Forget the talking dog.
Let the construction paper and paste-packin’ kindergartener keep her bag of dried beans.
That killer cook-out companion is easier than you think.
Good baked beans just need some finesse.
There’s nothing worse than a dish of watery, bland brown beads.
You want that proper pairing of sweet and tangy. You want a slightly thick and creamy sauce. You want richness. You want to feel naughty.
I don’t like to start a batch of baked beans with pork and beans. I feel gross saying the words, “Pork and beans.” I don’t know why. I just do.
That little chunk of rubbery, striped pork makes me want to wretch. I’m just not a fan. So I skip this age-old concoction. Sorry.
Simplicity is key here. I mean, this is backyard food. You don’t want some complicated creation that takes you away from the party, right?
I also used the ingredients to make a basic barbecue sauce. Sure you could use the bottled gunk, but why would you, given what’s normally in it? I put Worcestershire into the mix because it adds that little something extra, a depth of flavor you can’t get your guests to guess. The recipe uses just one cast iron skillet. You’re not transferring the baked beans to a baking dish or anything like that. The dish cooks low and slow for one hour. You play while the beans get down to business. Easy!
Here’s what you need:
1 can of chili beans in sauce
1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 /4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup REAL maple syrup
½ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 325.
Put a medium-sized cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter.
Then add the diced onion. Stir. Add a pinch of salt and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes. You want the onion to soften.
Add the drained and rinsed great northern beans and the chili beans (sauce and all) to the pan. Stir.
Stir and serve.
There’s no bacon here. Did you notice? I didn’t. You don’t need it.
What you do need is willpower. Without it you’ll want to polish off the pan.
I knew this was a good batch when my partner in cuisine crime cleared his plate and said, “Did you write down this recipe?”
Tip: If you’d like baked beans with a kick, add a Tbsp. of Sriracha, a Tbsp. of adobo from a can of chipotles, or add 1 diced jalapeño to the onions at the beginning of the recipe.