Sweet and savory baked beans get a southern spin with the addition of bacon and barbecue sauce…plus they’re extremely quick and easy to whip up since they start with canned white beans!
Ack! Y’all…I cannot believe it’s July. I know I sound like a broken record with the arrival of each new month, but seriously, people…where has this year gone???
Despite my state of denial regarding the passage of time, the 1st of July means it’s almost time for the Fourth of July, and America’s birthday is certainly something to celebrate! So do you have your menu decided yet? In case the answer is ‘no,’ be sure to hop over and check out the round-up I shared last week, featuring some of my favorite 4th-friendly recipes and a collection of gorgeous, flag-inspired desserts. But then be sure to come right back, because you won’t want to miss the recipe I’ve got up my sleeve today!
Back already? Well, aren’t you efficient. 😉
So today I’m sharing a super simple, absolutely yummy side dish that would be a perfect accompaniment to just about any Independence Day fare. While traditional baked beans are a cooked-all-day, northeastern (think Boston) specialty often associated with wintertime comfort food, Southern Baked Beans are the perfect side dish for just about any variety of barbecue or grilled entree. They boast the sweetness of brown sugar and pure maple syrup alongside the savory notes of barbecue sauce, mustard, and — best of all! — bacon. Y’all know I love me some bacon.
And have I mentioned how easy this dish is to throw together? It takes the shortcut step of using canned white beans, so it can literally be assembled in mere minutes. That’s right, folks…no overnight soaking or long, slow cooking. Just mix everything together, top with pieces of bacon, and bake until the beans are bubbly and the bacon is crispy.
Speaking of the bacon, I prefer to use relatively lean, regular to thin-cut strips for this recipe. Since the bacon bakes right with the beans, you don’t want to have to worry about excess bacon grease floating on the surface as a result of using fatty bacon. Plus, the thick-cut stuff may not suitably crisp up situated on top of all those beans.
I find that snipping raw bacon into small pieces using kitchen shears is always faster and easier than trying to cut it with a knife. And if my bacon hasn’t started browning around the edges by the end of the cooking time, I like to switch on the broiler for a few extra minutes until it’s nice and crispy. If you end up taking this step, just promise me that you’ll watch it carefully, because you don’t want to ruin such a tasty dish by burning your bacon!
Even if your July 4th menu is set at this point and your groceries are already purchased (go, you!), I hope you’ll still try these Southern Baked Beans the next time you need a speedy, simple, scrumptious summer side dish. I especially enjoy taking these to potlucks and get-togethers because, not only are they easy to make in mass quantities, but they are also always a hit with kids and adults alike.
Happy almost-Fourth, friends! And may July drag on long enough to make up for all those other inconsiderate months that just sped on by. 😉
Southern Baked Beans Recipe
Southern Baked Beans
- 2 cans (16-ounces each) white beans (such as Navy or Great Northern beans), drained
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 pound lean bacon, NOT thick-cut, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In an 8- by 8-inch square baking dish (or any baking dish with 1 1/2 to 2 quart capacity), combine beans, syrup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and lemon juice. Mix well. Evenly top beans with a single layer of bacon pieces. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown bacon. If bacon is not sufficiently crisp by the end of the baking time, turn on the broiler and broil for a few more minutes (watch carefully the entire time!) until bacon is to desired doneness.
- Keep in mind that the type of barbecue sauce you use is going to contribute that same flavor to your beans (smokey vs. spicy vs. sweet, etc.).
- If there is excess bacon grease on the top of the dish when you take it out of the oven, lay a paper towel over the surface to quickly blot it up.
- This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9- by 13-inch dish.
More Summer Sides
- Slow Cooker Ranch Beans
- The Easiest, Tastiest, BEST Way to Cook Fresh Corn
- German Potato Salad
- Baked Parmesan Zucchini Rounds
- Tomato Cucumber Pasta Salad with Avocado, Olives, Feta, & Dill