Tuesday, July 6, 2010

California Barbecue Beans (Santa Maria Style)

One of my most viewed recipe is the Santa Maria Style Tri-tip.  My husband and I loved it when we first tasted it as we were passing through the town of Santa Maria, California.  In an issue of Cook's Country, I found a  a recipe about Santa Maria and their special style of BBQ. The article included the tri-tip, beans and salsa--  and  how to easily recreate that nice smoky flavor that Santa Marian's accomplish.. The traditional way is to grill  this cut of meat over dry oak; we use our Weber and soaked wood chips.  I was so excited to make it, and it's become a grilling favorite in our home.

The night before, the tri-tip meat is prepped with lots of fresh garlic and olive oil. It's wrapped in plastic. Right before grilling, the garlic is wiped off (so it won't burn) and more garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper is rubbed on to the meat.  You can click here if you'd like a step-by-step on how to make this.

 Craig has done a nice sear on this cut of meat. He's doing a great job grilling!

Beans are an essential side dish, whenever I make tri-tip.  Cook's Illustrated included a recipe for Californian Barbecued Beans, which features the pinquito bean-- native to Santa Maria.  I can't find these beans, but pink beans are considered a great substitute.  I made this dish a year ago, but wasn't pleased with it.  I decided to tweak the recipe and the end result-- I watched husband and brother go for seconds....then thirds.  Here's how I made it:

Soak one package of beans, overnight, and rinse them.

Please forgive this fuzzy photo. My first adaptation was to increase the amount of bacon that I use. I didn't care for the deli ham, that Cook's Country used. It was just too odd a flavor, so I skipped that ingredient this time. I buy bacon pieces at a good price at my butcher shop.  I love the thick chunks of pork. The fat is what gives the beans great flavor. I cut up about 2 cups worth.  Once the fat was rendered, I added one whole chopped onion and cook that until tender. Then I added  four big cloves of fresh minced garlic, for about 30 seconds (don't let it burn).

Add the beans, and then add 6 cups of water. Let the beans simmer on medium-low, covered, for about an hour.  While that was cooking, I made taco sauce. This is a key ingredient, so don't skip it. Go ahead and buy bottled taco sauce, or you can follow my easy recipe.

Tick, tock, tick, tock...one hour later:

It's time to add tomato puree, the taco sauce, brown sugar, dry mustard and kosher salt. I decreased the original amount of brown sugar by half (I thought it made the beans too sweet) and doubled the amount of dry mustard.  I also doubled the amount of taco sauce from 1/2 cup to 1 full cup.  I thought it was perfect! I let the bean simmer for one more hour, and the sauce thickened perfectly.  Cook's Country says to add apple cider vinegar and fresh cilantro at the end.  I didn't like that, (thought I do love cilantro) the first time. It left an "off" taste,  so I skipped those ingredient additions.

VERDICT: The beans were cooked perfectly-- not mushy, still a bit firm. The brown sugar, tomato puree and balance of dry mustard and the taco sauce gives a slight note of barbecue sauce.  There's a subtle tang of tomato and a nice balance of garlic.  I'm much happier with my little tweaks.  I might even had more chunks of bacon, though. I think that would be great.

The tri-tip was juicy.  The balance of smokiness and the garlic is spot on to the tri-tip we had in Santa Maria. One more thing-- garlic bread and salsa are necessary condiments.  I made The Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa.  I still don't have ripe tomatoes, but this recipe makes canned tomatoes taste great.  Oh yeah, for dessert... we had Lemon Custard Ice Cream-- with a drizzle of homemade raspberry coulis sauce. 

Life is good in California!

I am printing several of these  recipes at the very bottom of this post.  We'll be making this meal again, very soon. I hope that you do, too.

From our grill to yours,

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Salsa Verde said...

That recipe and the pictures look so delicious, that my mouth is already watering...:))

Diana's Cocina said...

Your right, life is good in California with your delicious creations!

Joanne said...

Ah so THIS is what you made the taco sauce for. Good call. The color on the beans is absolutely gorgeous and they look seriously tasty!

Cathy said...

This bean recipe is very different than mine and I'll be trying it at our next family dinner. I made your lemon curd (had to stop eating it with a spoon before I didn't have enough left for the ice cream)in preparation for dessert this weekend. And that tri-tip looks wonderful. What the heck, I'll be making your whole menu.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Nothing better than beans - especially a big pot with a local twist! I'm dying for a taste, and it's only breakfast!

Joe Ambrosino said...

This really looks good and I love that you made changes to the original "Cook's Country" recipe. I like their recipes, but they can come off a little "know-it-all". Ha Ha Ha! Fancy that coming from one of the biggest know-it-alls around!

tasteofbeirut said...

Love this hearty dish! The good news is even though it takes a while to make it can last several days and still tastes great.

Carla and Michael said...

That is one tasty looking pot o beans. I am printing this one to make as soon as I can. Just need to run to the store for the beans. I love the use of homemade taco sauce in it, and will be making that too.
Thanks for all of your great recipes Deb.

Monica H said...

What a deliciousl looking meal. I don't think I've ever seen pink beans but they're pretty. I like your changes too. More bacon, salsa and mustard. mmm!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I had to wipe the drool off the keyboard after seeing that photo of the meat being sliced.

I like a woman who can soak and simmer her own beans! Not enough people do that. These look great and I love the fact that you opted for bacon over ham. I would too.

Velva said...

How I wished I could have joined you for that meal. I know my husband would have thought he died and went to heaven with that grilled tri-tip :-) The beans look amazing too.

Your meal reflects what summer is about-enjoy.

Ingrid M said...

Love this recipe...I love barbecue beans...and I live in CA! :)

Sage said...

What beautiful pictures; you make it all look very good! Very different from the French Canadian beans I make.
You have great recipes.