posted December 01, 2015
Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans
Looking for the most amazing, hearty, and filling BBQ side around? You can’t go wrong with these Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans! They combine all the best BBQ ingredients for a side that can easily double as the main course.
Bourbon Baked Beans
All of the best and most indulgent things come together for these pork belly and bourbon baked beans. Just saying it sounds a little naughty. Pork belly. Bourbon. Baked beans. Mmm. This is the side dish that will upstage any main course that makes it to the party.
Honestly, I’d be cool if you just served these beans as the main course and skipped the other stuff. These baked beans are layered with flavor in every bite. From the rich, almost sweet, apple braised pork belly to the firm and savory beans every single bite will battle your inner inhibitions to burst out in song while eating.
Pork Belly for Baked Beans
Pork belly is a pretty fun ingredient to work with and it’s been readily available (and dang affordable) at several stores lately. My favorite place to stock up is Costco. I’ll buy a whole slab and turn most of it into homemade bacon and reserve a special section just for these beautiful meaty baked beans. Pork belly is pretty darn fatty, but that means that the meat running through there is ridiculously flavorful and tender.
Start off with a liberal seasoning of the pork belly with my Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub. This stuff is the best of the best. You can make it yourself using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub or buy a bottle from the Hey Grill Hey Store.
How to Make Pork Bourbon Baked Beans
I cooked this whole batch of beans on my smoker, but you can just as easily do the recipe on your stovetop! Your best friend is going to be a heavy-duty cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven because it will evenly distribute the heat throughout the long cook.
These beans are pretty low maintenance to make, just a lot of dumping, covering, and simmering. If you’ve never made baked beans before, this recipe will have you wondering why you spent so many years warming up that canned stuff.
- Pork belly. Start off with cooking the pork belly. Remove the skin and score the fatty side in 1-inch squares. Season with Sweet Rub. on all sides. Smoke (in a smoker preheated to 225 degrees F) for 2 hours.
- Braise. Grab out a Dutch oven and combine apple juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and bourbon. Add the smoked pork belly to the braise, cover, and cook for 2 hours at 275 degrees F.
- Baked beans. Drain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a bowl and remove the pork belly from the Dutch oven. Shred the pork and remove excess fat. Add the shredded pork back to the pot with beans, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and half of the drained braising liquid. Cook for 2 more hours until the beans reach your desired doneness and overall consistency.
More Bourbon Recipes
Fancy cooking your BBQ in bourbon? Check out a few of our most popular bourbon recipes from Hey Grill Hey below.
Bourbon Baked Beans Recipe
Whether you’re looking for a hearty side or a meaty dinner, this pork belly bourbon baked beans recipe is here to help fill your tummy with all sorts of BBQ goodness.
This post was originally published in December 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.
Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans
- 3 pounds pork belly (skin removed and fatty side scored in 1 inch squares)
- 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub (recipe in notes)
Pork Belly Braise
- 2 cups unfiltered apple juice or cider
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup bourbon
- 3 16-oz cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 16-oz cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- Preheat. Start up your smoker. You're looking for a lot of thin blue smoke and a consistent temperature around 225 degrees F.
- Season the pork. Liberally season the pork belly on all sides with the Sweet Rub.
- Smoke the pork belly. Once the grill is smoking, place the seasoned pork belly fat side up on the grill grate and close the lid. Smoke for 2 hours.
- Make the braise. Combine the apple juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and bourbon in a large Dutch oven. Remove the pork belly from the grill and place it in the dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, return to the grill and increase your grill temperature to 275 degrees F. Cook for an additional 2 hours, or until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.
- Shred the pork. Drain excess liquid from the Dutch oven and set aside. Shred the pork belly, removing any excess fat.
- Finish cooking. Return the shredded pork belly to the Dutch oven. Stir in the beans, onion, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and return to the grill. Cook for 2 more hours or until the ingredients are well combined and at the consistency you like. Add additional BBQ sauce if you like your beans a little thinner!
- Enjoy. Dish up and enjoy immediately.
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