Baked Bean for a Crowd
August 11, 2006 3:50 PM   Subscribe

BBQFilter - I'm looking for a really excellent baked beans recipe, preferably from scratch.

I know there are knock-your-socks-off baked beans recipies out there (yes, I can google too), but I'm looking for a little personal advice from you mefi kiddos on a really excellent baked beans recipie. Specifially, this is for a BBQ tomorrow for a bunch of Texans that just relocated to the Northwest, so spicyish isn't bad.

I'd prefer do the whole bean-soaking thing vs starting with canned beans. Serving suggestions for a BBQ style potluck are appreciated.
posted by crunchyk9 to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My mother has a very easy baked bean recipe that receives raves. She makes it for picnics and Thanksgiving. I have made it also numerous times, and always receive tons of compliments. It isn't from scratch though, so you might not be interested.

Here is what you need:
large aluminum disposable baking pan
2 giant cans of Van de Camp baked beans
box of light or dark brown sugar
premium bacon
aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350

Drain one can of beans completely, but not the other. Pour into baking pan. Add brown sugar and stir well, top with bacon slices. Cover with foil and bake for an hour. For the last 15 minutes, remove foil to brown bacon.

You can jazz it up by adding sauteed chopped onions to the beans, or whatever you prefer.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:21 PM on August 11, 2006

Chipotle Baked Beans

The night before:
2 16-ounce bags of Great Northern Beans (the small white ones) soaked overnight, then cooked with onion, garlic and thyme until done (you can substitute 6 cans of the same beans if you're pressed for time)


6 bacon slices
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 cups barbecue sauce (store-bought is fine)
3/4 cup dark beer (I use Guinness)
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 to 6 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Saute onions in the bacon fat drippings until transparent. Transfer onions to large bowl. Finely chop bacon; add to bowl. Add BBQ sauce, beer, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and whisk to blend. Whisk in 4 to 6 teaspoons chipotle chilies, depending on how Texan your guests are. Stir in beans. Transfer bean mixture to a baking dish. (I mix everything together right in a 4-qt dutch oven, but a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish also works.)

Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

It takes a little planning ahead, but it's very easy, the beans are rich and smoky, and it reheats well, so you can make it ahead of time if you want.
posted by ambrosia at 5:15 PM on August 11, 2006 [2 favorites]

I can't find the recipe I normally use, but this one is very similar. Sweet, tart, gooey goodness. You can throw in some jalapeno slices in the last 5 minutes of cooking to give it an extra kick.

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4 inch slivers
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-ounce cans great northern or kidney beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
1/4 cup sulphured molasses, or to taste
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb. Dijon mustard
1 Tb. dry mustard
2 Tbs. cider vinegar, or to taste
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat to render the fat, about 5 minutes. Discard all but 2 Tbs. fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, sugar, molasses, barbecue sauce, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, mustards, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Simmer the beans, uncovered, until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:54 PM on August 11, 2006

Just remembered what's missing from the above recipe. 1/4 c maple syrup. Also, I've never added liquid smoke, bacon is plenty smokey.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:56 PM on August 11, 2006

The secret to great baked beans is good molasses (and onions and vinegar and bacon) but really, the molasses makes the beans. Use the best you can find. The balance of sweet from the molasses and bite from the vinegar determines the tone of the recipe. You want a pretty good dosing from each without going overboard. It takes experimentation to get the right level and ratio for your tastes.
posted by caddis at 11:43 PM on August 11, 2006

Cooks Illustrated, those extraordinary geeks of kitchen tinkering, published their definitive recipe a few years ago. You'll find it here. [Scroll down to the very bottom.] The mustard is more than a flavoring agent; along with the molasses, it alters the pH to good effect. (I don't have the issue in front of me, and I cannot recall exactly what the effect was --- perhaps allowing proper softening of the beans, or heightening the flavor?)

Laurie Colwin, a writer for Gourmet, novelist, author of chatty cookbooks, and a queen of homestyle cooking, recommended a lid of dough made from flour and water: it sealed the pot perfectly, allowing the beans to steam 'til soft without losing their shape and texture.
posted by Elsa at 9:11 AM on August 12, 2006

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