Before I begin, I just want to give a short disclaimer. This is for you folks out there that think baked beans can be considered a “vegetable” *cough* My Dad… *cough*. Usually, it’s people that don’t realize how you make baked beans that think this. Well, it just wouldn’t be right for me to go on and talk about this wonderful homemade baked beans recipe without clearing that up- baked beans can not be considered a vegetable. At least for those of you that think in terms like that. They are a side dish, yes, but really once turned into what we know and love as the infamous baked beans they have very little nutritional value left. Therefore, for those of you that need to know for diet purposes, baked beans are a starch.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy baked beans every once in a great while, especially in the summer, despite the fact that they are not so healthy. I mean, they are darn delicious people! Thick and sweet… with wonderful undertones of molasses and smokiness. I’m truly a fan. And it wasn’t until I looked into making my first batch of baked beans this week that I realized how EASY they are to make! Forget the can… homemade is the way to go.
I went with a recipe as seen on the Pioneer Woman’s website. I just trust her whole-heartedly. And she raved so deeply about these beans that I knew they had to be good. Not to mention they were incredibly simple to throw together. The hardest part was to have the oven on for 2 1/2 hours during this heatwave… not the best planned week to make baked beans, but hey, what are ya gonna do?
Let me just give you a quick rundown of these baked beans so you can understand exactly just how easy they are. You take some bacon and partially cook it to release some of the greases. Then you use the bacon grease to saute some onions and green pepper. Once those are tender you throw in 3 cans of pork & beans (juices and all), along with some bbq sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. The mixture is DONE. All you need to do to finish it off it pour it into a 9×13-inch pan, shingle on the original bacon slices, and bake for 2 hours. SO simple, right? And the recipe turns out some really fabulous, thick, sweet beans. Carmelized and delicious, you really can’t go wrong.
The Easiest Baked Beans
Serves: up to 18
- 8 slices bacon, halved
- 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
- ½ medium green pepper, cut into small dice
- 3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork or beef and beans
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup distilled or cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325°F. Fry bacon in large, deep sautés pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about ¼ cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels.
Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans and remaining ingredients; bring to a simmer. (If the skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients).
Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.