Flavorful spices, veggies enhance a classic baked beans dish
This dish can be baked slowly in the oven, in a smoker or on a grill. (Omit the liquid smoke if you use a smoker or grill; the beans can be smoked for 4 to 5 hours.) Adapted from a recipe by Jim Basara of Falls Church, Va. Because this version calls for cooked, smoked brisket (instead of uncooked bacon), we topped the mixture with bacon drippings.
Jim’s BBQ Baked Beans
15 ounces (1 can) black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounces (1 can) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
45 to 48 ounces (3 cans) baked beans with pork (may substitute plain baked beans)
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped (11⁄2 to 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (1 to 11⁄2 cups)
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped ( 3⁄4 cup)
6 small or 3 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced ( 3⁄4 to 1 cup)
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 cups store-bought barbecue sauce, preferably a sweet brand with a bit of cider vinegar added to it
11⁄2 cups packed light brown sugar or more to taste
1⁄2 cup Dijon-style mustard, or more taste
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (unless the beans are being smoked; see headnote)
1 pound cooked smoked brisket, shredded or finely chopped (may substitute slab bacon, cut into 1⁄4-inch slivers)
Kosher or coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 or 6 tablespoons bacon drippings (see headnote; may substitute duck fat)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Have 1 or 2 large rectangular disposable aluminum pans at hand, with deep sides. For easy cleanup, place the pans on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Combine the black beans, kidney beans and baked beans in a large bowl. Add the onion, the red bell pepper, poblano and jalapeno peppers, garlic, barbecue sauce, brown sugar and mustard (to taste), liquid smoke and the shreds of cooked smoked brisket. Season with salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
Transfer to the pan(s) and drizzle the bacon drippings on top. Bake for 2 hours, until bubbling and slightly crusted on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
• Per serving: 350 calories, 18 g protein, 54 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 1000 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar.