Please let me start by saying that having a recipe for BBQ beans (or baked beans) is ridiculous. I don’t have one. If you want one, go google it. I am going to share with you some flavor combinations that work, but basically, I do these beans differently every time, and I truly don’t think I will ever make the same beans twice.
Let’s start with the must haves:
What kind? Well, if you are feeling ambitious, I suppose you could cook pinto beans or whatever you want from dried. If you do that, good for you.
99% of the time, I use good ol’ pork and beans. I love those. Beans in a tomato sauce with little chunks of pork fat floating in it? Doesn’t that sound delicious? Not so much? Fish out the fat and use them anyway. Or don’t. But I do.
If I am feeling fancy, I use both hamburger and bacon. But if I don’t have the time or the forethought to get hamburger, bacon is just fine. Today, I am using thick cut, peppered bacon. This bacon is seriously too expensive and delicious for this recipe, but oh, well.
I always use half or a whole onion, and then half or a whole red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, depending on how much I am making. Also garlic OR garlic powder if I am not feeling like dealing with garlic cloves.
Here is where it gets fun. BBQ, to me, is a combination of sweet, savory, salty, and sour. The balance of those is important, and what you use to satisfy those flavor categories is expansive. For sweet, I commonly use brown sugar or molasses. Or orange juice. Or apple juice. Sour is usually apple cider vinegar. Honey mustard will also probably make an appearance. Today, I am using rootbeer, chipotle peppers, and perhaps a hefty drizzle of molasses. Keep tasting to find the right balance for you. Remember to to salt and taste and salt some more. I often hear from people who think they aren’t good at cooking–that they never can quite figure out what’s gone wrong with a recipe. I can almost always guarantee you that their food was under-salted. (If you choose to use chili powder or cumin, both of which are delicious in this, add them to the meat and meat fat before the veggies. Both of those seasonings are fat soluble and do well to be bloomed in hot oil before other ingredients are added.)
Chop veggies. Brown meat. Drain most of fat from meat. Saute veggies. Add beans and flavorings. Cook for a long time. Give to your 23 month old because this is her favorite food. Or you can it yourself…whatever works for you.