One scoop of these beans begs for another. With the first bite of my Backyard Beans with tender chunks of Richard’s Pickled Pork, flavors burst and mix with red beans sweetened with the familiar taste of Louisiana sugarcane molasses. All cooked down into a thickly glazed finish, this meaty bean pot brings magical tastes to your Acadiana table.
Now that the summer season is in full swing, it’s time to roll out the barbecue pits and light the grills for outdoor cooking. No matter what you have planned for your backyard cookout, a pot of baked beans is certain to be on the menu. And here in South Louisiana, beans done right can be the centerpiece of the whole event.
Over in Texas, they’re partial to pinto beans, and I’ve had some tasty Tex-Mex and Southwestern ranch-type bean recipes featuring them. But here in South Louisiana, it’s red bean culture, and as any Cajun knows, we take our beans seriously. And no Cajun cook worth his salt (or his beans) would ever dream of opening up a can of store-bought beans.
Longtime bean cooks swear by one essential ingredient that delivers flavor that can’t be duplicated out of a can—pickled pork. Ask any seasoned backyard connoisseur what their baked bean base consists of, and they’ll tell you: red beans and pickled pork. And many will add that Richard’s Pickled Pork is the best available and the one they swear by.
What many old-school Cajun and Creole cooks refer to as “pickle meat,” has been around since the Civil War era. Before refrigeration, preserving slabs of pork in a salt/sugar curing brine was the only way to have a steady supply on hand. The tradition of adding pickled pork (also called salt pork) to a pot of slow-simmered beans, greens, or any vegetable dish that has a long cooking time is still practiced today by home cooks and restaurant chefs alike. The convenience of buying these products like Richard’s Pickled Pork makes it easy.
With the Certified Cajun stamp of approval, Richard’s Cajun Foods based in Church Point, Louisiana has a long heritage of sausage-making, and their refrigerated Pickled Pork product is available most everywhere throughout the region. Perfectly cured and pre-cut into cubes, this slab of boneless pork adds bright flavor and spice to a pot of red beans. And the meat that cooks down in the pot is one of the highlights of my Backyard Beans dish.
In this recipe, I’m soaking my beans before cooking. And I’m pulling out the fastest cooking method I know—the slow cooker. These beans will cook while you sleep and will be perfect when you wake up. I’m adding in the Cajun trinity of aromatics and layering in plenty of sugar and spice with sugarcane molasses, brown sugar, canned chipotle chiles with adobo, and Creole mustard. It’s all gently simmered with a pound of Richard’s Pickled Pork until they cook down and burst with flavor. What’s not to like in this recipe?
So if your baked beans have never quite fired up your guests, then bring out this Backyard Beans recipe and discover how tasty this dish can be.
- 2 (1-pound) packages dried red beans
- 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 (16-ounce) package Richard's Pickled Pork
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup sugarcane molasses
- 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups water
- Soak the beans by adding them to a covered container and filling with water. Cover and let soak overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. Drain and set aside.
- In a large slow cooker (I use an 8-quart size), add the beans along with the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Add the pickled pork meat along with the brown sugar, molasses, chiles with sauce, and mustard; stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and add the bay leaves. Add 4 cups of water. Cover and cook on high for 10 hours (or overnight) until the beans are tender.
- Once the beans are tender, turn off the slow cooker and remove the bay leaves. Serve from the ceramic pot or pour the beans in a serving dish.
This post is in partnership with Richard’s Cajun Foods. All opinions and selections here are my own. Thank you for supporting the affiliate sponsors who make this blog possible.
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