Contributed by Isaac Woo
Louisiana-Style Baked Beans
- Make the BBQ Sauce: In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine hot sauce, cane vinegar, cane syrup, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and Cajun/Creole seasoning and bring to a simmer. Whisk until incorporated.
- After simmering for 5 minutes, add in the stick of butter and whisk until melted. Simmer for another 5 minutes until the butter is incorporated into the BBQ sauce, then turn off the heat. Let it cool and set aside 2 ½ cups of the BBQ sauce the baked beans. (Reserve the remainder to use as a marinade or basting sauce for grilling.)
- Turn up the grill to high heat.
- Butterfly the andouille sausage.
- When the grill is super-hot, place the slab bacon and butterflied sausage on the grill; sear the slab bacon on all 4 sides and the sausage on both sides, turning every 30 seconds or until you see nice charred grill marks. (Note: Do not cook the bacon or sausage through. The goal is to gain a nice char and extra smokiness for the beans.)
- Remove slab bacon and sausage from grill and let them cool until they are easy to handle, then chop them both into ½-inch cubes.
- Place the cubed slab bacon into a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook and stir using a wooden spoon for about 8 minutes or until a decent amount of fat renders out and there is some brown coloring to it. Once there’s a nice layer of fond and rendered fat on the bottom of the pot, remove the slab bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Add the chopped onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper to the Dutch oven and cook and stir over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until they are extremely soft to the touch. The vegetables should deglaze the bottom of the pot and gain a nice, deep color.
- Add the minced garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the beans and stir until everything is mixed well.
- Add the slab bacon, andouille and tasso to the pot and stir until everything is combined.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of the BBQ sauce and the chicken stock and stir to combine.
- Increase heat to high and bring beans to a boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, place the lid on the pot and transfer it into the oven; cook for 4-5 hours or until the beans are tender.
- When beans are tender, remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid and transfer pot to the grill; continue to simmer until beans reach the desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, stir in a cup or 2 of water.
Chef Isaac Woo of Catahoula Catering in Denver, Colorado is a Louisiana native whose mission is to bring authentic, expertly prepared Cajun and Creole dishes to social events large and small. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which means he knows how to throw a really good party.