Barbecue beans are standard fare in Kansas City barbecue — but they are not all the same.
By ARDIE A. DAVIS
Some are mediocre. Some are so good you could make them your main entrée. We have our favorites and will defend them to the hilt.
Adam says, “I’ll pit my BB’s Lawnside and Jack Stack beans against your LC’s and Zarda’s beans any day, anytime, anywhere!”
Rachel replies, “Game on!”
They can argue and do blind tasting panel judging ad infinitum and no one will win. Taste is personal. You like so-and-so’s beans. I don’t. Or I do. That’s as far as it can go.
Every Cowtowner holds fast to their most loved-barbecue beans, but here’s a homestyle recipe that you’ll move to the top of your favs list.
Remus’ Homestyle BBQ Beans
Decades ago Chef Paul Kirk told me how he makes barbecue beans. I liked the results and have added my own variations over the years. That’s the value of homestyle. You start with a basic recipe and tweak it with other favorite ingredients. Don’t skimp on the meat!
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red, green, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 15-ounce cans pork & beans, rinsed, fat cubes removed
1 14.75-ounce can cream style sweet corn
1 4-ounce can diced mild green chiles
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 to 2 cups sweet tomato base barbecue sauce. I add a mix of opened sauces from my refrigerator, but I always use a cup of KC Masterpiece Original.
1/3 cup mustard base barbecue sauce or prepared mustard
2 to 3 cups barbecue rib trimmings, leftover rib meat, brisket or a combo of bbq meats, chopped
Water, wine or beer for thinning
Sauté the chopped onion and bell pepper in canola oil until tender. Put all ingredients in a ceramic or ovenproof glass bowl; stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients. Simmer uncovered in your covered grill or indoor oven at 225 to 250 degrees for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If using your grill, put a handful of pecan or apple chips on the coals and lid the grill. Whatever meat you’re smoking, plan to add the beans the last 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Note: It is important to rinse the pork and beans. Otherwise it will taste like doctored-up pork and beans.
Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, his most recent release “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”