In the same meal that I served the caramel pecan bars, we had BBQ baked beans. Baked beans may just be this dude's favorite food ever. The rest of us aren't too keen on the strangely sweet, mushy canned beans. I decided to make my own and combine several styles of baked beans into one masterpiece. They are a little sweet, a little tangy, and tiny bit spicy. And this recipe is literally a crowd-pleaser for everyone. Leave out the bacon and it becomes vegan! If you are serving a mixed-diet group of people, just have the bacon on the side as a topper.
Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans
1 1/2 C pinto beans, soaked overnight (or 2 14oz cans, drained and rinsed)
3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped, cooked, drained
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper
1/4 C barbecue sauce
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C brown mustard
1/4 C water
1/4 C loosely packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp hot sauce, more or less to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 7-8 hours, until beans are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste
If you are using canned beans: combine ingredients and cook on high for 1 1/2-2 hours. I also suggest sauteing the onion and bell pepper for about 5 minutes first; they may still be on the crunchy side if you don't.
Note: I used a little crock pot (like 2 or 1.5 qt) that doesn't have an temp control. It is literally, plugged in=on, not plugged in=off. So the cooking time for the dried bean version may not be totally accurate. But it's a slow cooker... they are very forgiving in cooking times.
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