Busch’s keeps a tight lid on their secret baked beans recipe, but you’re welcome to try mine. These Whiskey and Apple Baked Beans use Knob Creek Rye and a sheet of bacon to make the world’s best side dish.
You might be asking yourself, “Colin, why do you put booze in everything you make for the Guyism Grill?” That’s a dumb question, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Because it’s awesome, that’s why. I’m not cooking for Colin Jr. over here, so I might as well incorporate everything that makes a meal great. Booze and bacon improve anything, so I’ll use them as often as humanly possible.
For Whiskey and Apple Baked Beans, the booze is tucked away in the Knob Creek Rye whiskey BBQ Sauce. We featured the video of Chef Michael Symon making it a few months back, and I’ve just been waiting for an excuse to use it in a recipe.
Last week’s Jim Beam Whiskey Meatballs had a thick KC style BBQ sauce, so this was the perfect opportunity to go a different direction with a more of a South Caroline style (I think). Check out the Michael Symon post for how to make this BBQ sauce, no reason to duplicate here.
I hope you like easy recipes, because this one doesn’t get much more simple. The most difficult part of the whole thing was probably transferring the BBQ sauce from a bowl in which it was made to that fancy bottle you see in the picture.
There are a couple things to note. You are actually going to use uncooked bacon, I just happened to have cooked lying on the counter for breakfast and used it for the picture. Also, if you use the Knob Creek Rye BBQ Sauce (which you should), leave out the yellow mustard in this recipe. That BBQ sauce is mostly mustard to begin with, and adding more would be overkill.
Combine the apples, beans and onions in a bowl (no need to segregate them like a holiday popcorn tin) and then get dirty mixing it all together with the BBQ sauce. You want make sure everything is well coated.
Fun Fact: the myth that you won’t cry if you chew gum while chopping onions is 100% true. Try it while you make these, unless of course you’re in need of a good cry.
Bacon! While this might look like a super sweet bacon weave, it’s actually just 1″ pieces. I wanted as much as possible on there which is why I made sure to fit it all together like the world’s easiest puzzle.
After 45 minutes you’ll tell bacon it can leave timeout and go play with the other kids. You don’t want to make it sit on top all by itself forever.
In the end, you get a dish that looks a lot this, assuming of course you made the exact same trivial errors I did. Give it a little time to stop being ridiculously hot, and then mix it well before serving. The BBQ sauce has a habit of slipping to the bottom, and it’s nice to re-coat all the beans before serving.
Baked beans are a great side (or meal for you vegetarians), so there’s no reason to let it be boring. Using three different beans is a good start, but it’s really the apples that push this dish over the edge. Of course the booze and bacon certainly dodn’t hurt either. I even took a few pieces of that previously cooked bacon and made pork feathers on top just for good measure. What’s a dish without a garnish?
Whiskey and Apple Baked Beans is a bastardization of this recipe. I varied the beans, used much better apples, and swapped in a BBQ sauce that’s 1000x more delicious. Aside from those epic changes the process is the same.
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can white kidney beans, drained
- 1 can black beans, drained,
- 1/2 cup Knob Creek Rye Whiskey BBQ Sauce
- (1/4 cup yellow mustard if you use regular BBQ sauce)
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 3 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 6 slices lean center cut thin bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Make Whiskey BBQ sauce.
- Combine beans, onion, apples, and BBQ sauce. Pour into a glass baking dish.
- Artfully arrange as many pieces of bacon as possible on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in bacon pieces. BBQ sauce tends to sink, so re-incorporate it.
- Return to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.
- Take bite, burn mouth, realize it should rest for 15 minutes.
- Never eat normal beans again.