Discovery of the day: Smokey goodness at my fingertips
I did it: I bought a bottle of Liquid Smoke.
It used to frighten the crap out of me, that little dark bottle filled with mysterious chemicals that made me crave bacon. Then at some point I saw something on FoodTV -- probably by Alton Brown -- about how to make your own, and I wasn't skeered anymore.
Bottom line is that the last few bean-heavy dishes I've made have lacked a certain... something. I tried adding more salt and that helped a little, but there was still no depth. I can't add a lot of heat if my son is going to eat it. I could throw in a ham bone or a little sausage (and I'm not above that) or I could deploy the dark bottle of hickory smoke goodness.
I added a little to the leftover Hoppin' John and it helped a little. But if it was added at the get-go, I think it would make a big difference.