Savory, sweet, thick and hearty, these baked beans with bacon are perfectly seasoned, baked to perfection and with a few shortcuts incredibly easy to make!
These Zesty Baked Beans with Bacon will make your taste buds sing! Less than 20 minutes of hands on cooking and only an hour of baking yet so much flavor! The perfect side dish for your next dinner, BBQ or gathering!
I am very picky when it comes to baked beans. Obviously, not all recipes are created equal and everyone seems to have a favorite. In the case of baked beans, I love complex flavors. Some smokiness, a bit of zesty heat – without being too spicy and lots of sweetness.
I love the idea of simmered-for-hours beans with the addition of some forever-smoked meat, then reality hits me! To make them at home, they need to be easy and somewhat quick. Or at least allow me to put them in the oven while I do other things (
like wine sipping like house cleaning). They also need to pack a whole lot of flavor because life is too short to eat bland food!
I have a couple of secret weapons to achieve layers of flavor and complexity in these Zesty Baked Beans with Bacon. The first one – you guessed it – bacon! I crisp up the bacon and use the bacon drippings to cook the onions, peppers and garlic.
The next flavor booster is beer. If you are wondering – can the kids eat these Baked Beans with Bacon if you add beer? The answer is, absolutely yes! First when you boil any alcoholic drink, the alcohol evaporates leaving behind the flavor or essence of whatever drink you are using. In this recipe after you add the beer, you will reduce it until it almost evaporates completely. No alcohol left after that. Just flavor. Lots of flavor.
Next, come some of the common ingredients in baked beans, BBQ sauce (homemade or your favorite store bought is OK), brown sugar and molasses. I also use ground ginger and ground mustard. Both add amazing depth of flavor so do not skip them!!
To cut on prep time and cooking time, canned beans come to the rescue! A combination of already flavorful pork and beans and baked beans balance out the sweetness of the entire dish adding once again an extra layer of flavor.
- I use 2 (15-ounces) cans of Pork and Beans and 1 (28-ounces) can of Baked Beans. Buy “original” if available and drain them. Now there’s no need to go crazy trying to remove every drop of liquid from them!
- The dried ginger may be a bit unusual but you don’t want to skip it!
- I used regular beer. Not light, not dark, not fancy…. however, during the fall I will try these Zesty Baked Bean with Bacon recipe with Hard Apple Cider Beer – I think the flavors can work well – sorry guys I am always thinking of food and how to make things more exciting! I will let you know how that goes!
- The store-bought BBQ sauce debate: My son and I cannot agree on a favorite. He loves Stubb’s and I prefer Baby Sweet Ray’s. I used the latter for this recipe – and if I don’t have enough, I mix both!
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- 8 onces bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup beer
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 2 (15 ounce) cans Pork and Beans, drained
- 1 (28 ounce) can Baked Beans, drained
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
In a medium pot over medium heat, cook bacon until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and drain on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the beer and bring to a boil. Reduce until almost all the beer has evaporated.
Add the BBQ sauce, molasses and sugar and mix to combine. Add the ginger and mustard and mix well.
Add the Pork and Beans and Baked Beans and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the beans into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with the bacon and bake for 1 hour.