I didn’t like baked beans when I was a kid. I’m not sure why. Luckily I outgrew that stage and lately I have actually craved them. Just the same, I’m not sure why. Another excuse to eat bacon?
Speaking of bacon, when Honey Buns was in college and we were poor, we couldn’t afford bacon or orange juice. When he graduated and got his first job, we added bacon and orange juice to our grocery list. It was a very exciting time for us.
Anyway, back to the beans. Most people have their own favorite version of baked beans and this is my personal favorite. I’ve tried a number of variations on a theme, but this one comes out on top. It is well balanced between tangy and sweet and the bacon gives it a nice smokey flavor. Sometimes when I get a little wild, I’ll throw in some pineapple just for fun.
Recipe by Terri
- ½ pound bacon
- 1 onion, small dice
- 1 green pepper, small dice (I used a poblano for a little heat)
- 2-15 oz. cans pork and beans (or whatever the current down-sized can might be…14.? oz.)
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 1 tablespoon molasses
Fry the bacon in a skillet until soft and the fat has rendered. Don’t fry until crisp. The bacon will continue to cook in the oven with the beans. Remove bacon from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the frying pan. Add the onion and green pepper dices and cook over medium heat until tender.
While the onions and green peppers are cooking, take half of the bacon strips and cut them into ½-inch pieces. Set aside. Cut the remaining bacon strips in half crosswise. Set aside.
When the onions and green peppers are soft, add the pork and beans, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, molasses, and small bacon pieces. Stir all together, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Transfer to an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Lay the bacon strip halves on top. Bake uncovered in a 325-degree oven for about 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken.