At potlucks, cookouts, picnics, barbecues, and the like, we’re all used to seeing the familiar dish of baked beans. And why not? They’re good. They’re dependable. They’re soft and tender, sweet and savory, hearty and filling. They’re a side dish mainstay that everyone spoons on their plate without thinking much about it. But if you’re the one bringing the beans next time, don’t you want to bring beans that people will think about? Don’t you want to bring the best baked beans ever?
Well, good news, you guys. These beans here answer that call. These beans are ahhh-maz-ing. These beans are the complete package. These beans are the. best. ever.
They’re cooked low and slow in a sauce that is sweet and tangy and layered with flavor, and as it cooks that sauce becomes caramelized and surrounds those soft and tender beans in a blanket of nuanced flavor. There’s also bacon involved.
But not sad, soggy, chewy bacon. The bacon is partially cooked beforehand and then arranged on top of the dish before baking, so as it cooks it becomes perfectly crispy. When the beans come out of the oven and you’re ready to serve, that bacon crumbles easily against your spoon and imparts a smoky, crunchy bite to each mouthful. Bean and bacon perfection.
- 3 large cans (28 oz each) pork and beans
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 slices bacon, halved
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium heat until it has partially cooked. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Add onions to bacon drippings in pan and cook until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes.
Add beans, ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar to skillet and bring to a simmer. (If skillet isn’t large enough, bring these to a simmer in a separate pot.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour into prepared baking dish.
Top beans with slices of partially cooked bacon and place in oven on middle rack. Bake until the top is dark and caramelized and sauce is thick and syrupy, 2-3 hours.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!