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The BBQ bacon bourbon baked beans were particularly good and the only dish that was new for the holiday this year. I started with a recipe I found on the Penzeys Spices site and adapted it our tastes. Everyone agreed that it was a hit.
BBQ Bacon Bourbon Baked Beans
(adapted from Penzeys)
- 1/2 pound uncured pepper bacon (or whatever you have)
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped fine
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine (yellow or red would have been prettier)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons Penzeys 3001 BBQ spice mix (or 1/2 cup prepared BBQ sauce)
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/4 teaspon smoked paprika
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinesd and drained
- 1 good pour of bourbon
In a large skillet, cook the bacon, in batches, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Cook the onion and peppers in the bacon grease until soft, maybe 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to get any stuck-on bits. Add the brown sugar, tomato sauce-BBQ mixture, mustard powder, molasses, and paprika and cook, stirring, until well mixed. Add the beans and cook until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bourbon. Break the bacon up into chunks and stir through. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper (amounts depend on the saltiness of your bacon and beans).
Transfer the mixture to a small casserole (maybe 3 quarts), cover, and let bake for 3 hours.
NOTE: Penzeys suggests baking at 350F for an hour. I like the longer, slower cooking time so the flavors can develop. I bet this would work in a slow cooker, or even simply simmered on the stove (although you may need to add more liquid).