Baked beans, cole slaw, and smoky meat are the holy trinity of barbecue. Take any one of them away and it’s like sitting on a two-legged stool. You’ll be keenly aware that something very important is missing.
We’re enormous fans of baked beans, and between the two of us we can’t remember ever having a serving we hated. We’ve liked some more than others–but how can you possibly hate any good faith effort at baked beans? I’ve enjoyed cold baked beans from a can, potluck baked beans with chunks of green bell pepper topped with crispy bacon, burnt ends baked beans (among my favorite, to be honest), and breakfast baked beans (in the beautiful Scottish Highlands).
But of all the baked beans I’ve loved, I’ve never had a baked bean recipe that I would swear by – until now. A big tip of the hat to Alton Brown’s Once and Future Beans recipe. The ingredient list is simple, which means that the quality of each ingredient really matters. Sawkill Farm bacon provided the smoky foundation for this batch. Their meat really is amazing! The recipe requires enormous patience (this batch took 20 hours from soaking the beans to a full 8 hours in the oven), but it’s worth every second of the wait.