Pork and Beans
Prep time: 18 to 24 hours (only 15 minutes active)
Cook time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Growing up I always liked barbecue/barbeque/bbq baked beans, despite the side effects. Whether it was a potluck, a restaurant, or from a can – my plate had room. It didn't hurt that I could always blame the side effects on my dad.
Now, as my palate has *ahem* matured, I no longer like my beans to be sickly sweet. In fact, this recipe has traded most of that sugar for pork. That's right, this recipe isn't beans with a few slices of bacon.
Since I wanted to use dried beans and soak them overnight, I thought why not give the pork the same love and have it "cure" overnight. This was done to remove some excess moisture from the pork and to add some great flavor while the beans were soaking. It was really weird asking the butcher for half of a pound of pork shoulder. I was half-expecting to be told that you have to buy the whole thing or nothing. Most likely you will end up with more than one pound of pork, and that is fine. Use it all. We aren't making beans with pork THIS IS PORK AND BEANS!
- In a bowl, sopping up the liquids with a baguette
- Actually pretty good over brown rice
- As a side, along with some zesty green cabbage slaw and a few double patty smashburgers.
- 1 pound dried great northern beans (aka white kidney beans)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 pound pork belly
- 1/2 pound pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 4 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 onion, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
For "curing" the pork
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 20 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves, torn in half
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
Rinse the beans in a large colander or strainer. Pick out anything that isn't a bean.
Add the 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to a large bowl along with 6 cups of water. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the beans to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave on the counter for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours.
After you get the beans soaking, it is time to "cure" the pork. The goal of this step is to draw moisture out of the pork and to add some flavor while we are at it. Add all of the ingredients listed under For "curing" the pork to a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork.
Now we need to cut the pork. Cut the belly and the shoulder into roughly 1/2" slices. Then cut those slices into 1/4" to 1/2" strips.
Add the belly to the mixing bowl and stir well to coat the pork with the curing mixture. Now add the shoulder to the bowl and mix well.
Transfer the pork to a gallon sized ziploc bag. Seal almost all the way and then press out as much air as you can before sealing the bag shut. All of the pork should be at the bottom of the bag.
Now place the bag flat on a plate. Roll the bottom, where all the pork is, towards the top. Place the plate in the fridge in the drawer where you keep your raw meat. Wait 18-24 hours before moving on to the next step.
Okay, the time has passed. Transfer the beans to a large colander/strainer. Rinse the beans well in cold water. Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or another oven safe cooking vessel that has a lid and will fit all of the ingredients) next to the sink. Place the beans in the dutch oven.
Now put the pork in the same colander/strainer. Separate the pork chunks apart from each other with your hands and discard the pieces of bay leaf. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Discard any piece that are just fat. Leave behind the peppercorns and mustard seed. You may need to give some pieces of pork some extra love to get the mustard seeds off of them. Add the pork to the dutch oven.
Add 4.5 cups of filtered water to the dutch oven. Cut the onion in half through the root, discard the papery outer layer and add to the dutch oven, along with the garlic, 1 tablespoon ground mustard, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne & 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce. Stir well.
Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Put the lid on the dutch oven and bring to a boil on the stove. This will take around 10 minutes. Once everything has come to a boil, stir well, put the lid back on and put the dutch oven in the oven. Set a timer for 1 hour.
After one hour, remove from the oven and stir. Cover and cook for one more hour.
After 2 hours, increase the heat to 325 degrees. Remove the lid from the dutch oven and cook for another hour.
Remove the beans and place them on the stove. Discard the onion, stir well and give everything a taste. Get some liquid, a few beans and some pork in your bite. Good right? At this point add a pinch of salt or a small amount of cayenne, if desired.
Turn on your broiler to the lowest setting. Add the beans back to the oven, uncovered, and broil for 3 minutes. Done.