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Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans

Just Try 'Em Baked Beans

I might have half of Who Made The Potato Salad? moved over to the site before the week is out if I keep going at this rate! Today I’m sharing my recipe from homemade – from scratch! – cookout-style baked beans and I’ve adjusted it a bit from what’s written in the ebook so make sure to refer to these updated instructions even if you have the book. I call them “Just Try ‘Em” Baked Beans because that’s very commonly heard when I serve them to groups:

Someone will say something about how good the beans are and ask someone else what they thought. That person will respond that they don’t like baked beans and all of a sudden they’ll find themselves surrounded by people shoving spoons at them and yelling JUST TRY THEM!” This usually ends with them trying a spoonful and being pleasantly surprised (it’s pretty great).

Just Try 'Em Baked Beans ingredients

Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans recipe:

  • Navy beans: These are our base. I use canned navy beans that I drain and rinse. Great northern beans would probably work too but I can’t say for sure.
  • Ground beef: Doesn’t really matter how lean or fatty: we’re cooking it with bacon and draining off the excess grease. I tend to use 90/10.
  • Bacon: Originally this recipe called for 1/4 of a pound of thick-cut bacon that you’d par-cook in the beginning, and then layer on top of the beans while baking. I’ve changed it, and now it calls for a full one-pound pack of bacon, and it gets mixed into the beans. Feel free to reserve a few slices and layer those on top of the beans before baking if you want.
  • Yellow onion, green bell pepper: Dicing these up is probably the most labor-intensive part of this entire recipe. If you tend to avoid onion and or peppers I gently suggest you don’t omit them because they’ll break down during the baking and be barely noticeable in the end, other than their flavor. But you do you, of course.
  • Molasses, dark brown sugar, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce: These make up our sauce. No store-bought BBQ sauce, no ketchup, no yellow mustard. I love being able to control the flavors, the amount of sweet
  • Dry mustard, kosher salt: So I said about no yellow mustard but I didn’t say anything about dry ground mustard! We need the flavor. Don’t omit it. It’ll be noticeable. Kosher salt to taste, and you don’t need much with the bacon.
  • Water: I call for a cup, but you can increase this to a cup and a half (even a cup and three quarters) if you want more liquid. Most of it will be absorbed and what’s left should turn into a thick syrupy sauce.
Just Try 'Em Baked Beans

How to Make Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans recipe:

  • Where’s the beef? Preheat your oven to 350°F and heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and bacon and cook them until there’s no more pink remaining, breaking the ground beef up into small pieces as you go. 
  • Saute the veggies. Add the onions, and bell peppers to the pan. Cook, stirring them into the ground beef and bacon until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the excess oil, then return the meat mixture back to the pan.
  • Build the sauce. Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, and vinegar. Bring everything to a boil, then add the water, mustard, hot sauce, paprika, liquid smoke, and salt. Turn off the heat and taste the beans. If you think they need more salt or sugar, go ahead and add it here. 
  • Bake the beans. Spread the beans out into an even layer and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the center of the oven for one hour, then remove the lid and bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the top of the Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans is deeply browned. Serve warm. Dassit!
Just Try 'Em Baked Beans

What To Serve With Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans

You can make endless variations with this Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans recipe, so please feel free to customize yours to taste!  For example, you could…

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Just Try 'Em Baked Beans

Just Try ‘Em Baked Beans


  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Description

I’ve converted quite a few “ion like baked beans” people (including myself) with this recipe. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 (15 oz) cans navy beans, drained
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 C molasses
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and bacon and cook them until there’s no more pink remaining, breaking the ground beef up into small pieces as you go. 
  2. Add the onions, and bell peppers to the pan. Cook, stirring them into the ground beef and bacon until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the excess oil, then return the meat mixture back to the pan.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, and vinegar. Bring everything to a boil, then add the water, mustard, hot sauce, paprika, liquid smoke, and salt. Turn off the heat and taste the beans. If you think they need more salt or sugar, go ahead and add it here. 
  4. Spread the beans out into an even layer and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the center of the oven for one hour, then remove the lid and bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the top is deeply browned. Serve warm. Dassit!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
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