These southern style Homemade Bacon, Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans are jam packed with bold BBQ flavor and taste a billion times better than the stuff from a can! Smoky, spicy, and sweet, these beans are perfect for your next potluck, barbecue or summer soiree! This recipe includes instructions for canned or dried beans, plus directions for the oven, stove top and slow cooker!
**This post was originally published in June 2015. I took new photos and updated the recipe. The actual written words in this post remain the same.**
Hi-ya all! Happy almost Father’s Day weekend!
I hope all the daughters (or wives) have plans to show the love and provide lots of fantastic food for dad this weekend!
And, I hope all the papas out there bask in the love and laughter!
Today I am sharing a recipe for magical fruit, because no summer gathering is really complete without them.
But first, I want to talk about me for a hot minute. 🙂
There is an ever present and reoccurring theme in my life as of late. The theme that tragedy and heartache are accompanied by joyful moments and cheer. I do not want to dwell on, or talk about, the heartbreaking events that occurred over the weekend, but instead, I would like to share a wonderful one.
You may (or may not) have noticed the Daily Meal banner on the side this site. It’s there because I am a part of their Culinary Content Network. (UPDATE: Banner is no longer there)
Every week they have a ‘Sharing With A Theme’ recipe round-up, and this past week the theme was shrimp. My margarita shrimp taco tarts landed me the coveted spot of the week’s recipe winner. (<—That is just the good news)
The article was picked up by MSN.com and featured on their homepage Saturday. The wonderful news is that one of my photos was the feature photo for the article. Therefore, my tart photo was on the homepage of MSN all day Saturday. (You can check out the article here.)
I understand that this fete may not seem like a big deal to some people. But to me, it is huge. So I am going to bask in the glory and Woot-Woot it up, dang it!
(Insert feet kicked up and me lounging in the wondrousness of life here…)
Okay, enough gloating. Onto beans, beans… the magical fruit!
Bourbon Brown Sugar Baked Beans with Candied Bacon
These homemade beans are the perfect side dish for any BBQ, grill out, or outdoor shindig.
I know everyone has a recipe for baked beans, and everyone claims theirs are the best. I’m not bold (or naïve) enough to stake that claim.
I have not tried every single bean recipe out there.
Plus, I’m not about to hate on everyone else’s recipe just to make mine seem better. That’s kinda lame and I simply don’t roll like that.
I can, however, confidently state that these beans right here, they are pretty freggin’ epic.
Boy has been devouring these melt in your mouth, magically delicious beans thrice daily for a week and has requested I make more.
These baked bad boys are smoky, boozy, spicy, sweet, meaty and tender. And, they are jam packed with bold, bodacious BBQ flavor.
Not to mention, they are a BILLION times better than that crap in a can.
But, they are made even more amazing with the addition of candied bacon. Because, well… candied bacon! Hello!?
The sweet crispness of the bacon adds that je-ne-sais-quoi to the beans and takes their flavor to a stratospheric level of yum.
These beans rock the dang house, but instead of taking my word for it, you should most definitely make these Easy Homemade Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans for your next BBQ hoedown. I can guarantee everyone will love them. Until next time, Cheers and happy cooking!
How to make Homemade Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans👇
- ½ Pound Thick Cut Bacon , cut into pieces
- 1 medium Yellow Onion , finely diced (about heaping cup)
- ½ Green Bell Pepper , finely diced (about ½ cup)
- 3 large Cloves Garlic , minced
- 2 (28 ounce) cans Navy Beans , drained and rinsed*
- 1 Cup Bourbon
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar , packed
- 1/3 Cup Molasses
- 2 TBS Yellow Mustard (can substitute Dijon)
- 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
- Kosher Salt and Pepper , to taste
- 1 Cup Hot Water or Broth* (more as needed)
- ½ pound Thick Cut Bacon
- ½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar , packed
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat* and add chopped bacon. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the onion, bell pepper and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant and the bacon is browned, about 1 minute.
- Add in the remaining ingredients (if using slow cooker method, reduce water to ½ cup*), stirring to make sure everything is well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- OVEN: Cover pot and transfer it to a preheat 300 degree F oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove the lid, stir, and continue to bake until the sauce is thickened and sticky, about an additional 30-45 minutes. If needed during baking, add more water to adjust consistency.
- STOVE TOP: Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring at 30 minute intervals, for 1 ½ hours, or until the sauce is thickened and sticky.
- SLOW COOKER: (Make sure you reduced water to ½ cup in step 2) Transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on LOW.
- Taste beans and adjust for salt and pepper to taste. Top with crumbled candied bacon if using.
- For the candied bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack insert into the sheet pan. In a shallow dish combine the sugar, cayenne, cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper. Working one slice of bacon at a time, press and rub the sugar mixture onto the bacon. Transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with remaining slices of bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bacon is crip and cooked through. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Allow to cool. Cut or crumble bacon into desired sized pieces.
*You can substitute any kind of beans you would like: Northern, Pinto, Red Kidney Beans, or use a mix of two!
*If your bacon is lean, add a small drizzle of oil to the pan before adding the bacon. *If the beans aren’t thickened and sticky, continue to cook them with the lid OFF until mixture thickens to desired consistency.
*If you want to cook the beans in the oven AND garnish with candied bacon, cook the candied bacon in advance. It will keep in a zip-closure bag, or container with a tight fitting lid, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*To Use Dried Beans: (You will need 1 pound of dried beans)
1. Soak Beans:
Overnight method: Whisk together 8 cups of water with ½ tsp baking soda and 2 TBS kosher salt in a large pot. Add the beans, cover, and let soak at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours). Transfer to a colander to drain and rinse well with running water.
Quick soak method: Place beans in a large pot with ½ tsp baking soda and 2 TBS kosher salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by 2-3’’. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Transfer beans to a colander to drain and rinse well with running water.
2. Cook Beans: Add beans back to the pot and add enough water to cover the beans by 3’’. Bring beans to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 1 hour. Drain and proceed with recipe as instructed.