Good Beans

September 24, 2008

Editor's Note: We are happy to welcome Tracy Sarich as a new contributor to the Foodista blog.

For many, family recipes are secrets – passed down father to son, mother to daughter – preserved for only the intimate few.  But there are a few family recipes so precious that they are passed only to those family members who understand – the chosen few.  I know of one such secret – held tight-fisted by my friend Michelle – who has entrusted me to be named the godmother of her children but unworthy of the secrets of the sauce.  Somehow – this makes sense to me – though I am on a perpetual quest to impress her with my barbecue sauce…. I’ve gotten close a few times.  I have never quite reached the heights of Jack’s 4th of July sauce. Last 4th of July, I was invited to the family barbecue and given the task of bringing – THE BEANS.  The pressure was on.  I was nervous.  I knew that it would be eaten by a long line of experts, who knew.    Girl. Boy. Whoever you are.  I was about to enter a 4th of July BARBEQUE THROWDOWN.  There would be judges.  I’d know by the silence if I’d failed.  And while there would be love in the room, we’d all know they might have been good, but not necessarily GOOD. So when my 4 year-old godson, the boy who teethed on short ribs drippin’ with sauce, took a bite and said “Good beans, Tracy”… I knew I had been to the mountaintop.  I had arrived.  Tastee!

1 pound dried small pinto beans

4 ounces bacon – diced

1 medium onion – diced

5 medium garlic cloves – minced

1 cup strong black coffee

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

1 ½ tablespoon mustard (I think that prepared brown mustard works well, though any good mustard will do)

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon ground coriander (or to taste)

½ to 1 cup of a good – I mean it – barbecue sauce (I like Bone Suckin’ Sauce - – we think it’s the best sauce in a jar on the market)

Hot sauce to taste 8 cups chicken broth (you may use water – but I think the chicken broth adds nice richness)

Salt/Pepper to taste

1.    Soak your beans – or – if you’re like me and forget to soak the beans, boil your beans in water for 2 hours.  I like to add a chopped onion and a few crushed garlic cloves to the water.  Do not add salt at this stage.

2.    In a large pot, brown bacon.

3.    Add onions and garlic in the bacon grease until lightly brown.

4.    Add beans and the remaining ingredients.

5.    Simmer low for at least 4-5 hours – this can sit on a low simmer for quite a while and works very well in a slow cooker/crock pot.  Just be sure that you don’t burn it with a heat that is too high. This recipe requires you to adjust several ingredients to taste.  The hot sauce, barbeque sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard are items that you should adjust after a few hours – again, taste it – play with it – and you’ll have Good Beans, too.

Photo: Lucianvenutian



Sean's picture

Aw yeah, baked beans and pulled pork. Are you from Kentucky or Ohio?

Thumbbook's picture

Yummy! I love baked beans! I will definitely try this one Tracy!

Luke D's picture

hey, thanks for using my pic! We're having a cookout this weekend and are looking for a good bean recipe. I'll give yours a try.

redman's picture

hey Tracy!

Sophie's picture

Yum, these beans look very good. Glad to hear the beans got the approval from even your youngest fan :). Beans are great on a cold day, plus they are so affordable, and yours look extra tasty. I would love to feature your beans on our Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Please email if you're interested. Thanks :).