Whoa, Nelly. I never knew baked beans could be this good. I never knew baked beans could be improved upon; I never knew baked beans could be such a triumph, such a prayer, such a song.
But they can. I now know they can.
Pam Anderson—and sometimes like to call her “Pamanderson” just to conserve energy—whipped up some baked beans to go with her ribs and Caesar salad last week.
The beans? They were all that and a bag of doughnuts. And I live in one of the southern states. I know about baked beans.
I know about doughnuts, too. But that’s another story for another time.
Start with eight slices of bacon. The thick stuff is great. The thick, peppered stuff is even better.
Cut the slices in half, then fry them on medium-low heat. You don’t want to brown or crisp the bacon at all; the point is only to render the fat and get the bacon pieces ready to bake up and turn brown in the oven.
Remove the bacon pieces once the fat is rendered, and in the name of all that is good and right, do NOT pour out the grease and clean the skillet! If you do, you’ll regret it for the rest of your days.
Next, dice up an onion…
And a green bell pepper.
First cut it into strips…
Then dice it right up.
Next, measure 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce.
Pour it into a bowl…
And throw in 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Add 1/4 cup distilled white or apple cider vinegar.
Finally, add a couple of tablespoons Dijon mustard and mix the whole thing together.
Now. Back to the skillet. You can pour off a little of the excess grease, but leave some in there for good measure.
Put the skillet over medium heat, then throw in the onions and green peppers.
Stir ’em around and cook ’em for a few minutes, or until tender.
Then, pour in three cans of good ol’ pork ‘n beans. They’re the best beans for making baked beans. Everyone who’s anyone knows that!
Use These Kitchen Must-Haves to Make Your Next Batch of Baked Beans ?
I’ve made baked beans from scratch before—soaked the navy beans and everything. They just weren’t as good as the ones made with pork ‘n beans.
Does that make me a bad person?
Stir it together, then pour in the barbecue sauce/brown sugar mixture.
Bring this all to a simmer. And I think if you like things spicy, you could easily add in some chopped fresh jalapeno to the onion/green pepper mixture. That would give these some serious kick.
Then pour it into a large casserole pan.
Finally, put the half-cooked bacon slices all over the top. Since the fat has already been rendered from these, they’re going to cook up really nicely in the oven…and there won’t be that big layer of grease standing on top of the beans.
Not that I’ve ever minded that big layer of grease.
I’ve never minded bacon grease in my life.
Now, here’s the key: bake this low and slow—325 degrees for 2 hours. You want the beans to be very, very cooked, the bacon very, very brown, and no soupiness to the dish whasoever.
You won’t believe how delicious these are.
Labor Day: make these baked beans! I’m a serious baked bean fan, and I couldn’t get enough of these. They were absolutely perfect.
Thank you, Pamanderson. You cook reeeeel goooood. Has anyone ever told you that?