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Tender barbecue chicken drumsticks with sweet and spicy brown sugar baked pinto beans..
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE:
Chicken Drumsticks: Chicken drumsticks are always great to have on hand. They are family friendly and can feed the masses. I chose chicken drumsticks since its easier to see where they start and end in the dish. Use any cut of chicken you have on hand.
Pinto Beans: Pinto beans are pretty much a classic when it comes to baked beans. They hold a nice firm shape and are super creamy when simmered just right. Use small navy or butter beans if you don’t have pintos on hand.
Vegetables: Small minced vegetables like onions and jalapeno add a nice crunch in an otherwise soft dish. For more of a crunch cut the jalapenos and onions a little bigger. Jalapenos can also be swapped out with sweet peppers.
Barbecue Sauce: This dish doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have homemade barbecue sauce or your favorite jarred brand on hands use it here. Whatever barbecue sauce you use will stand out the most so make sure you already enjoy it.
Brown Sugar + Honey: Brown sugar and honey are the perfect duo. Honey scratches that underlying sweetness that heavy brown sugar cant get to. The two work together to form a sticky syrup that runs throughout the beans. A nice sprinkling of brown sugar over the finished dish before baking makes for a candied bruleed top.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST BBQ CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS & BROWN SUGAR BAKED BEANS :
soak the beans: soaking the beans reduces the active cooking time. soaking the beans makes it easier to identify bad or broken beans since they simply will float. the next day remove all floating beans. it also helps remove grit that tends to build up in the bottom of bags of beans. if soaking the beans are not an option bring the beans up to a boil in cold water then reduce it to a simmer and steadily simmer for 2 hours.
marinade the chicken: this dish greatly benefits from a marinade. once the chicken is placed in the beans it’s on it own. make sure to incorporate as much flavor as possible.
tasting the beans: before adding the chicken feel free to sample the beans to make sure they have enough salt, sugar and spices. this will be your only time to adjust. once the chicken is added do not sample the beans till the chicken is fully cooked.
simmer the beans: when softening the beans keep it add a simmer. too high of a boil and the soft beans will start banging into one another resulting in a unusable bean pulp. a gentle simmer is all you need.
when to swap the water: once the beans are tender is when you swap the water for broth. its a waste to simmer the beans in broth when it wont be in the final product. too soupy of beans and the chicken will sink. don’t wait till the beans get too soft or they can get mashed up in the colander.
seasoning: season the beans last with salt or else they with seize and harden. to make sure you beans are soft enough to boil try a scoop full before hand if they have any bite to them salt will harden them.
brown sugar finish: for a nice cracked sugary top sprinkle a little brown sugar over the chicken and beans before it goes in the oven.
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