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Let's Be Frank: Bratwurst and Bacon Make the Best Baked Beans

Ham up canned beans with two kinds of pork.
By Published Aug. 30, 2022

Canned barbecue beans are not bad. But if you dress them up, they can be over-the-top delicious. Here are a few of our favorite key tips to really amp up your baked beans.

Add More Beans

How? We stir two cans of pinto beans and two cans of cannellini beans into two large cans of baked beans.  

Why? Both pinto and cannellini beans add creaminess and bring different flavors and textures to the party. They provide more interest than using just canned baked beans. 

Bridget and Julia make Backyard Barbecue Beans. 

Make a Flavorful Pantry Sauce to Boost Flavor

How? Stir together ketchup, mustard, bottled barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke. Add these to the beans with Ro-Tel tomatoes before baking.

Why? These bold ingredients bring spice, tang, and smoke to give the sweet baked beans more balanced complexity.

Add Some Bratwurst . . .

How? Sauté bratwurst with chopped onion to add to the bean mixture.

Why? This porky sausage adds meaty flavor without taking over. Plus, you get chunks of pork mixed in with the creamy beans.

. . . Then Top It Off with More Pork

How? Arrange 1-inch pieces of bacon over the beans in a baking pan in a cobblestone pattern.

Why? Because one kind of pork isn’t enough! As the mixture cooks, the bacon drippings render down into the beans so they can soak up that smoky pork flavor. Plus, adding the bacon this way makes the casserole look extra-appealing with its bacon topping. 

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Bake It All Together

How? Bake the mixture in a 350-degree oven until the beans are bubbling and the bacon is rendered, which will take about 1½ hours.

Why? This allows the beans to soak up this sauce and gives time for flavors to meld while that cobblestone of bacon gets nice and crispy. 

The only thing left to do is sit back and enjoy these porky, tangy, sweet beans!