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Paula Disbrowe | Food Editor

Serve these rich, bacon-topped beans at backyard barbecues and picnics or tote them to school or Scout potlucks—they’ll be a hit with kids and grown-ups alike.

10 slices thick-cut jalapeño bacon (or regular bacon), diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (54 ounces) pork and beans
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup hot sauce

1. Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until it’s browned but still moist, then set aside to drain on a paper towel.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and set rack to the lower-middle position.

3. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease (discard the rest) over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic and sauté 6–8 minutes, until softened.

4. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat before removing from heat. Pour the beans into a baking dish and scatter the cooked bacon over the beans. Bake 2–2½ hours, until the beans have reached your desired consistency. Allow the beans to stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 10–12.

Cook’s Tip

To feed an even larger crowd, up the amount of pork and beans to 84 ounces and make the remaining ingredients a “heaping” measurement.