Monday, June 3, 2013

Mexican Campfire Beans

This past weekend, my husband and I took a well-deserved camping trip to a remote part of North Carolina. Nestled deep within the woods of the Appalachian Mountains, there was no thought of fancy dinners at a fine dining restaurant or even hitting the night scene at the hip new stop. Instead, we were back to a slower time. Back to times where we could relax under the trees beside a rippling river stream, spend the days beside a pond waiting for the fish to bite, and finish the day next to a roaring campfire with a wonderful campfire dinner. 
The first night of our adventure, I decided to try a new recipe for beans. The prior week I had tried some Taco Seasoned Baked Beans at a lunch at work. Immediately, I asked for the recipe. I adapted the recipe for campfire cooking and Mexican Campfire Beans were born.
There are several things about this recipe that are great. One, they taste AMAZING! Although there are nodes of the traditional baked beans, the seasoning is just different enough to leave everyone wondering what that special smokey flavor comes from in the dish. Two, they are a one pot wonder. You can easily adapt the recipe for the oven. Simply bake in a dutch oven at 350-degrees instead of over the campfire. Three, leftovers are great! You can use the leftovers for a hearty lunch, toppings for nachos, or, as we did, spice them up with onions, cayenne, red chili flakes, and seared hot dog rings and create a spicy pork and beans.
I think my favorite part about this recipe are the memories from the night. So often in our hectic lives, we lose sight of slowing down and spending time together. I truly believe that getting back to a simpler time is good for everyone. Without cell phones, computers, and television to distract us, we are able to appreciate the wonderful things in our lives and, dear I say, have true conversations with each other. So every time I make this recipe, I will remember the first time and the wonderful weekend with my husband.
1 Pound Ground Hamburger
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
3-15 Ounce Cans Pork and Beans
1 Cup Ketchup
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
12 Ounces Pale Ale Beer

1. In a large Dutch Oven (at least #10 size) sauté the hamburger meat and taco seasoning over high heat, stirring to break apart.
2. Once the meat is browned, carefully add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Stir well to combine.
3. Place the lid on top. Carefully place hot coals on top of the lid. For our pot, which is a #10 Dutch Oven, we used 5 coals on the bottom and 15 on top but you will need to refer to your reference guide for the proper number of coals based on your Dutch Oven size. You want the beans to bake at 350-degrees.
4. Allow the beans to bake for 45 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the lid and stir. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

6. Serve and enjoy!

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