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Help me save my baked beans!


melicob
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In anticipation of a pig roast this weekend, I made 3 lbs of barbecued baked beans last night (a la Cooks Illustrated recipe). The flavor was spot on, but by the end of the process, all the juice had dried up, so it is more like refried beans (but not smashed) than juicy baked beans. (I am choosing to blame the pot. It has dried out briskets before that should not have dried out based on cooking time and temp. I think it just gets really hot. But regardless, I'm looking for a solution for my beans, not to point fingers at my pot. Clearly there was some user error going on!)

Is there anything I can do to rescue the beans? Add a last minute thin sauce of chicken broth and bbq sauce? Suggestions? This is my first try at baked beans and I would hate to lose them like this!

Thanks!

Melissa

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Not sure how to rescue your beans, but let's talk about the pot for a moment. Is it a non-stick pot? I used to have terrible trouble braising brisket in a non-stick roasting pan (a good quality Calphalon). I realized that the non-stick coating sucks up liquid the way eggplant soaks up cooking oil!

Perhaps add some stock to the pot when you re-heat the beans?

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Not sure how to rescue your beans, but let's talk about the pot for a moment.  Is it a non-stick pot?  I used to have terrible trouble braising brisket in a non-stick roasting pan (a good quality Calphalon).  I realized that the non-stick coating sucks up liquid the way eggplant soaks up cooking oil!

Perhaps add some stock to the pot when you re-heat the beans?

The pot is a large, good quality Calphalon. It's not non-stick (it's stick?), and it has been notorious for over cooking brisket. (Same brisket cooked in Le Creuset was moist and delicious!)

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I would add some tomato juice, enough to satisfy "the look". Taste it after warming again, then add flavourings as you did earlier until it pleases your taste.

What kind of pot did you use? I cook my beans in the oven, in a bean crock. The oven produces much better baked beans than the slow cooker in my opinion. When I start to cook I have just enough liquid (water is fine) to cover the beans. As they cook at a low temp in the oven, I add more liquid to keep them just covered. Toward the last 2 hours of cooking, I add acidic stuff like tomato juice. If you use anything acidic at first the beans may not soften properly as they cook.

I'm no expert but my beans are good and reliable.

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I would add some tomato juice, enough to satisfy "the look".  Taste it after warming again, then add flavourings as you did earlier until it pleases your taste.

What kind of pot did you use?  I cook my beans in the oven, in a bean crock. The oven produces much better baked beans than the slow cooker in my opinion.  When I start to cook I have just enough liquid (water is fine) to cover the beans.  As they cook at a low temp in the oven, I add more liquid to keep them just covered.  Toward the last 2 hours of cooking, I add acidic stuff like tomato juice.  If you use anything acidic at first the beans may not soften properly as they cook.

I'm no expert but my beans are good and reliable.

Thank you! Tomato juice is a great suggestion.

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In general, I think it's hard for a pot to be notorious for overcooking things.

I agree. If you have a consistent problem with certain cookware - particularly the types that are designed for high heat convection, simply reduce the temperature.

The shape of the pot is also very important.

I have a collection of stoneware and other crockery beanpots, some over a hundred years old. They were designed specifically for very long, very slow cooking and do a marvelous job.

I have a very large (and very old) cast iron bean pot (between 6 and seven quarts) that was made to be buried in fireplace coals or a campfire. It is NOT the classic bean pot shape but had straight sides. The lid has to be "sealed" on, with dough, which keeps the moisture inside the pot.

The top opening of a classic bean pot should be no more than 2/3 the diameter of the pot itself, at its widest point. Bauer, McCoy and Watt, made the openings even smaller in their larger pots. Incidentally, all three of these companies tested their bean pots by actually cooking beans in them in the bury box or fire port of a kiln while it was being slowly heated.

See this example.

or this one

In my opinion, none of the "modern" bean pots work as well as the ones perfected by the three companies I mentioned above.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Is there anything I can do to rescue the beans? Add a last minute thin sauce of chicken broth and bbq sauce? Suggestions? This is my first try at baked beans and I would hate to lose them like this!

Thanks!

Melissa

As tomorrow night starts Yom Kippur and I will be unable to eat for 24 hours I will gladly pray for your beans, and perhaps redemption will be theirs on Saturday at sundown. Other than that I also would consider adding a small amount of corn or safflower oil to whatever you use to reconstitue the beans... because they will need a little lubrication to keep from breaking down while you stir in the liquid that will rehydrate the entire complex. Best of luck... and I will be praying for you and your beans... and hope you will be eating them while I fast.

hvr :sad:

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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If your liquid evaporates too quickly simply replace it with more water. As long as your seasoning was proportionate then if you thin the sauce it shouldnt end up "watery". If you use tomato juice, broth or something else your going to affect the over all flavor profile of the dish, and you may not want that.

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==WELL?==

So-- How did they come out?

What didja do?

What wouldja have did different?

Perspiring minds need to know.

hvr :hmmm:

Sadly, I abandoned ship. :(

Everyone was right that it would need to happen last minute, and last minute just didn't happen. You see, the kitchen was already clean for the party and pig roasting/beer drinking started at 3... And the beans would have needed attention at around 6 (which, as you know, would be 3 hours after beer drinking started). But, luckily, the pig was enough of a treat that no one even mentioned or missed the beans. Thanks for everyone's great ideas!

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Sadly, I abandoned ship. :(

Everyone was right that it would need to happen last minute, and last minute just didn't happen. You see, the kitchen was already clean for the party and pig roasting/beer drinking started at 3... And the beans would have needed attention at around 6 (which, as you know, would be 3 hours after beer drinking started). But, luckily, the pig was enough of a treat that no one even mentioned or missed the beans. Thanks for everyone's great ideas!

Well-- I for one stand and applaud your brave admission. I'm going to cook 2 gallons of beans for 75 on Friday. Pintos, black eyed peas and black beans, 2 pounds of bacon trimmings and 2 pounds of ground pork or beef. Yeehaw!

hvr (edited for serious dyslexia)

Edited by HVRobinson (log)

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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Sadly, I abandoned ship. :(

Everyone was right that it would need to happen last minute, and last minute just didn't happen. You see, the kitchen was already clean for the party and pig roasting/beer drinking started at 3... And the beans would have needed attention at around 6 (which, as you know, would be 3 hours after beer drinking started). But, luckily, the pig was enough of a treat that no one even mentioned or missed the beans. Thanks for everyone's great ideas!

Well-- I for one stand and applaud your brave admission. I'm going to cook 2 gallons of beans for 75 on Friday. Pintos, black eyed peas and black beans, 2 pounds of bacon trimmings and 2 pounds of ground pork or beef. Yeehaw!

hvr (edited for serious dyslexia)

Now that's a batch of beans!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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