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Feb 23, 2012 05:55 PM

Beans with Ribs

I am planning on making these beans to go with some BBQ ribs on Saturday. Any ideas for additions, deletions or substitutions? I'm looking for something close to baked beans, but cooked in a dutch oven on the stove.

1 lb. navy beans, yellow-eye beans, or other dried white beans
4 oz. salt pork, rind removed in one piece and reserved, meat cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion (5 to 6 oz.), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic (optional)
4 to 5 cups Chicken broth or stock
2 Tbs. dark molasses (but not blackstrap)
3 Tbs. Tomato ketchup
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
1 Tbs. apple-cider vinegar
¼ cup tequila
Maybe some tomatoes and or tomato paste
Pick over the beans for imperfections or foreign matter. Soak them in water overnight. Discard any “floaters” and drain.

Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy-based 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add the diced salt pork and cook until crisp and golden, letting most of the fat render, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic (if using) and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add 4 cups of the chicken stock, the molasses, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the drained beans and the reserved pork rind and wait for the boil to return. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
After the beans have been in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 300°F. After 1 hour, check the pot and add water as needed to keep the beans just barely covered. Check it again every hour.

The beans are ready when they’re very soft and tender yet still retain their shape, about 2 to 2-1/2 hours for navy beans; 3-1/2 hours for yellow-eye beans. Remove the beans from the oven and discard the pork rind. Add the vinegar and season the beans with salt and more pepper, if you like. Stir the beans gently; as you stir, the starches will be released and the baked beans will become lightly thickened.

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  1. in my opinion, you need to cook the beans before you add the acidic ketchup and molasses, otherwise, they won't get soft. see how the steps are in this recipe:

    """Food scientists have learned that several substances added to the cooking liquid can impact the softening of beans. Sometimes, slow softening over several hours is desirable, if, for example, you have a dish that needs hours of cooking to develop flavors and you don't want the beans to fall apart into mush. Other times, faster softening is desired, such as if you need the finished cooked beans more quickly, or if you want a more pureed-like end product.

    Softening can be slowed by the addition of these substances to the cooking liquid:

    Acids work by making structures called hemicelluloses in the cell wall of the bean seed more stable and less inclined to dissolve in water. Sugars work in two ways: they strengthen the cell walls and slow the swelling of the starch granules within the cotyledons. Calcium also works on the cells walls, cross-linking and strengthening their pectins.

    So, for example, if you live in an area with "hard water," with high levels of calcium and magnesium, and you use that water for your cooking liquid, you will slow the softening of your beans, and may even prevent them from softening fully. Or, if you add a substance like molasses to your cooking water (molasses is slightly acidic, and rich in sugar and calcium), the molasses will work to slow the softening of beans in four different ways: stabilizing hemicelluloses, strengthening cells walls, slowing the swelling of starch granules, and cross-linking pectins.""""

    the effect is also described here: as

    maybe there isn't enough acid in your recipe to make much of a difference, though…but i think i'd cook the beans a while first. maybe the amount will help the beans retain their firmer shape and texture over a very long slow cook.

    to reiterate, here is the technique that you should take as instructive…from the horse's mouth, the bean council:
    my mom always started with a can of pork and beans. ;-D, then doctored it like paula deen's recipe, with mustard, onion, brown sugar.

    finally, your recipe could use more onion, in my opinion, and i would use water and not chicken stock. dijon or yellow mustard will be fine, gulden's…whatever…good strong mustard. in the south, back in the day, we were not using dijon, but french's yellow mustard. i'd go with french's for nostalgia's sake…but that's me. i'd also like some diced slab bacon in the dish. i'd use some brown sugar, too.

    i'd use this recipe and go from here:

    2 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Thanks for the links about bean softtening. I have had trouble with that in the past.

      More onion, Guldens and bacon are in. I'll cook the beans seperate, in water, till almost soft then add to the mix to mingle and get delicious. I like adding chicken stock to most soup, chili or stew rcipes. Why add water, ie no flavor, when you can add another layer of taste, unless of course you don't want that taste. So for this chicken stock will go in.

      Thanks very much for the ideas.

      1. re: JuniorBalloon

        junior balloon, but these beans are to eat with a different kind of meat. these aren't soup beans. chicken stock will give it a weird flavor, in my humble opinion. you get the flavor from the pork and the onion, garlic, worcestershire, mustard, etc. you don't need stock. it is gilding the lily and taking the flavor in a different direction than traditional baked beans for bbq.

    2. Are BBQ ribs smoked or grilled?? If they're smoked if you can save some of the rendered fat, use that. If you have rib trimmings (if smoked) use those instead of the salt pork.

      I'd just use more ketchup rather than paste or tomatoes.

      BBQ seasoning. Be carefull you don't end up with them being too salty.

      Other than that, looks good.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        Ribs will be smoked, low and slow. I will try to add some of the fat, though timing will be an issue. I would like to add the fat when the onions are sauteing, but the beans need to be ready when teh ribs are done. I like that idea, just have to see how it works out. I'll deffinitely cut some of the crispy ends and toss those in the pot.

        Thanks for the ideas.

      2. Junior...I cook stove top beans all the time....I prefer them. ~~ Here are my ideas for "additions, deletions or substitutions" ~~ I wing it, so I have no exact amounts to offer

        Salt pork is good...bacon is better...Maybe use both ~ I do ~ Several pieces. Don't be bashful.
        Lots more onion....I also use a little diced pepper ~ Camp Cut.
        Lots more garlic.....Go for it!!! ...Don't burn it while sauteing
        Yellow mustard in place of Dijon....Make em tangy!
        I use dark brown sugar....molasses/Cane syrup will work...As sweet as you like
        Water instead of chicken stock/broth...
        Make a Margarita out of the tequila.:) (If the urge hits ya, a splash of dry white wine want hurt a ting). :)
        Sometimes I feel like a 10 oz. can of tomatoes and chilies drained...Sometimes I don't.
        Mostly just....

        Have fun and Enjoy!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          More garlic and more onion is in. Can of tomaotes is in. I am a brown mustard kind of guy. For some reason I've never cared for yellow mustard. Tequila will go in with the sauteing onions to let the alcohol cook off, and much like wine, can give a nice flavor if you don't use too much. I may still make a maragrita. :o)

          Thanks for the ideas.

          1. re: JuniorBalloon

            IF you have the sharp french's it is better **in this app**…even though i said gulden's was ok.

            have you used tequila in beans as a rule before? it is new to me. what does it bring to the party?

            1. re: JuniorBalloon

              That's a can of tomatoes and Chilies (Rotel) drained....added at the end.... as an option..not as a rule.
              Ya really need to try a good shot of Yellow mustard...The taste of mustard is not In your face...but adds a nice twang layer to the beans....


              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Yep, I use a good squirt of cheap, yellow mustard, and some catsup in mine... along with other ingredients.

          2. I cook my beans first, then do all the add ins and cook some more. Because of the acid and salt, the beans don't get mushy when cooked further.
            Do you have a link for the recipe?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wyogal

              I'm cooking those beans first. It just makes so much more sense. Here is a link to the original recipe.



            2. BTW, I use canned navy beans and don't have to worry about them turning out tough. Just food for thought as it were.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Davwud

                I sometimes use canned beans. Since I'm working on my dried bean skills with this dish I'm going dried. I usually don't think about a bean dish the day before and end up using the quick soak method. Add water to beans, bring to a boil for 2 or 3 minutes and then off the heat to sit for an hour or so. This time they're going to get an over night soak.