California Barbecued Beans

Published June 1, 2007.

Why this recipe works:

California barbecued beans recipes use a bean variety and chili sauce rarely found outside of California. We wanted to recreate this regional recipe with nationally available supermarket ingredients. Pink kidney beans proved to be a good stand-in for the hard-to-find pinquito beans called for… read more

California barbecued beans recipes use a bean variety and chili sauce rarely found outside of California. We wanted to recreate this regional recipe with nationally available supermarket ingredients. Pink kidney beans proved to be a good stand-in for the hard-to-find pinquito beans called for in most California barbecued beans recipes. Some recipes suggest using jarred taco sauce alone if the original recipe’s requisite red chili sauce can’t be found, but we found its taste and texture too thin. Instead, we augmented the sauce with a combination of fried bacon, ham, onions, and garlic with tomato puree, brown sugar, and dry mustard, which perfectly captured the chili sauce’s bite.

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Serves 4 to 6

If you can find them, pinquito beans (a variety grown in the Santa Maria Valley) are traditional in this dish. Bottled taco sauce is available in the Mexican aisle of most grocery stores. Don't add the tomato puree, taco sauce, brown sugar, and salt before the beans have simmered for an hour; they will hinder the proper softening of the beans.

Ingredients

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