Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Joey's Maple Bacon Baked Beans

 There are certain foods that just scream SUMMER to me. Hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, ice cold watermelon, iced tea, and of course baked beans!! What would a BBQ be without them???? So, of course, I like to come up with lots of different versions. I have my own go to Favorite Baked Beans, my Pineapple Baked Beans, and Trisha's Baked Bean Casserole, to name a few. But one can never have too many variations, am I right?
 I decided to try a maple variation when Tory and Ryan were coming over for our almost weekly dinner and a movie night. It was a big hit! Just that tiny little hit of maple gives it just enough of a twist to be something new and exciting, but it's still your classic baked beans. It's definitely a keeper and it's perfect for your summer BBQ. MMM, I'm thinking this would be AWESOME with some BBQ ribs. Who's with me???

1/2 lb bacon
1 medium onion
2 cans baked beans
1 tbs brown mustard
2 tbs ketchup
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Cut bacon into small lardons. Place in a cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium, and let it gradually come up to heat so that the fat begins to render. Slowly cook until slightly crispy. Add chopped onion and continue to saute until the onions have softened.
 While the bacon and onions are cooking, add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir well to combine. Drain any excess bacon fat from the pan and add the bacon and onions to the bowl. Taste it to see if it needs anything, then make adjustments if needed. Pour into a large casserole dish and bake at for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a good 10 minutes before serving.

All of the ingredients are added pretty much to taste. Want a lot of bacon? Go for it. Want a lot of onions? Do it!  Want it to be sweeter? Add more maple syrup! The only ingredient you have to use sparingly is the liquid smoke. It's very important to the dish (one might even call it the secret ingredient!) but it is VERY strong. I'm talking just a few little drops and you're good to go. If you add more than that, you'll wind up with an unpleasant sort of artificial taste. But with everything else, add as much as you want! You do you!
If you don't have liquid smoke, you can just add 2 tbs of your favorite smokey BBQ sauce, and then omit the ketchup.
If you don't have pure maple syrup, go ahead and use your basic maple pancake syrup. It'll still be awesome and no one will be able to tell the difference!
I can't remember what size cans I used. They were the medium ones, not the ginormous ones, and not the tiny little ones. Like probably somewhere in the 24oz range. I'll have to get back to you on that!

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