Bourbon-Bacon Baked Beans

How’s that title for alliteration? Yes, I’m a nerd…I used to be an English teacher, give me a break…

I can always count on Jessica to do an awesome recipe round-up post around a few days before a holiday.  It’s always just the inspiration I need to jump start my menu planning.  When “stuff you can make for Memorial Day” post appeared in my in-box, I got so excited about her baked beans recipe.  It instantly went on my list for the house warming party we were planning.

The only change I really made was decreasing the amount of bourbon added; I halved what she suggested.  We aren’t big bourbon lovers in our house (gasp) and I didn’t want the flavor to be overwhelming.  I found the adjustment to be a good one, still had a hint of the flavor, but not enough to make ya say “wow, that’s bourbon!”  It’s all a matter of your booze preference ladies and gents.

You should make these.  Hands down, best baked beans I’ve ever tasted.

you will need:
1 pound dry navy beans
10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
¾ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
½ cup bourbon
1½ tablespoons ground mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

The night before, add beans to a large pot and cover with water. Drain the next morning. *if you are like me and sort of forgot about this part, let them soak for at least 6 hours or so and just cook them longer.

Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain. While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until caramely and soft. Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine. Add in beans, onions (and all of the bacon fat-YUM) and bacon to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally. After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more.  These beans taste better the longer they sit.

serves: 10+
time: 30 min prep/hands-on time + many hours of soaking and crockpot cooking
barely adapted from: How Sweet It Is

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