Bourbon Baked Beans
By now we know how well Bourbon works with savory and sweet combos (seriously, if you haven’t tried the Honey Bourbon Pulled Pork you have to). I’m taking that a step further. Bakes beans, sweet with chunks of bacon or salt pork, why not add Bourbon to the mix. Turns out, it’s delicious!
These beans are sweet, salty and syrupy with chunks of salt pork and the zip of Bourbon provides a nice aftertaste. It does take a while, but once it’s in the oven, it’s pretty low-maintenance.
Let’s get to it!
Start by preheating your oven to 300° with the top rack in the lower third.
The first thing is cooking the salt pork in a Dutch oven over medium heat. You should able to find salt pork in the meat department at your local grocery next to the bacon, or soup bones. It’s similar to bacon because it’s pork belly, but it just hasn’t been cured the way bacon is. I chose it instead of bacon because I didn’t want the smokiness of bacon to overwhelm the lovely Bourbon flavor. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, just make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pot that can go in the oven. Cook the salt pork until it’s started to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
Now add the onions and cook another 5 or so minutes until the onion is softened.
Now it’s time to add the beans, water, Bourbon, 1/2 cup of molasses (the rest of the molasses will be added later) and salt.
I used cannellini beans, they’re the perfect size to hold the sauce’s flavor, but you could also use navy or another smaller white bean. Stir and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. You’ll cook this until it starts to boil.
Put on the lid and move everything to the oven. Cook it for about 4 hours, making sure to stir it halfway through. After the 4 hours, the beans should be tender, if not, cook a bit longer. I used the time the beans were cooking to do a load of laundry and brainstorm meal ideas for the next week. 🙂
Now take the beans out of the oven and add the rest of the molasses and the apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will cut through the rich sweetness of the molasses and add some brightness. Stir to mix it all together and put the beans back in the oven without the lid. Removing the lid will allow the liquid to thicken (yum).
Cook the bean for another hour, or until the liquid has thickened to your liking. Serve hot.
The beans will keep in the fridge about a week and heat up in the microwave or on the stovetop wonderfully. If heating on the stovetop, cook on low heat so it doesn’t burn. The hunks of pork are meaty and will melt in your mouth and work perfectly with the sweet molasses and Bourbon. Enjoy at your next cookout, we certainly will!
- 8 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 pound dry white beans
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup molasses
- 9 cups water
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- Preheat to oven to 300° with the top rack in the lower third.
- Cook the salt pork in a Dutch oven over medium heat until it's started to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the onions and cook another 5 or so minutes until the onion is softened.
- Add the beans, water, 1/2 cup of molasses, Bourbon and salt. Stir and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook this until it starts to boil.
- Put on the lid and in the oven on a lower rack. Cook for about 4 hours or until tender, making sure to stir it halfway through.
- Take the beans out of the oven and add the rest of the molasses and the apple cider vinegar. Stir it all together and put the beans back in the oven without the lid.
- Cook the bean for another hour, or until the liquid has thickened to your liking. Serve hot.