The quintessential summer side dish, barbeque baked beans are a staple of picnics and backyard BBQs. They are delicious on their own, and perfectly complement burgers, hot dogs, and ribs. Along with coleslaw and fresh corn on the cob, my summer memories are packed with these little tangy red jewels.
For a while in my life, I hated baked beans, for exactly the reason stated above: I had too much of a good thing. And I also had some bad experiences, wherein the beans were pure mush and tasted awful. It wasn’t until I began cooking in earnest, and made my own sauce, that I decided to give them another shot. And boy am I glad I did!
Homemade sauce, bacon, and beans elevates this humble side dish to a truly gastronomic experience. Try it yourself and you will see.
- 2 cans red beans, drained
- (Or 1 cup dried, boiled for 2-3 hours)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1/2 – 2/3 cups BBQ Sauce
- 1-2 tsp liquid smoke
- Seasoning salt to taste
Step 1: Open the beans and drain them. Rinse to remove excess sodium. Alternatively, use 1-2 cups dried, and boil them for 2-3 hours, until soft.
Step 2: Cook your bacon over med-low heat, until beginning to brown. You don’t want it too crispy. Lay on a stack of paper towels to drain.
Step 3: Place beans in a pot, and add BBQ sauce and flavorings. Cut or chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Simmer it all together for 20-30 minutes to let flavors meld.
Then serve! Enjoy alongside whatever summer dishes you like, or in the dead of winter to remember these warm sunny days.
The best part is that as long as you make the sauce yourself (can control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat added), and the beans too (how much sugar or salt or bacon is involved), this dish is healthier than you may think.
Typical store-bought baked beans come loaded with nitrates, stabilizers, preservatives, salt, sugar, and fat. This is to allow it to store on the shelf longer, and to taste addictively good.
Awesomely, you can create an even-better-tasting addictively good dish yourself with just a few minutes of active work, and a few minutes of unattended simmering. Whip this up for your next picnic or party and watch it disappear.