When it comes to summer and cookouts, pulled pork and ribs, hot dogs and burgers…baked beans come to my mind as the perfect complement. Several years back when I was visiting family in Minnesota, both in the cities and on the farm, a second cousin made these beans and we all HAD to have the recipe. We’ve made them a dozen times since and they’re always a home run with the crowd.
The best part about making these beans is that they are super easy to prep, you can do it the morning of your party and let them simmer all day in the crockpot. You can also bake them in the oven for faster cook time, I’d recommend using a dutch oven if you go that route.
What I really love about these beans is the multi-color of using a variety of canned beans vs just opening several cans of baked beans from the store. This recipe also has a much more varied flavor because of the mix of beans but also the addition of the onions and fresh bacon. Cooking them this way also makes them super easy for serving or transporting if you’re taking them somewhere else.
1 lb. bacon – cut into 1/2″ pieces before browning, then cook in a large skillet until brown (not crisp) and drain on a paper towel. Retain about 2 tbsp of the bacon grease in the frying pan or cast-iron skillet. If you are baking your beans then I’d recommend doing everything in a dutch oven starting with this step.
2 – 4 onions, depending on size, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vinegar
BEANS (5 total cans) – You can use a variety of beans, but definitely include 2 cans of Bush’s or B&M baked beans (regular) and 3 cans of other beans (rinse all the beans except the baked beans). I like using lima beans, butter beans, and either black beans or white kidney (cannellini) beans. You can swap any of those out for garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas or red kidney beans. Use what you like!
- Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan, retaining about 2 tablespoons. Add 2-4 chopped onions to the pan and saute until onions are soft and almost transparent.
- Add the garlic, dry mustard, brown sugar and vinegar. Stir and then simmer for 20 minutes if you’re using your slow cooker; 5 minutes is enough if you’re putting the beans in the oven.
- Into your crockpot pour your 2 cans of baked beans and your 3 chosen cans of other beans (be sure you rinsed those). Stir in bacon pieces; if you are going dutch oven and you did your bacon and onions in it, then now is the time to add all your beans and stir in the bacon.
- CROCKPOT: 3 hours on low (can be longer); BAKE: 350 degrees in a preheated oven for 45-60 minutes – stirring every 15 minutes
Voila, they are done and filled with flavor. We’d love to know if you made these beans and what you thought. If you made a tweak that worked beautifully, share it with us in the comments.
Here’s a quick video that shows you how quick they are to make…