Following my trip to Syracuse and dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and with it being deep into the summer season, I thought I’d post a recipe for baked beans. Side dishes are often overlooked at a barbecue feast, but you need those complementary accompaniments to provide variety and cut through the fatty richness of barbecued meats. Besides, I’ve posted before on how to make pork ribs and grilled chicken, so this time, I’m showing you a side instead.

When I think of baked beans, I think of my elementary school cafeteria lunch days when a scoop of canned baked beans were sloshed onto my styrofoam tray. But baked beans don’t have to come from a can—they’re actually easy to make from scratch. Sweet, salty, savory, and tender, baked beans make a great side dish for your next summer barbecue.

Pressure cookers are ideal when it comes to making beans–you don’t have to pre-soak or cook for a long time. I just rinse the beans and throw them straight into the pressure cooker with enough liquid to cover, set, and do my thang until my timer goes off. I have both an InstantPot and a traditional non-electric Presto pressure cooker, and I use both regularly. In fact, I will go as far as to say pressure cookers have been a life changer–just watch my holiday gift guide 2016 to learn why.

Now here’s my recipe for baked beans using both a pressure cooker and the classic stovetop method. Happy cooking!

Recipe: Baked Beans

Notes: Serve as a side to barbecued and grilled meats.

Ingredients

  • 2 c dried pinto beans
  • 3 tbsp molasses or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced

Instructions

  1. Cook beans using stovetop: Soak beans overnight. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook beans in enough water to cover until just tender, approx 1.5h; drain, reserving liquid.
  2. Cook beans using pressure cooker: In a pressure cooker, combine beans and enough water to cover and cook at 15 PSI for 30m; drain, reserving liquid.
  3. Bake beans: Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together molasses, ground mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and salt & pepper to taste; cook until incorporated, stirring frequently. In a greased 2-qt baking dish, spread 1/2 the beans, then 1/2 the bacon and onion; repeat with remaining beans, bacon, and onion. Pour molasses mixture over beans and add reserved bean liquid as needed to cover. Cover and bake for 1.5h. Uncover, add reserved liquid as needed, and bake until tender, approx 1.5h more.
  4. Let stand 10m before serving.

Active time: 30m
Total time: 5h
Yields: 6 servings

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