One of my favorite things about a summer barbecue is a big pot of baked beans. I typically make mine in a Dutch oven on the stove top, but lately I’ve been perfecting some bean recipes in my Smoke Vault. Of those, I think this recipe is my new favorite. It’s adapted from a baked bean recipe that my sister passed to me after she tore it out of an old issue of Food & Wine magazine. The addition of a little barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s original) and a healthy dose of alder smoke give these beans that Wild Chef edge, making them an excellent accompaniment to some ribs or a pulled pork butt.
Pro Tip: If you’re also smoking ribs or a pork shoulder, place the pan of beans on a rack below the meat to catch the drippings.
Smoked Maple Beans
-1 lb. dried kidney or pinto beans
-½ cup maple syrup
-3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
-¼ cup barbecue sauce (or ketchup), plus extra as needed
-2 tsp. dry mustard
-2 tsp. kosher salt
-1 12 oz. package of salt pork
-1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
-2 bay leaves
Pour the beans into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak overnight, then drain.
Transfer the soaked beans to a large pot and add enough cold water to cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, skimming any foam from surface as necessary. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.
Whisk together 2 cups of cooking liquid, maple syrup, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, dry mustard, and kosher salt. Whisk some additional barbecue sauce into remaining cooking liquid at a ratio of 1 tbsp. of sauce per cup of liquid. Reserve.
Transfer the drained beans to a 9×13-inch or similar sized disposable aluminum pan. Cut the salt pork into pieces about the size of a six-sided die. Add to the beans. Push the cloves into the onion quarters and add the onions to the beans, along with the bay leaves.
Pour the maple syrup mixture over beans and transfer the pan to a preheated smoker.
Smoke at 225 degrees for 4 hours. Add additional cooking liquid/barbecue sauce mix as necessary if beans start to dry out.