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AOPA Staff BBQ Favorites

Summertime is unofficially here, and that means that you’ll either host your own cookout, or someone else will invite you to theirs. We asked the staff at AOPA what some of their favorite side dishes are, and they were all stoked to share their favorites. Some even gave up the recipes!

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There’s been a common theme, though. Salads of all kinds, and beans. Twyla Perkins shared that her top four faves are potato salad, broccoli salad, salmon salad, and baked beans. Angie Gerald, another of our awesome executive assistants, loves summer slaw, fruit salad, and baked beans.

Dan Namowitz (you know, he’s that guy in eMedia whose articles you’ve read) threw us a curveball. He likes BBQ figs. When asked about how to make such a thing, he just said “Pretty easy. I skewer ‘em on a stick (like toasting a marshmallow but you can put a few on one stick) or just lay ‘em out on the charcoal grill. On the stick they’re easy to flip over. The local natural foods place here has these big organic Turkish figs that are easily prepared that way.” He went even further and said sometimes he dices them and serves them as a side or dessert in a guava jelly and red chile powder glaze. Raise your hand if you want to try that! Now put it down because we can’t see you and you look silly.

Since beans have been mentioned so many times, we just have to post a few beany recipes for you to try at your next gathering:

Carli Stone, the AOPA Foundation’s Hat in the Ring Liaison, shared her calico beans recipe:

Crockpot Calico Beans

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon (diced)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 (16 ounce) cans pork and beans
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (drained)
1 (15 ounce) can butter beans (drained)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef and bacon; drain well and then add it to the crockpot.
Add in the onion, all the beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and mustard to the crockpot. Mix well, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
For bigger crowds, you can double or triple the recipe!

One of our newest employees, HR Office Coordinator Nan Conlon shared a recipe that her family always asks her to make over and over. Here’s where you can find her favorite Southern-Style Baked Beans recipe. 

Paula Wivell, our Flight Ops and Dispatch Coordinator shared another bean recipe:

AOPA Pilot GearCowboy Caviar

3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
2 ripe avocados, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1-½ c frozen sweet corn, thawed (I just usually toss it in the salad frozen unless I plan on eating it immediately, it thaws quite quickly)
1 bell pepper, diced (I used half a green and half a red, but color doesn’t matter)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh preferred)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Tortilla chips for serving

Combine tomatoes, avocado, onion, black beans, black eyed peas, corn, pepper, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl. Toss/stir well so that ingredients are well-combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Pour dressing over other ingredients and stir/toss very well.
Keep refrigerated. If not serving immediately, be sure to toss/stir well before serving.

Jessica Plowman, our Senior HR Manager, sent us her corn pudding recipe:

Corn Pudding

1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15 oz can cream style corn (not drained)
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
8 oz sour cream
2/3 c milk
1 tbsp sugar
Dash of salt

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a two-quart, greased casserole dish. Bake 60-70 min at 350F.

And lastly, we have what have been called the “best baked beans ever!!!”

Tennessee native Karla Smith, and High School Aviation Initiative Manager shares her favorite baked beans recipe:

Drunken Baked Beans

20 pcs center cut bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 (28 oz) cans of baked beans
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp honey
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Cut bacon into one-inch pieces and cook until crispy.
Drain and remove all but 2 tbsp of grease.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Remove garlic and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix beans, onion powder, honey, and brown sugar.
Mix in the Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
Mix in the garlic and bacon (save about 1/4 c of bacon to put on top before baking).
Sprinkle 1/4 c bacon on top.
Bake for 1 hour.

If you’re not keen on booze in your beans, then feel free to omit that “local product,” as it’s called in Lynchburg, TN. 

Hopefully you’ve got some ideas for your next BBQ. Tag us and let us know which is your favorite on your favorite social media!

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