Kentucky’s Best BBQ Beans


Baked beans are a popular summer side dish, but cooking them long and slow tends to heat up the kitchen on hot summer days. Using the Aroma 6-Quart Pressure Cooker saves both time and keeps the kitchen cool. Using dry beans is not only cheaper than using canned, but they will also be better tasting. Adding a nice splash of Bourbon to the pot can’t hurt either.

16 oz dry northern beans, presoaked for at least 4 hours* 2 c chicken broth, or water, adding more as necessary
6 strips thick cut bacon, cut into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, large diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup ketchup or bbq sauce
3 tsp dry mustard
4 tbsp molasses
2 ½ tbsp vinegar
2 ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ – ¾ cup Kentucky Bourbon, or to taste

In a bowl, cover the beans with water and soak for a minimum of 4 hours. This allows for a shorter cooking time and also maximizes their nutritional food value.
Using the Brown function, sauté the bacon pieces until crisp. Drain and remove to a plate. Add the onion to the bacon drippings and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and (optional) jalapeno, cooking just until fragrant.
Drain and rinse the beans, then place in the inner pot with the onion, garlic and pepper. Cover with chicken broth or water. Add more water if needed as there should be about 2” of liquid above the beans. Secure and lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, using the natural release method. Carefully open lid and test for doneness, adding an additional 3-4 minutes cooking time if needed. The beans should be tender, not mushy.
Return the sautéed bacon pieces to the pot and add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, bay leaf, pepper and paprika, stirring well. Taste and adjust for seasonings. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add additional molasses or brown sugar, a teaspoon at a time. For spicier version, add your favorite hot sauce. (*If beans have not been pre-soaked, at this time cook again on high pressure for an additional 15 minutes, followed by the natural release method.)
Continue cooking the beans for an hour using the Simmer function, stirring occasionally. (Be sure the steam vent is set to the “open vent” position.) The beans will thicken the longer they cook. If a thinner sauce is preferred, add water. For a thicker sauce, remove and mash some of the beans, then stir back into the pot. Shortly before serving, stir in the bourbon.

*If presoaking the beans is not an option, cook the beans for another fifteen minutes on high pressure after the bacon and seasonings have been added.


Over to You
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