Photos by Aimee Broussard.

Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Smokin’ sides

With warmer temperatures and graduation celebrations upon us, it’s time to put away those slow cookers and soup bowls in exchange for heading outside and firing up the grill.

In our home, I let my husband have control of the grill. I could do it if I had to, but I much prefer being in charge of the sides instead.

To me, a barbecue isn’t a barbecue without baked beans, and I’ve yet to find a recipe I adore more than one submitted in my very first Traveling Apron Recipe Swap. It’s affectionately named Nana Murphy’s Honey Bourbon Baked Beans because the recipe belongs to a participant’s actual nana. A bit of bacon, a bit of bourbon (declared her nana’s secret ingredient), and these beans are a must anytime we have folks over during the summertime.

Add some Crispy Baked Garlic Smashed Potatoes and watch how quickly they will disappear. These little bite-size golden nuggets are pretty much on rotation at my house these days. Ridiculous easy and with only five ingredients, you’ll want to make them over and over again, too. Get creative and change up the toppings to dazzle your taste buds.

And finally, since we are still enjoying crawfish season around these parts, do me a favor and add my Jalapeño Crawfish Cornbread to your barbecue menu. It’s perfect alongside those beans, and who won’t get excited when they see crawfish on your menu when they were expecting chicken? Likely no one.

Happy celebrating!


3 slices bacon, crumbled
1 onion, diced
2 (16-oz.) cans pork and beans
½ cup bourbon whiskey of choice
13 cup honey-barbecue sauce
½ cup molasses
½ tsp. dry mustard
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; drain on paper towels, then crumble. Keep approximately 2 to 3 Tbsp. of bacon drippings in pan. In same pan used for bacon, sauté onion in reserved bacon drippings until translucent.
In a large bowl, combine bacon and onion with remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased baking dish, and bake for 1 hour or until sauce has thickened.
Makes 4 servings.


2 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs
Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add potatoes; cook until tender but not overly soft (as they’ll continue to cook in the oven later), about 20 to 25 minutes depending on size of potatoes. Once potatoes are tender, drain and place them on prepared baking sheet. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to “smash” tops of potatoes.
In a small bowl, mix oil and garlic together. Using a silicone brush, generously brush oil mixture over top of each potato, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove thyme leaves from sprigs and add to tops of potatoes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops of potatoes are golden and garlic is crispy. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.


2 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 cup cream-style corn
½ onion, chopped
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp. pickled jalapeños, chopped (or more if desired)
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron pan (or 2 small pans). Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour cornbread mixture into prepared pan(s) and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for several minutes before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning author. Her cookbook Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties debuted exclusively on QVC. Join Aimee for weekly recipes with a side of Southern hospitality at and