Driveway World – what we call our little neighborhood and the Thompson's backyard--had its annual Rib Fest over Labor Day Weekend. Grill Master Ben made 9 racks of ribs, each sprayed with Whiskey...bless him and give him a medal! He sure knew how to please this crowd and, man, they were delicious. All of the neighbors that make up Driveway World were asked to bring a side to pass and a BBQ sauce. I wanted to make something I knew my neighbor (and good friend) Jon would eat. He is one of the pickiest eaters I know! Jon doesn’t like sour cream, mayo, onions, cooked carrots, any type of mushrooms, plus a whole lot of other foods I’d consider bringing. But I knew Jon couldn’t turn down beans—and I knew he’d never had beans like the ones I make! These beans are not straight out of the can, but are filled with bacon, ground beef, sugar, and a touch of vinegar. Jon said these were the best thing I have made for him…ever! Notice, how he said I made these for him. J Thanks to Alex’s Aunt Cindy for the tip and the inspiration to create my version of the Chuckwagon classic, Settler Beans.
The two biggest tips I can give you when doing this recipe are:
1. Make these a day or two beforehand. You’ll want the juices to soak into the beans and just “hang out” together for a while.
2. Taste as you go. If you think it needs more chili powder, salt, sugar, just add it. Above all, get your tasting spoon out and use it!
Katrina’s Chuckwagon Beans
1 pound ground beef or chuck
1 medium onion, diced
1 can (15-3/4 ounces) pork and beans
2 can (16 ounces) light or dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
3 T prepared course grainy mustard
1 T chili powder
2 t salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flake
1 packet of bacon, diced in lardons (1/4 cut pieces)
· Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown the beef in a Dutch oven until no longer pink.
· Add the chopped onion and continue to cook until onion is tender. Drain any excess grease.
· Add remaining ingredients except bacon and stir to combine. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid.
· Bake for 1 hour. While beans are in the oven, cook the bacon over medium low in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan, stirring occasionally until the bacon is crispy.
· Remove bacon from pan onto a plate with paper towel and set aside.
· After the hour baking time is over, add bacon to the bean mixture and bake for another 5 minutes without the cover.
You can either serve this right away or let this mixture cool and throw it in the fridge. When you need to reheat them, put the cover on the pot and heat on the stove top on medium/low until the beans are warm all the way through, stirring gently every once-in-a-while.
Don’t forget to taste them and adjust seasonings to your liking