Also lovingly called, "Man Beans".

If you know Josh well than you most likely know these beans.

I still remember back in our early days of dating when one of his friends mentioned these beans and I looked at him curiously, "What beans?" only to be met with "He hasn't made you his beans yet?!"

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These beans have gained a pretty strong following (Hi Paul! I know you've been waiting for this one!) and are always a hit at our BBQs and family gatherings.

It's simply not a Thompson get together without Josh's beans bubbling away on the counter.

Since today is the official kickoff of the NFL season, I thought I'd do a little football party food series for you. I'll be sharing foods that are great for passing around and feeding the masses while you gather around the tube, watching, yelling and cheering for some good ole American pigskin.

No matter who you root for, I think we can all agree that it's no football party or tailgate without a delicious spread of food.

So let's kick it off (hut, hut!) with Josh's Sweet & Spicy Loaded Baked Beans!

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The thing that will keep you coming back for more is the spicy and sweet combo.

Habaneros give these beans a deep, satisfying heat that Josh describes as, "Less annoying than the jalapeño." Then he continues by making noises and describing how the jalapeño is high-pitched-heat and the habanero is low-pitched-heat.

I'm not sure where he came up with this analogy but it works and he's totally right.

My advice when it comes to the habanero - start slow. For this recipe, I recommend starting with two full habaneros if you like heat, seeds and all, before adding more.

Habaneros are so varied in their heat depending on when and where they we're grown, the amount of seeds inside, the size of the pepper, the amount of rainfall when grown, and so on. They range on the Scoville Heat Unit Scale from 100,000 to 325,000 SHU. To give you some reference, the "annoying" jalapeño ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU. The ghost pepper ranges from 800,000 to 1 million SHU and pepper spray starts at about 2 million SHU.

The motto of all this pepper knowledge? Always start small, taste and go from there.

I also recommend wearing gloves while you're handling them. If you don't have any, wash your hands immediately after use and avoid touching your face or picking your nose for a while.

If you end up adding too much pepper to your beans, try not to sweat it, literally. You can compensate with some brown sugar, honey or more beans. Those will help temper the spice back down to a reasonable level.

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Josh likes these beans loaded with meat - ground beef, bacon and sweet Italian sausage. He swears by using fattier ground beef so we use the 20% fat, 80% lean combo.

I like to go halvsies on the meat so that I'm really getting the bean flavor but feel free to use the full package of meats if you dig that.

The Busch's Original baked beans that we use come with brown sugar already in them so I do not add more unless the heat is crazy spicy. Be sure to taste test your batch and add some brown sugar if it needs a little more of that sweetness.

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Josh's Sweet & Spicy Loaded Baked Beans

Makes a shit ton of beans


Ingredients

4 28oz cans baked beans, We use Busch's Original flavor
1/2 pack thick cut hickory bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 lb ground beef, 20% fat 80% lean, cooked
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, cooked
2-4 habanero peppers, stems removed, finely minced
1 white or yellow onion, sliced thin
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons dry rosemary
2 teaspoons dry oregano
Brown sugar or honey, optional

Instructions

  1. Cook off all of your meats - bacon, ground beef and sausage. I use one pan, cooking the sausage, beef (drain grease) and then bacon last. Do not drain the bacon grease. Remove all and set aside. Cook the onion down in the same pan with the bacon grease. Cook until lightly browned and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Carefully chop your habanero peppers, seeds and all, until finely minced. Use gloves if you have them. A food cutter or chopper is also userful here so you don't have to use your hands. Add to the pan you used for the meat and onions and cook until soft and browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the beans (with juice), meats, onion and peppers to the crock pot on high. Add the seasoning and cook until bubbling, about 2.5 to 3 hours.
  4. Taste your beans and adjust the spice or sweet level as needed. If you want more spice, chop and cook another pepper to add to the mix. More sweet, add some brown sugar or honey.

Notes

  • These beans are great the day of and even more incredible as they sit. Definitley save your leftovers.
  • Serve with BBQ chicken, pork, hot dogs or burgers. Better yet, serve on top of a burger or hot dog. Nom, nom.
  • Serve with an egg on top if you really want to live.
  • Also works great as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries and carbs in general.
  • Beans and spice will cause flatulence. You have been warned.

We hope you enjoy these as much as our family and friends have enjoyed them.

Long live Josh's beans.

..and Go Lions.
Only for you, sugar pie.