(Since it’s that time of year again, we started looking for ideas to enhance your cookout experience. The following is from the National Barbecue Association
Preparing Your Beans (Recipe)
There is an art and process to preparing beans just as there is for barbecue, yet many folks express the need for tips on preparing lentils in a manner that reduces the familiar complaint about the discomfort that often follows. This article may help you avoid some of those concerns. The most common types of lentil associated with barbecue is, of course the pinto, red, and pork and bean legumes. Americans reportedly eat 7.4 pounds of legumes per year and growing. Yet, current dietary guidelines indicate we need to consume about 26 pounds a year to benefit from their fiber, vitamins and nutrients including their contribution to reducing heart disease and some cancers. However, there is always the un-enviable image problem beans have to overcome.
There is always the choice of preparing scratch dried beans or pre-cooked canned beans. Understand the time you have before serving, then choose the one you want. Of course this decision is always a matter of time and personal preference on your part. For the dried beans there are the decisions to pre-soak the beans or not.
To Soak or Not to Soak
For dried beans it is generally accepted that the fresher the bean, less or no soaking may be required. Some packages will have harvest dates on them, but most will not. One pound of dried beans equals to two cups, and will produce six cups of cooked beans. If you believe that soaking your beans will help, then:
1. First sort through them to pick out the debris or small stones that might have accidentally gotten in the mix.
2. Place in a large pot and add about 10 cups of water for each pound of beans.
a. For a long soak such as overnight, allow the beans to rest in the cold water.
b. For a shorter soak, bring the water and beans to a boil for about two to three minutes and remove heat and allow them to soak about an hour.
3. Drain the water from the beans and rinse to remove some of the starches associated with gas bloating.
4. Use fresh water to cook the beans.
Cooking the Beans:
It will require anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of cooking generally determined by the size and age of the beans. To prevent the skins on the beans from remaining tough, avoid adding salt or any acidic ingredients until the beans are considered tender. Some folks like to mash up some of the beans to thicken the broth flavor. The longer the simmer time allows you to flavor the beans with your favorite ingredients such as smoked BBQ meat, onions, garlic, syrup, ketchup, tomatoes, peppers, beer, your secret seasonings, and don’t forget the salt and pepper you left out during soaking earlier.
There are many good seasoning recipes on the internet and various barbecue cook books.
A 15 oz can contains 1 ½ cups of beans. You should consider draining and rinsing canned beans before warming them prior to serving. This will also cut down on the likelihood of potential flatulence. There is little doubt that canned beans save you time and many brands are quite delicious as well. Whatever you choose, you must agree they are like ham and eggs with barbecue.
For more barbecue ideas, recipes, and tips visit the National Barbecue Association at: http://www.nbbqa.org/