Spicy Baked Beans, just in time for the 4th…oops.

I’ve had a note to myself to write about this for weeks. Oops. But hey, the summer’s not over yet, surely we’ll all have more BBQ’s and picnics that call for yummy baked beans. If not, well hey, the note is not going to keep till next year.

We spent the 4th up at Bear’s folks place, but we came from our early anniversary date in LA, so I had to make my contribution to the picnic there in someone else’s kitchen with all different stuff than I’m used to, and with no recipes since mine are all still packed up. So I did what I always do in a pinch, I went to foodnetwork.com and looked for a recipe by Alton Brown. That man has never steered me wrong. I came across this recipe which looked great for a starter, and then I monkeyed with it a little bit. But a very little bit because Alton can always be trusted. I just didn’t have two days for bean making, so I had to improvise.

Tresa’s Spicy On the Fly Beans
2 cans Great Northern beans
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large can tomato paste
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash of liquid smoke (optional, don’t go buying liquid smoke just for this)
red pepper flakes to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Random spice mixtures if you’ve got em.

Place a big fat pot or skillet over medium heat and stir the bacon and onions together until enough fat has rendered from the bacon to soften the onions, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, and molasses.

Add the beans including all the liquid to the bacon mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add in cayenne, black pepper, red pepper, liquid smoke and salt. This is also a good place to use any miscellaneous spice mixtures you having cluttering up your spice cabinet. My Mother-in-law had some big tub of Emeril spices lying around, so I dumped a little of that in. If I was at home I would have used this great spice rub mix I got from my favorite BBQ restaurant.

Turn the heat down to a low simmer and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, but the longer the better. Serve immediately.