Great barbecue beans don't need to take half a day to make—using canned beans with a sauce built from scratch delivers a lot of the depth associated with more time-intensive recipes.
Why this recipe works:
- Bacon gives the beans that must-have smoky flavor.
- Canned pork and beans increases the meatiness even more.
- Using a variety of beans adds a pleasing mixture of textures.
- Cooking the beans using low heat in the oven not only gently warms the beans through, but also reduces the sauce, resulting in a deeper, more concentrated flavor.
Note: You can substitute any two 15.5oz cans of your favorite beans—great northern and butter beans are just two that I think work nicely together.
- 4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 2 tablespoons finely diced green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely diced seeded jalapeño (about 1 small pepper)
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon barbecue rub
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 (19-ounce) can pork and beans
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 300°F. Place a 12-inch skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until fat has rendered and bacon has crisped, 7-10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.
Add onion to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens and begins to brown around the edges, about 7 minutes. Stir in green pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, apple juice, honey, molasses, vinegar, barbecue rub, mustard, hot sauce, and reserved bacon; bring to a simmer. Gently fold in pork and beans, butter beans, and great northern beans.
Transfer beans to oven and cook, uncovered, until beans are heated through and sauce has thickened, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Season with salt. Serve immediately; alternatively, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze. Reheat before serving.