The key to good baked beans is hitting on the right sweet/tangy combination. Anyway you get there is fine. There’s lots of options for sweetness and tanginess. For sweetness, you don’t have to use cane syrup. Substitute Karo (corn) syrup, honey, more brown sugar or even maple syrup. For tanginess, use diffrent kinds of mustard or vinegar. Just keep stirring and tasting and stirring and tasting until you get it right. If you would prefer making this totally from scratch instead of using Pork and Beans, then cook dried Northern beans and go from there.
4 (15 oz.) cans pork and beans or substitute canned baked beans or substitute cooked dried Northern beans
3/4 cup finely diced Vadalia onion – roughly half of a large onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3 shakes Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup cane syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Heinz 57
3 or 4 strips of bacon (uncooked)
Combine beans, onion, bell pepper, ketchup, mustard, Worchestershire sauce, cane syrup, Heinz 57 in a bowl. If using pork and beans, you can drain off some of the liquid. If you don’t drain it, the dish will require a little longer to cook. I didn’t drain any of it. I don’t typically add Heinz 57, but I had some in the referigerator that I bought just for my meatloaf recipe and this seemed like a good way to use some of it up. Mix everything together and start tasting and adjust as needed. I aim for the flavor of my favorite barbeque sauce which is tomatoey and sweet and tangy.
After it’s all mixed up and you’re happy with the flavor, pour into 9×11 casserole dish sprayed with a cooking spray. Don’t miss this step. All that sugar will bake on and turn to cement. Plop your bacon on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until the bacon has browned and a good portion of the liquid has baked out. You want to get rid of the soupiness but don’t baked the tarnation our of the beans and make them dry.