My only complaint with the recipe was that the salt & acidic ingredients (BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard, & molasses) were added at the beginning. Most recipes caution against doing this because it will make the beans hard & they won't get tender. I kept those ingredients out until the beans had sufficiently softened.
Anyhow, here's the recipe with my notes.
Barbecued Baked Beans
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated 2/2005
4 slices bacon, chopped fine (I either just use 2 slices low sodium bacon or omit altogether)
1 onion , minced
4 cloves garlic , minced
1 pound dried small white beans, rinsed and picked over (See Notes)
8 cups water
1 cup strong coffee, black
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used 1/2 cup Heinz No Salt Added Ketchup & 1 tsp. The Spice House Salt Free Spicy West Indies Barbecue Seasoning)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4-1/2 teaspoons brown mustard, prepared (I used a salt free mustard)
1 tablespoon mild molasses
Hot pepper sauce (such as
Ground black pepper
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the beans, water , coffee, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, mustard, molasses, & 1/2 teaspoon
3. Remove the lid and continue to bake, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Notes : I soaked the beans overnight & rinsed. I cooked them in water for 45 minutes at a very low simmer with 1 bay leaf, 4 small cloves garlic cut in chunks, and a tea ball filled with whole peppercorns, & allspice. I drained them, reserving the cooking water. I sautéed the onion, garlic, & 1/2 a jalapeño pepper in olive oil. I did not use bacon this time. I added the beans & used Pacific Low Sodium Chicken Broth to cover, along with the coffee, and brown sugar. I dumped this all in the slow cooker. I added the molasses, prepared mustard & barbecue sauce (ketchup & spice blend) AFTER the beans became tender. I added 1 tsp. of liquid smoke near the end. I only added ladles of reserved bean cooking liquid if the beans seemed too dry.