Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sweet & Spicy Baked Butterbeans, Brisket & Bacon

The holidays are over and I'm still dealing with a few bits and pieces of the Ghost of Christmas Dinner Past. Admittedly, this was a friendly ghost...there's nothing spooky about a great big smoked brisket!

Ahhhhhh, the brisket. Not to brag here, but this was the best brisket I've ever smoked....hell, it's the best brisket I've ever eaten! For sure, I've upped my skills over the years, but it was the quality of that huge cut of beef that made all the difference. 

Have you been to Butcher on Butler in Lawrenceville yet? Thank goodness I found them. Right after coming back from our trip to the Bourbon Trail, I hit them up for some really good thick-sliced bacon to recreate the Bacon in a Glass with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce we'd enjoyed at OBC Kitchen in Lexington, KY. Whoa! Best. Bacon. Ever! My version kicked some major bacon butt, too...again it's the quality of the meat. I knew right then and there where I was getting my Christmas brisket. (You can bet the bacon recipe will be hitting Dinner Plan-it soon.)

Okay, back to the brisket. I put the 11 1/2 pound deckle-on, spice-rubbed beauty on to smoke Christmas Eve. Christmas morning there was a miracle of a gorgeously smoke-ringed, juicy hunk of brisket waiting to be sliced for dinner. Opening the door of the smoker was just like opening a Christmas present!

After using the leftover brisket in sandwiches, brisket hash, and such, I had one last hunk...and I was looking for something a little different to use it all up. A one pot wonder perhaps...and so a nice pot of rich, hearty, smoky beans with brisket and bacon - and a little heat and sweet was born.

Sweet & Spicy Baked Butterbeans, Brisket & Bacon

  • 1 lb large lima beans, soaked overnight according to package directions - reserve the soaking water!
  • 1/2 lb thick sliced slab bacon cut across into 1/4" lardons (yes, I got it at Butcher on Butler!)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) fire roasted diced garlic tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound smoked brisket, cut into 1/2" squares
  • T instant coffee powder
  • 3 T maple syrup - the real stuff, not fake pancake syrup
  • 1/4 C blackstrap molasses
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 T Jane's Crazy Salt
  • 2 T Mike's Hot Honey
  • LOTS of fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 C reserved bean soaking water - add chicken stock if you don't have a full 4 C

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Using a large ovenproof Dutch oven or large, deep enameled casserole dish, saute the bacon long enough to release the fat. Add the onion and jalapenos and saute until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. 

Cover the dish and bake for 4 hours. Increase the oven temp to 400 degrees, UNCOVER the casserole dish and continue baking another hour. 

NOTE: I went back to B on B for my good luck New Year's kielbasa to tuck in with some good ole Pittsburgh sauerkraut. When I picked up my order after waiting in a long line with other meatlovers in the know, the meat sticks were still warm from the smoker. Meat heaven!

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