Sunday, June 16, 2013

Barbecue Beans and Pork Ribs

Barbecued beans and pork ribs cooked with loads of flavor make a great meal for Sunday Supper or anytime.

Since we are celebrating fathers today at Sunday Supper, I thought a manly meal was most appropriate.  And there is nothing more manly than barbecued beans served alongside barbecued pork ribs that have been tenderly baked and then slathered with barbecue sauce and grilled over an open charcoal flame.   If you want to throw together a green salad, that works too, but many men will find it quite superfluous.  Our Sunday Supper host this week is none other than our illustrious leader, Isabel from Family Foodie. creator and chief motivator of the Sunday Supper group.

I’d love to write a tribute here to my father, but, the truth is, I just don’t know where to start.  Maybe it’s a daughter thing, but my father has always been larger than life for me.  He is a man of intense intelligence and quick wit, with the softest heart.  My parents divorced when I was nine years old so time with Daddy has always been precious.  Let me tell you one story.  Many years ago, summer of 1983 to be precise, Daddy had just moved from Jakarta to Brunei.  In the days pre-internet, the only way I could let him know that I was headed his way was to make a very expensive transatlantic phone call or to ask his Dallas office to send him a telex.   As a poor college student, I chose the latter.

I arrived in Bandar Seri Begawan, after more than 30 hours of traveling, exhausted but elated to be there.  No one was at the airport to greet me.  Since this was my first visit, I suddenly realized that I didn’t even know Daddy’s address or phone number.  I approached the counter of the local car rental company and asked if they had a phone book I could borrow.  Mercifully, they did and Daddy’s office telephone number was listed there.  The lady behind the counter was kind enough to dial it for me and Daddy’s secretary put me through.  My father’s response to hearing my voice was succinct.  “Stacy, you screw up!”  Yet somehow Daddy made it sound like an endearment.   He roared up to the airport to collect me.  And he took the afternoon off and we went home.

Daddy is a great storyteller, a trait he inherited from his own father, a raconteur from way back.  (His advice has always been to never to let the truth get in the way of a good story.)  Lots of his tall tales involve the exploits of his daughters and I have heard him tell the story of my first arrival in Brunei many times over the years.  I think that he has a certain pride in our ability to travel alone and land on the ground, feet first, even in strange land.  This week I am visiting my father and my stepmother in their current home of Ecuador.  I reminded him of that old story, and his own snippy response.  Never mind that it has been 30 years, he had the good grace to blush.  It’s so great to share the laughter.  Now let’s cook some beans and ribs.

I made these dishes a while back and took the photos in less than ideal conditions so my apologies for the poor lighting.

For the beans:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup or 60ml apple cider vinegar
6 oz (by weight) or 1 cup or 170g dried cannellini beans
1 can (14.5 oz or 411g) chopped tomatoes
1/2 small can (3 oz or 75g) tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
1- 2 teaspoons cayenne (depending on how spicy you like your beans)

For the ribs:
1 rack of baby back pork ribs per person
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
Barbecue sauce (I usually make my own but use whatever sauce is your favorite.)

First, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and put the ribs in an oven safe baking pan.  Season them liberally on both sides with sea salt and black pepper.  Give the ribs a good drizzle of olive oil and add a cup of water to the pan.

Cover with foil. When the oven reaches the correct temperature, put the ribs in and set a timer for one hour.

Now get the beans started.  I use a pressure cooker because I prefer to keep the beans whole.  I find that if I start with soaked beans and cook them in a normal pot, by the time they are soft enough for me, they are also a big mush.  The pressure cooker cooks them through without them completely disintegrating.

Put all the bean ingredients into a pressure cooker with enough water to cover the beans plus about two inches or 4cm.

Close the lid and turn the fire on high and bring to a boil.  When you hear the ch-ch-ch noise of the steam start, turn the fire down to medium low.  The pressure should still be making an audible ch-ch-ch, just more quietly.

Cook for about 40 minutes and then remove from the stove.  Allow the pressure cooker to cool enough until it is safe to open.

Open the pressure cooker and test a bean.  If they are cooked or very close to cooked, put the pressure cooker back on the stove, without the lid, and cook until the liquid reduces to your desired thickness.   Or, if sticking seems to be problem, put the beans into a non-stick skillet and do the same.  Some folks like their beans runny but when it comes to barbecue beans, I think thicker is better.  Use your own judgment.   Taste the salt and pepper and add more if necessary.

Meanwhile, about 15-20 minutes before your ribs are done, light your grill.   When the coals are ready, remove the ribs from the oven and take off the foil.

Grill the ribs, applying the barbecue sauce of your choice liberally on one side and then the other.

Turning the ribs every few minutes, until the sauce is cooked on and the ribs are sticky.

This only takes about 15 minutes.


Dad’s Favorite Main Dishes
Dad’s Favorite Appetizers and Sides
Dad’s Favorite Desserts


  1. The raconteur trait must be genetic, Stacy. You always weave a tale that is interesting - and delicious! And your barbecue beans and ribs are no exception =)

  2. If I could be half the storyteller my daddy is and my granddaddy was, Kim, I would be happy! Thank you for your kind words.

  3. I really need to get a pressure cooker, it is so much quicker to make dried beans in them. These beans and ribs sounds perfect.

  4. Wow! What a fab recipe!! I love that you used charcoal! The flavor of charcoal over gas is amazing!!

  5. This is about as manly man a meal as I can imagine! Looks great!

  6. What an amazing rib recipe. My Fathers favorite thing to cook was baby back ribs and every time I make them, I am reminded of him.

  7. "never to let the truth get in the way of a good story" is my quote of the day and something I need to print out and hang on my refrigerator. Your dad sounds like a great man with a big heart and a love of life. How great to make such a hearty man's man meal for today event.

  8. I couldn't live without my pressure cooker, Laura! Okay, I'm exaggerating but it is the handiest thing for cooking beans or even tenderizing stew meat.

  9. We believe in charcoal grills, Jennifer. My daddy would never use gas and, fortunately, neither would my husband or we might have had an issue. :)

  10. They are finger-licking good, Lauren. The hour in the oven tenderizes the meat and finishing them off on the grill packs on the flavor.

  11. Thanks, Courtney! That's what I was aiming for. :)

  12. Evidently your father was a man of impeccable taste, Megan. There is nothing better than baby back ribs!

  13. My grandfather had the same philosophy, Renee, so it's tried and tested. :) Daddy is the best but I guess most offspring say that about their fathers. He certainly is entertaining to spend time with.

  14. This meal looks awesome. And you're right, almost every man I know would say it didn't need the salad :) I loved the story of you traveling to see your Dad. Traveling alone is one of the best things - I love to do it, but I know a lot of people who don't.

  15. Great picture of you and dad!! I have never made beans from scratch before as I am not a big fan but my daughter adores them I should give them a whirl this summer!!

  16. Being from south Louisiana originally, I grew up on red beans and rice. Then we lived for almost six years in Brazil near Rio where black beans and rice were a staple and became part of our normal family repertoire. My younger daughter still wants beans and rice for every birthday dinner. A pressure cooker makes it faster, Tara, but you can soak the beans overnight and cook in a regular pot. Do give them a try!

  17. Traveling alone is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure, Lori. But it never bothers me. A good book or a notebook to write in is often the best company. :)

  18. Gorgeous photo of you and your Dad. Ecuador sounds so exotic, but then so too does Brunei in 1983. Once you get the travel bug you're done for life I reckon.

  19. Just a perfectly beautiful meal - that's all! :)

  20. I suppose so, Nancy. I started at five years old with the first move to Trinidad. I can't imagine NOT traveling.

  21. Stacy, thank you so much for sharing your stories.. That was very adventurous to travel 30 hours without a phone number. Very brave :) Thank you for sharing the great picture of yourself and your Dad. It is beautiful. Oh, and yes beans and ribs? All of us love it :) Thank you!

  22. Ooooo, pressure cooker, I'm waiting to get my first one this week. It's literally on its way. Gorgeous meal and a lovely story.

  23. Loved your story Tracy.How adventurous to travel without an address or phone number!Very brave indeed :) The pic with your Dad is gorgeous !
    Your ribs and beans look like the perfect meal to please any Dad :)

  24. Ribs and beans... such a great meal for Father's Day! These ribs look incredible.

  25. What a great plate of food for Father's Day!

  26. That looks good ! Glad to find a another foodie that is not intimidated by a pressure cooker :) ! I use the cooker all the time and can't do without it. Lovely pics of you and your dad !


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