friend, Jay, makes. To get started on the beans, fry the bacon until soft. Don’t fry them until crispy or else they will burn when you bake the beans. Chop the bacon and save a few tablespoons of the bacon grease.

fry the bacon until soft, not crispy

Cook the onions and peppers in the bacon grease. If you want a healthier version you can use vegetable oil instead of bacon grease, but we all know flavor lives in the bacon grease! When the onions are translucent, add everything else except for the rib meat and the bacon.

measured out and ready to roll

sauté the onions and green peppers

stir everything into the pot except the meat (ribs and bacon)

let it simmer for 5 minutes

Before adding the meat, I used my immersion blender to purée about a cup or two of the beans in the pot. This thickens the beans. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can scoop some of the beans and liquid into a food processor to purée, then scrape it back into the pot. Blitzing two cups will yield a thicker baked beans dish than one cup.

purée some of the beans

stir in the rib meat

pour the beans into a baking dish and top with bacon

bake for two hours

The final result is hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but it makes a great side dish to your choice of barbecue. A little goes a long way. And while these aren’t exactly Hogly Wogly’s baked beans, I would rank this recipe in the same class of “deliciously addictive baked beans”.

a spoonful of serious flavor

that’s a happy barbecue plate

i guess we can have nice things!

Barbecue Rib Baked Beans
[print recipe]
modified from this recipe

8 slices of bacon
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
2 28-oz. cans of baked beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
1/2 lb. barbecue rib meat, shredded and chopped

Cook the bacon in a skillet over moderate heat until the bacon is at the soft or chewy stage (not crisp). Remove the bacon to a cutting board. Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Chop the bacon into little pieces and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place the bacon grease in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and bell pepper until soft (about 5-7 minutes). Add the beans, barbecue suace, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce (or tamari), brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar to the pot. Stir over medium-high heat until the beans come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to purée 1-2 cups of the beans (1 cup for thinner beans, 2 cups for thicker beans) and stir it back into the pot. Stir the rib meat into the beans.

Pour the beans into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the bacon evenly over the top of the beans. Bake for 2 hours. Serves 12-16.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

dinosaur-style bar-b-que beans sous vide ribs big bob gibson’s bar-b-q ribs barbecue chicken

6 nibbles at “october daze”

  1. Mynda says:

    Aloha Jennifer,
    I always enjoy your posts but today’s was extra special. I grew up in the SF Valley and while I’m not a fan of BBQ (unless it’s Korean or Mongolian), my Dad was a huge fan of Dr Hogly Wogly’s. He’s been gone almost 20 yrs; your writing brought back some very fond/funny memories … many of me arguing for anyplace but Hogly Wogly’s! Left CA for Hawaii 30+ yrs ago — mahalo for the blast from the past!

  2. Jill Hyde says:

    To do lists….of course I have one. Not that it ever gets DONE! Oh my gosh, the sunrises and sets have been so lovely. Autumn is full of my favorite colors. Grouse? Seriously? You were hunting a bird? Oh my.

    Tom will be drooling when I share this recipe with him. And we may just have to make a special trip to Dr. Hogly Wogly’s!

    xoxo, j

  3. Linda says:

    OMG! I can smell those beans from here……sigh. Making me very hungry. 8-)


  4. farmerpam says:

    “This is why we can’t have nice things”…

  5. Shari Q says:

    Mouthwatering! I live alone so I would have to cut this in half, but I WILL be making this! Looks like it would freeze well too, which is what I do with leftovers for quick single serve meals when I’m lazy.

  6. jenyu says:

    Mynda – Aw, I’m so glad that could bring back a good memory for you. Next time I’m in LA and I stop by The Doctor’s, my friends and I will toast your dad xoxo

    Jill – Well, hunting as in looking for, yes. I think there is a lot to be said for finding your food in the wild. Maybe better luck next year!

    Linda – :)

    farmerpam – So true, right?

    Shari Q – I also like freezing portions to enjoy later without all of the work! Great idea :)

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