Drunken Cowboy Beans
Drunken Cowboy Beans
By Chef Sheamus Feeley, Executive Chef & Partner, Farmstead Restaurant
I only use Rancho Gordo beans in the restaurant, as I feel they are the best dried bean available. I never have to soak them, and they cook fast, with great-tasting pot liquor. Pinquito beans are a classic side to Central Coast barbecue (Santa Maria style) here in California. I call them "Cowboy Beans" when I serve them with my whole-hog barbecue. But with a little Maker’s Mark® Bourbon... I think 'Drunken Cowboy Beans' is a better title.
- 1 pound Rancho Gordo dried pinquito beans, soaked in cold water overnight
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered with the root still intact
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into 3" pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme, 8 peppercorns), tied up in cheesecloth
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 8 cups water
- 2/3 cup Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
- 1 pound Benton’s Slab Bacon, cut 1/4" x 1/4"
- 1-1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
- 1/4 cup garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 4 cups chicken stock or pot liquor from beans
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Cooked beans (recipe below)
- 2 cups barbecue sauce, vinegar based
- Salt to taste
- For cooked beans, combine beans, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bouquet garni, kosher salt and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook the beans until they are tender, but still firm, about 30 minutes.
- Drain the beans and discard the vegetables and aromatics, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid.
- For Cowboy Beans, render the bacon until crisp in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Add the onion and sweat on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Do not brown.
- Add remaining ingredients, except for the barbecue sauce and Maker’s Mark® Bourbon.
- Simmer for an hour.
- Remove from the flame and stir in the bourbon and barbecue sauce.
- Return the pot to the heat and cook for an additional 15 minutes on low heat, until alcohol is not "hot."
- Adjust the seasoning with salt.
- Place in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish and bake at 500°F (about 8–10 minutes) until the sides begin to caramelize and bubble.
- Serve immediately.