These southern style Homemade Bacon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans are jam packed with bold BBQ flavor and a billion times better than the stuff from a can! Smoky, spicy, sweet and slightly boozy, these beans are perfect for your next potluck, barbecue or summer soiree!Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: bacon, baked, BBQ, beans, bourbon, brown sugar, Easy, homemade
2(28 ounce) cansNavy Beans- drained and rinsed (SEE NOTES)
½CupLight Brown Sugar- packed
2TBSYellow Mustard(can substitute Dijon)
2TBSApple Cider Vinegar
Kosher Salt and Pepper- to taste
1CupHot Water or Broth - more as needed (SEE NOTES)
Candied Bacon: (optional)
½poundThick Cut Bacon
½CupDark Brown Sugar, packed
Optional Garnish: More Cooked Diced Bacon, Chopped Parsley
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven 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 (make sure oven rack is set to lower-middle position). 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 maintain a simmer (between medium 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.
Optional - 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.
*Yield: Roughly 10 cups
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)
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.
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.
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 12 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.