Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Pimento Cheese Burger And BBQ Baked Beans

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.  Obviously, I benefit from the sale of my second book that is linked.

This past week, I got to spend time with my parents and siblings in my hometown. I have been teaching grilling classes, judging at BBQ contests, and other grilling events every weekend.  As fun as those are, the constant go, go, going on weekends can start to feel like a grind.  This week was a chance to recharge and stoke that inner fire.  

My parents were inbound from an all-day drive from the mountains, so my sister and I thought we would make them dinner.  Growing up, I always loved it when we had burgers on our grill that my dad had made from an abandoned beer keg.  My mom would often make her sweet and tangy BBQ baked beans.  So, Rhonda and I decided on burgers and BBQ beans, specifically, Pimento Cheese Burgers.

Pimento cheese burger and BBQ beans cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill
A backyard classic - burgers, bbq beans, and chips.

For the beans, we have Alexis' #1 Barbecue Beans recipe in The Offset Smoker Cookbook.  That is a spectacular recipe, and it won Alexis her first First Place at competitions.  But my mom varied her bean recipe all the time, and they were all good.  So Rhonda and I decided to wing it and just made this one from what we had on hand.

Baked BBQ Beans on the kamado grill featuring Bush's Beans
We happened to have some "seasoning bacon" from Rhonda's home-cured, home-smoked bacon.  That's the ends that you cut off to square the edges of the slab of bacon. Typically, we would use chopped smoked pork or brisket.
Tonight's BBQ Baked Beans

  • 28 ounce can Bush's Original Baked Beans
  • 1/2 pound seasoning bacon or lardons 
  • 1/2 cup Rippleman's BBQ Sauce (sorry, it's currently out of production.  Shame.)
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 fire-roasted poblano, peeled, seeded, and chopped or 1 small can of diced green chile
  • 1/4 cup fire-roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon NMT Southern Sweet or another sweet BBQ rub
  • 1 ounce yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (not pictured, like that one kid in high school)
  1. Mix all ingredients, EXCEPT brown sugar, and place in a grill safe pan.  We used a stoneware bread loaf pan, but you could use a large, cast-iron skillet or a small casserole dish.
  2. Place in the smoker at 225°f for 2 hours.  Ideally, this is under BBQ cooking that is near finished, like ribs, pork butts, or brisket.  
  3. Top with the brown sugar, raise the grill temperature to 350°f and cook until thick, gooey, and forming a skin on top.  This should be right about an hour once the grill hits tree fiddy.

BBQ Pit Beans on a big green egg challenger designs
Rhonda was smoking some pork bellies for bacon that she was making for a family friend.  Naturally, we put the pit beans below that so the sweet, smoking drippings from the homemade bacon flavor the beans even more.  This is so good that I'm not sure it's legal.  Forget you saw this.

A note about that technique - NEVER do this under raw meat.  It needs to be cooked under something cured or that has already been smoking for a while and is nearly done.

While that's going on for a few hours, make the pimento cheese.

NMT Pimento Cheese
Published 11/09/2019
Our go-to recipe for creamy but not "goopy" pimento cheese.  Excellent as is or on burgers and stirred into grits.  The cheese measurements are by weight, but 4 ounces is about equivalent to 1 cup shredded.  Finer shred sizes give a smoother texture while coarse will make it thick and rustic.


  • 4 ounces sharp, white Vermont Cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces mild cheddar (or Colby jack for a milder flavor), shredded
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup Duke's mayonnaise (we'll allow Hellmans ;) )
  • 1/4 to 1/3 finely chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 ounce finely chopped fire-roasted poblano (about 1/2 a poblano, peeled and seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (optional)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon NMT Southern Sweet or another sweet BBQ rub
  • 1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper
  • salt to taste, start at 1/4 teaspoon


  • Mix together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.  
  • Put in the fridge and try to leave it alone for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
Yield: 1 pint
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Tags: Southern

Toast your buns before you gunk up the grates with the burgers. Don't skip that step, it makes a noticeable taste and texture difference.

Grilling out with my dad.  We don't get together often enough since I moved to Tennessee, so simple times like this are highlights of the year for us.  It's also incredibly convenient when your parents and sister both have a Large and a Mini-Max available when visiting :) .  Photo:  Rhonda Hollis

These were hefty patties, all about 10 ounces of ground chuck seasoned with Lane's BBQ Brisket and Ancho combo blend.  It was my first time using that blend, I like it quite a bit, maybe better than the two rubs individually.  

Late night grilling on a Big Green Egg in a Challenger Designs grill cart
Burgers start to drip rendered fat, which will create a bit of "smoke" (it's not good smoke, you don't want that hanging around your meat).  Open that top vent all the way to let it out easily and control your fire from the lower vent. Mom keeping an eye on her youngest child, it's clear I'm her favorite, right? ;)  Photo:  Rhonda Hollis

Two tips on applying the pimento cheese.  First, it helps for it to temper a bit so we took out the amount we thought we would use and left it out at room temp for an hour.  Second, apply it as soon as the burgers come off.  Photo:  Rhonda Hollis

Notice in the above pic that there are only five delicious-looking burgers.  The sixth one is still in the Egg.  My dad likes his well done, so I ruinz it (stoopid hobbit) cooked it well done per his request.  It's fun to tease our friends, but a real grill master will overlook their own preferences and cook to his guests' tastes.  

Maximum melty perfection achieved.

Pimento Cheese Burger recipe for the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Oh yeah. I also caramelized some onions just before firing the burgers.  It was shut your mouth good and I will treasure spending a Fall evening with my family.

Keep on firing up those grills, my friends!