July is both National Baked Beans Month and National Hot Dog Month. Now there is a match made in summer barbecue heaven!
Summer Barbecue: Baked Beans
It’s summertime and that means barbecue time. This summer’s grilling season will be especially sweet after months of lockdown. One of the more popular side dishes of the season in America is baked beans.
Beans are high in protein, practically fat-free and contain more fiber than many whole grade foods. If you’re watching your carbs, however, they do count even with all that protein.
You can thank Native Americans for baked beans, who originally sweetened them with maple syrup. In the 17th Century, English colonists modified the recipe and began using brown sugar. In the 18th Century, Americans started using molasses to avoid British taxes on sugar.
Summer Barbecue: Hot Dogs
Another summer barbecue favorite is the hot dog. I remember finding a stick, sharpening one end, skewering a dog, and cooking it over an open flame when I was a kid. Yum! Hot dogs are celebrated this month at a variety of festivals across the U.S., including:
- Alfred Village Hot Dog Day, Alfred, NY
- Annual Hot Dog Lunch, Washington, DC
- Boston Hot Dog Safari, Boston, MA
- West Virginia Hot Dog Festival, Huntington, WV
You can learn about them and discover more on Wikipedia.
Maple Baked Beans with Hot Dogs
To help you celebrate these two fine foods during your summer barbecue, here’s a recipe that brings them together.
- 1 pound dried white beans
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 3/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 4 large all-beef hot dogs, chopped
For best flavor, make at lead one day ahead of time.
- Sort and since the beans. Place in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 30 minutes.
- Drain and repeat one more time. This process will reduce the gas of the beans.
- Place beans in a 4-quart Dutch oven and cover with two quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
- Return beans to Dutch oven; cover with another two quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until almost tender.
- Drain and reserve liquid.
- In a 2-1/2-quart casserole pot, combine beans with all remaining ingredients except the hot dogs.
- Cover and bake at 325° for 2 hours. Stir occasionally; add reserved bean liquid, if necessary.
- Add hot dogs and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.
Feel free to play around with the recipe. If you want it sweeter, increase the maple syrup and/or the brown sugar. Reduce them if you want it less sweet.
Like a spicier sauce? Increase the paprika or add in some cayenne pepper.
You can also try adding in ham or substituting salt pork for the bacon.
Another idea would be to use sausages such as kielbasa or polish sausage instead of hot dogs.
Another way to add flavor is to grill the hot dogs or sausage before adding them to the beans.
You can even cook this in your slow cooker rather than the oven. Cook it on low all day to really meld the flavors together.
Customize the recipe to suit your and your family’s taste!