The Best Damned Baked Beans Ever

This past weekend, I attended a barbecue with some of the other people in my doctoral program to watch some college football and eat some delicious food. I asked the hostess, who is one of my favorite people ever, if she already had someone bringing baked beans. She made a concerned face and said, “You know, I always have beans, but nobody ever eats them.” Well, challenge accepted, lady, because I will be bringing the best damned baked beans anyone has ever tasted, and everyone will eat them.

Needless to say, they were the best damned baked beans, and everyone ate them. This is seriously the PERFECT recipe if you need to bring a food to a pot luck or barbecue. It’s fairly inexpensive, crazy easy, and makes a pretty big batch. It served about 20 people; granted, the bowl was scraped clean, so I probably could have made more and they would have been eaten.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound lean-cut bacon, cut into pieces
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 53-oz can pork and beans, drained (I normally use Van Camp’s or Campbell’s)

What you do:

  1. Fry up the bacon in a large pot on medium-high heat. When cooked, remove bacon and put in a separate bowl.
  2. Add the onion to the bacon grease and cook until semi-translucent. Scoop the onion from the pot into a separate bowl using a slotted spoon, allowing the grease to remain in the pot. Discard grease.
  3. Put the onion back in the pot, and add the brown sugar, stirring until just dissolved.
  4. Return bacon to pot, and stir in ketchup and mustard until fully incorporated. This is the sauce for your beans.
  5. Add the beans and stir. Let cook over low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

You can also mix these up and put them in a crock pot for eight hours on low; this is the best way to transport them to a cook out or pot luck, because they can be kept warm on the “Warm” setting. You can also used dried beans in place of the can; just soak the beans according to the package instructions, then add them to the pot when the sauce is mixed up.

I do recommend cooking these the day before your event and refrigerating them overnight; the flavor gets more intense and therefore more delicious.

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