Saturday, March 21, 2009

Southern Style Baked Beans

Southern seasoned beans with chili sauce, mustard, brown sugar, bacon, onion and bell pepper - they're a cookout tradition!

Southern Style Baked Beans

I have been cooking my baked beans pretty much this same way since the 70s. And I have been doing them in that Pyrex dish down there at the bottom since Day 1 - they just aren't the same otherwise. I can't tell you how many pot lucks that little carrier basket has been to over the years! {I told y'all I had some old dishes, though I guess the politically correct way to say that would be "vintage."}

You can certainly start with dry beans and cook up these baked beans from scratch if you prefer, but personally, I like using canned beans and highly recommend starting off with Bush's Original Baked Beans if you prefer to go the name brand route on beans. You just cannot go wrong with Bush's - that ole dog Duke is right! To save money though, I found that less expensive, generic pork and beans are also still pretty darned tasty too, though you'll want to bump up the seasonings a bit with those. Either way, these are easy, speedy and delicious and always a winner at any pot luck or party.

I use basic chili sauce in my beans which adds great flavor, though I once substituted some Thai chili sauce, I had in the fridge that needed to be used up. I still used a bit of hot sauce and the Cajun seasoning and it worked out great, giving the beans a great, super spicy kick, though I gotta say... the next day, woooooweeeeeee were these some spicy, hot beans! Even a bit much for this gal, but hey, if you like spicy heat, try that, otherwise use something like good ole Heinz chili sauce, barbecue sauce, or even plain ketchup will do.

Hey while you're here, check out my Spicy Meat Trio Barbecued Baked Beans too - these are bumped up beefy barbecue baked beans y'all - it's good and meaty.
Heinz Chili Sauce is a tomato based product, containing tomato puree, onion, garlic and other seasonings.

You'll notice that, unlike some Southerners, I do not put strips of raw bacon across the top of my baked beans.

It certainly isn't because I don't like bacon, and of course, my baked beans are cooked with plenty of bacon. Southern baked beans simply must have bacon, no way around that one really. While I do think putting it on top is nice for presentation for a picnic or potluck, I prefer to render the bacon in a skillet, saute the veggies in the drippings, and mixing that into the beans, giving a great smokey bacon flavor all throughout the beans, instead of just on top, and no fat from raw bacon dripping down into the beans.

I'm also a fan of bacon done well and crispy, and the strips when baked on top, will not have enough time to cook through and crisp up, without overcooking, and drying out, the beans. I've noticed at every party I've ever seen baked beans topped with bacon, the bacon is always undercooked and just gets shoved to the side and rarely eaten. Frankly, bacon is a bit too costly these days for that. You can run the dish under the broiler at the end, but you risk drying out and burning the top of the beans that way too.

All that to say, I prefer my bacon flavor mixed in the beans, but that is just my own personal preference. If you prefer putting bacon on top, you go right on ahead and do that. There is no wrong way in your kitchen and don't let me, or any other Southerner tell you otherwise.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Southern Style Baked Beans

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 10 servings

  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 large (1 pound 12 ounce) cans of Bush's original baked beans
  • 1/2 cup of chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 5 turns of the pepper grinder
  • Couple dashes of hot sauce
  • Pinch of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), optional
  • 4 slices of bacon, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until bacon is softened and bacon fat is rendered. Add the onion and bell pepper to the bacon, cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is browned. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 oblong baking dish, top with the strips of raw bacon, and bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F until bubbly, or about 45 minutes.

Cook's Notes: I use Heinz Chili Sauce which is a tomato based product, containing tomato puree, onion, garlic and other seasonings. Plain ketchup or barbecue sauce may also be substituted. I also prefer to use Bush's beans, but substitute an equal amount of your favorite canned beans, or simply plain pork and beans, if desired. Add in a pound of cooked ground beef, or leftover bbq pork to make this a main dish. For a different flavor, add in a small can of drained, crushed pineapple.

From Scratch: Prefer to make these from scratch using dry beans? Substitute a 1-pound bag of dry Navy (Pea) beans, or Great Northern beans. Place into a large pot and cover beans with water plus another 2 inches and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse, return to pot and cover with fresh water plus about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or just until beans are tender and mixture thick. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out beans and proceed with recipe.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on March 21, 2009

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  1. Mmmm. Bush's beans are simply the best, and I highly recommend trying them before substituting any cheaper brand.

    I use Kraft honey barbeque in place of where you use chili sauce, and I use worchestershire (spelling?) sauce instead of any hot sauce in my Bush beans recipe, and I double the brown sugar. Otherwise, our recipes are the same....350 degrees for 45 minutes in that trusty old 9x13 Pyrex dish (not sure how any cook ever got along without them!). Oh, and you can't have too much bacon in this recipe.

    There's nothing like Southern cooking. Our taste buds are quite spoiled. :)

    Mobile, Alabama

    1. Michele, I've been making my beans this way forever, but I'll have to try those adjustments! Sounds good to me.

  2. I had high hopes when I clicked on this recipe for baked beans that it would be like the ones my mom used to make -- and it is! Thank you - this brings back good memories.

    Transplanted Southerner in Park Ridge, Illinois

    1. Thanks Sharon! It's one of those oldie recipes for sure.

  3. Michele, I've been making my beans this way forever, but I'll have to try those adjustments! Sounds good to me.

    Thanks Sharon! It's one of those oldie recipes for sure.

  4. I made this recipe but added one thing that I learned from my friends mom who was a caterer, I add a can of diced pineapple and a little juice. I call them Hawaiian beans, so yummy and everyone loves them and always requests me to bring this dish. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  5. I have heard that before Stephenie but have yet to try it. I LOVE pineapple so it sounds delish to me - gotta try it. Thanks!!

  6. We must have been seperated at birth! I have the same dishes "Baker In A Basket" pyrex 13x9 & the round one with the lid! My husband bought them for me in 1977 for our first Christmas...yeah I'm "Vintage" but I got married at 18 so...LOL Love this recipe, it's what my mom has made for years too. The only one that taste right to me.

  7. I love it Sheila!! That's actually the year I got that baker too for a wedding gift & I was 19 - I think it had the round bowl too, but I've since broken that. This is a classic recipe - I'd venture to say it's a "heritage" recipe!

  8. I made this for our cookout tomorrow. I took the idea of one of the reviewers and added a can of pineapple. I was so excited to taste it that when it came out of the oven I eagerly took a bite and burnt the roof of my mouth and some taste buds... now you know it has to be good eating if you can't wait for it cool to take a bite..!!
    ~Vanessa L.

  9. Oh no Vanessa! Yeah, hot beans can burn good. Well, you'll have to let me know how you liked it with the pineapple!

  10. I can't wait to add some "Slap Yo Mama" in a pan of baked beans...I'm LOVING that "stuff".

  11. I searched on some of the big recipe sites but couldn't find the recipes I wanted. I am so glad I found yours!! I made these beans for my family for our Memorial Day cookout and everyone raved over them. I love that feeling when you bring a dish somewhere and people go crazy over it and start begging for the recipe! =) Thank you and I will be trying many more on your page. - Missy

    1. Thank you so much Missy! I have had one of "those days" and reading your comment was just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and share this. I'm so glad they were a hit!


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