I like to hunt, there’s no doubt about that. On our little 70 acre ranch we can harvest a few deer and hogs throughout the year to keep us fed without having to resort to slaughtering the animals we raise. We’re supposed to slaughter the animals we raise, but come on…they have NAMES. You can’t eat ‘Bottle Baby’. It’d just be wrong. Right?
So, we eat wild hog a lot. They’re ugly, nasty, mean little critters that tear everything up. They breed prolifically, and honestly, they just need controlled.
The other day I had laid out some ribs to put in the slow cooker, and wanted some beans to go with it. I thought about baked beans, but I’m not a huge fan of that super sweet Boston style flavor or navy beans in general. Face it, I’m a Texan and we eat pinto and red beans in just about everything. So I thought about opening a can or two of Ranch Style Beans but wanted something a tad sweet.
Since I already had a spice rub mixed up for the ribs, I thought Hey! Let’s use that in the Ranch Style Beans and make ‘baked beans’.
I can tell you now, the idea was a good one. The end results were phenomenal.
Out of this world.
No really. It was.
I wound up not even baking the beans but letting them slow cook in a pan on the stove until they were super thick. They turned out perfect. Cooking them in the oven would have done about the same thing, so you can do either.
Heat up about a tablespoon of bacon grease in a stock pot.
I’d like to say bacon grease isn’t important, but in my world it just is. It’s good stuff. So use it.
Dice up half an onion, and saute it in the bacon grease.
If you like chunky stuff, you can dice it up thicker. I wanted a fine dice, where the onions were just a backdrop to the final product. Saute them over medium high heat until they’re translucent and beginning to brown a little. That’s when onion starts getting really sweet.
That’s the good stuff right there. Nom!
Now, take two tablespoons of the spice mix and sprinkle it over the onions in the pan.
Keep your fire medium high. You’re going to want the spices, oil, and brown sugar in the spices to caramelize in the bottom of the pan.
Keep stirring it so nothing burns, but you want it to begin browning. If it starts sticking, don’t worry over it. We’ll get those bits up in a minute. Cook this a little while, 5 minutes or so, so it’s good and caramelized.
You could probably eat it as is right about now with some cream cheese and crackers. Dadgum, it should be smelling spicy and sweet and a lot like candy.
I used 2 cans of Ranch Style Beans and one can of black beans. I wanted the black beans for color only, they don’t really add or take away from the recipe. They give the sauce a deeper, darker hue that just made it pretty in the end.
The Ranch Style Beans I used were a combination of a large can of regular, and a small can of RSB’s with jalapeno. If you’re not familiar with RSB’s – a Texas staple – they’re not like ‘chili beans’ you find in northern states. NOTHING like those. The flavor is more robust, a little greasy, and oh so good. If you can’t buy them where you are, order them off of Amazon.
I know when I lived in Illinois for 3 months – long before the internet – I would have killed for a can.
Pour the small can of RSBs in the pot.
Stir the beans around and loosen up all those bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep your fire medium high, and then toss in another tablespoon or so of the spice mix.
We’re adding the spices at different times because we want layers of intensity of the heat, sweet, and flavors. By cooking some over the high heat first, they get toasted and roasted. Adding some in now in the savory, tomato based sauces they’ll not cook but instead absorb into the beans and juices. Lots of layers and flavors.
Go ahead and toss in the black beans.
Mix well, and put in the large can of RSBs. Continue stirring and then add one more tablespoon of the spices.
Taste it. Go on ahead, no one’s watching.
Hey. I said taste. I know you licked the spoon, dipped it and licked it again.
I saw you.
I did. See you that is. I didn’t lick the spoon.
I licked the whole dadgum spatula. But just once. For real.
I had to taste it! So I added a 1/4 cup of molasses. Because molasses is a healing herb.
It is. Trust me.
If you want, you can add another spoonful of the spices. I did. And more red pepper.
Turn your fire down on low, and let it bubble there on the stove for a good long while. Stir it now and then to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom.
It’ll cook down and condense over time until it’s thick like real baked beans are. If you’ve ever had real baked beans. I can’t say I’ve ever had made from scratch baked beans. But you know the texture. Super thick, won’t drip off the spoon.
At this point your beans should be spicy, sweet, BBQey, and not like baked beans at all. But sort of. In a way.
If you’re not used to spice, your nose may even run. But they shouldn’t be overly hot. Just that good sweet hot that comes with all great Texas BBQ.
Thick. Spicy. Sweety. Heaven.
Serve them up with some BBQ ribs, some BBQ Rustic Biscuits, some cheesy smashed potatoes and some ‘Almost Riscky’s but Not Quite’ BBQ sauce.
2 T bacon grease
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 can black beans
1 large can Ranch Style Beans original flavor
1 can Ranch Style Beans with Jalapeno
1/4 cup molasses
Spice Mix – mix well
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons ground mustard
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar