These delicious baked beans will be a hit at any barbecue or picnic! Full of the sweet, smoky, and a little bit spicy flavor of good barbecue sauce, along with sautéed bacon and onions, these festive baked beans are a great mixture of comfort food and party food. And though it is summer, which means picnics and potlucks, I can imagine these barbecue baked beans would be comforting and cozy in the winter months as well. Either way, this dish is truly an easy crowd-pleaser that tastes like it was harder to make than it actually was!
I love how fluid recipes can be. They evolve, change hands, get passed around among friends, and passed down through the generations. This recipe has evolved from some super-tasty baked beans my cousin and his wife (who also feels like a cousin to me) make. We were at their lovely home for a barbecue recently, and my husband, son, and I were all raving about the baked beans, so my cousin’s wife told me how she makes them. Nothing written down, just telling me from memory, because this recipe is so classic and basic that it can be re-created and adapted to fit your tastes, according to your choice of sauce and type of beans. Thank you, cousins, for this recipe idea!
We have been thinking about those baked beans, so yesterday, my son and I set out to make a similar batch of barbecue baked beans, and they turned out great! Very much like the ones we were trying to re-create. The grocery store we were at didn’t have the maple chipotle sauce my cousin’s wife mentioned, but we got another really tasty barbecue sauce, by a local Michigan company, called Rib Rack BBQ Sauce. Then, like she told us to do, we used a mixture of different types of beans, and the sautéed bacon and onion gave the whole dish extra flavor and complexity. The beauty of these barbecue baked beans is that they are super-easy to make, but have such a rich flavor. I think that has to do with the fact that everything is baked in low heat for an hour, so all the flavors get a chance to mingle and deepen. And while they are baking in the oven, you have time to do other things, like barbecue the meat, or make a potato salad, or clean the kitchen, or sit on the porch with a beverage….
Eating outdoors is one of my favorite aspects of summer time. It seems like people are more relaxed outdoors, and conversation flows more easily. Or maybe it’s easier to allow for spaces in between conversation outdoors, because the lulls are filled with the sounds of singing birds, or chirping insects, or children playing. Food just seems to taste better when we are eating outdoors too.
We have just gotten out of a long heat wave here, and today the weather is perfect. The breeze is blowing in the open windows, making the curtains flow and move like they are part of a dance. In a couple of days, we will go pick up our daughter from camp, and hopefully stop by Lake Michigan on the way back.But first, I will take these barbecue baked beans over to Angie’s virtual potluck Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. If you are looking for a side dish to take to a picnic, party, or barbecue, give them a try! Have a great weekend!
Barbecue Baked Beans
- 1/2 cup of onion, finely diced
- 6 strips of bacon, diced
- 1 can (16 ounces) of dark red kidney beans
- 1 can (16 ounces) of cannellini beans
- 1 can (16 ounces) of pinto beans
- 1 can (16 ounces) of mixed chili beans (you could also use black beans)
- 1 can (16 ounces) of pork & beans
- 1 jar, or if the jar is larger, about 11 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce
Dice your onion and bacon. In a skillet, cook the onion and bacon over medium heat until the onion is soft and bacon is cooked but not too crispy. Drain off the fat and set the pan aside. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour all of the beans into a large colander and drain and rinse them. Spoon the beans, bacon, and onion into a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour in your barbecue sauce and stir gently to mix and combine everything. Bake in your 325 degree oven for an hour. Serve the beans warm or cold. Enjoy!