To celebrate the release of A Summertime Grilling Guide from The Splendid Table, I am attempting to grill my way through the book’s many surprising recipes. To catch up on previous dishes and read extended journal entries, you can follow my blog here.
A few weeks ago, I described my 15 minute rule for cooking. This recipe in no way meets the 15 minute rule but was worth the effort despite a few self-inflicted problems along the way.
The taste and smell of the beans are intoxicating. As Lynne states, “they are unlike any baked beans they know. Sticky, sweet-tart and smoky.” This is more than a bean dish, it is a hotdish - a meal unto itself.
I will say, something went wrong in step one and I never quite recovered. I boiled water and poured over the beans and soaked them for the recommended two hours. I drained them and put them in a 6 Qt pot and covered with water, being sure to add the garlic, all spice and onions. I don’t think I had the heat high enough when simmering because the beans never seemed to get tender as the book states.
I soldiered on though and completing all the remaining steps and placing the beans in the oven. After 2 hours, I tasted them and the beans were still hard, not even firm, thus I left them in the oven. After 6 hours, I gave up and decided to serve them as is. The reaction from the group was mixed about the beans… some liked the beans a bit on the firmer side and some thought they should be more tender… I can’t do anything about that. The one thing everyone in the group did agree on was that the flavor of the beans were among the best anyone had ever tasted. I do say that the bacon has a lot to do with that … nothing has the flavor of good bacon and when combined with cooking in the same pot and leaving some of the bacon fat, the result is AMAZING. This is a dish you are sure to enjoy!
The caramelized baked beans are a dish I will prepare again. The flavors were wonderful, even with a bean that still seemed a tad hard. Since it doesn’t meet my own 15 minute rule, I would prepare this dish a few days ahead and then refrigerate until the day of the gathering and possibly heat them on the grill while your main dish cooks.