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how do doctor up canned baked beans?

  • m

We have just been invited to a bbq tonight and were asked to bring baked beans. I don't have time to make them from scratch, so what is the best way to doctor up a few cans to make them taste like the real thing?

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  1. Have never made them from scratch, as no one else in family eats them, just me. I like Bush's baked beans, they come in several varieties. I like the honey maple kind, usually add some sauteed finely diced onion, some dijon mustard and smoked bacon. Don't care for overly sweet, sometimes add a drop or two of red wine vinegar to make it sweet & sour. Honestly, they are pretty good and sometimes I just heat them from can.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      sautee some bacon. add a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and half a red bell pepper diced. Throw in the baked beans. Add a couple squirts of bbq sauce, a couple tablespoons of dijon, and a couple tablespoons brown sugar. Oh and a dash of worchestershire. Then simmer for 15 minutes or so.

      1. re: bw2082

        Try molasses instead of brown sugar. Try 1/4" cubes of prosciutto.
        Shallots in place of onions.
        I few drops of good fish sauce instead of the Worches.........
        Oh ya. Be sure to rinse away the 'sweetener' in the canned beans first.

    2. I have a great recipe from a collegue that I have been making for years. Use about 4 small cans of baked beans (whatever brand/flavour you like); 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1/4 lb of diced, cooked bacon; 1/4 cup bbq sauce (any flavour) and if you like it.. 1/4 cup of hot sauce (I prefer Frank's Red Hot). Bake in oven or simmer on stove for 1 hr. Thickens up as it cools.

      1. the easiest (my laziest)

        - whirr a can of chipotles in adobo and add to taste (i like 'em hot).

        smoky and spicy...mmm

        1 Reply
        1. re: chocabot

          Agreed! Then toss in some cooked bacon or mexican chorizo. Not like homemade but definitely better than just the canned version straight up.

        2. I always have to work around a dear veggie friend, so I add a glug of BBQ sauce and stick them in the crockpot till they bubble. Sounds boring, but I get so many compliments... I usually use Bush's brand.

          1. I am ashamed to admit that sometimes when I am lazy I have used the canned beans when I have had a bbq, and just ran out of time/emergy

            I do make them a little better by adding some kilbasa I have smoked on the smoker. I cube the smoked kilbasa, add pickle relish, and & some bbq sauce.

            They actually go over pretty good with the guests.

            1. my recipe which is vegetarian beans. saute an onion in a little vegetable oil, add finely minced garlic and cumin seeds. then add minced jalapeno and beans to this mixture. also add a couple of tblspns of tomato ketchup and finish with chopped cilantro. i like to put these on crackers top with pepper jack cheese and bake till cheese melts and serve as appetizers. very popular with indians.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    I've made them where I added at least 1/4 cup dark rum too. (along with other things that I don't remember.) :)

                  2. if you can use your crockpot, and add dry mustard, 2 T molasses or brown sugar or sometimes both it depends on the brand and style I started with..
                    1 medium carmelized onion, 4 - 5 strips of bacon that you've sauteed, saving the fat,add 1 T of the fat, 1 T garlic powder, and a glurg of ketchup or add a dash of clove and cinammon, and 1 finely chopped serrano chili seeds removed membrane ok.
                    Bake till bubbling,or put them in the crockpot on high, reduce the heat later today once they're good and hot. Pretty good for canned beans. If you don't have dry mustard, use 1 -2 T of yellow. The carmalized onion adds some of that long cooked flavor we love of baked beans from scatch. This is exactly what I do I hate to admit, more often than starting from dry beans...;O

                    1. Sliced quality hotdogs, any good sausage fried cooled and sliced, diced ham of whatever description, chicharron, Hungarian deep fried pork pieces, Chinese BBQ pork ...

                      1. Chopped onion, Bacon (and/or a bit of liquid smoke), brown sugar (I use dark molasses and sugar), a dash of worcestershire, a bit of garlic powder, and if possible heat in crockpot for at least 4-6 hours (the long cooking really helps)

                        1. my mom used to add dry mustard, sauteed bacon and chopped onions, and a little brown sugar, then bake for 1/2 hour or so. i can still recall the cans of van camp's brand pork and beans. http://www.conagrafoods.com/consumer/...

                          nowadays, i'm really liking the bush's bbq beans. no doctoring needed.

                          1. Like a fair amount of respondents, I'm from the mustardy oniony high-flavored animal protein fixer-upper school. Adding dry mustard, an brown onion that has been diced and carmelized, some brown sugar or molasses, and some sliced franks was a standard dinner dish that my mom used to make about once every few weeks. Poured over a plate of rice, I'd always ask for seconds.

                            The recipes that offer up bbq sauce or adobo sound very appealing as well, but I'm guessing there's going to be tons of food that has already been sauced up with these types of flavors. Maybe this more mildly flavored recipe will work well with the bbq food...

                            1. Everyone's covered my additons, except for changing the sweet to sorghum (when I have it) and any smoked meat (I try to freeze any bits and pieces just for times like this).
                              I did come out of reading the recipes here with a big grin...not a single one of us uses anything like a precise measurement. Our greatgrandmothers would be so proud.

                              1. The best bake beans I have ever doctored up was when I threw in the last of the pancetta I had.

                                1. While looking for info on baked bean sandwiches, I found this great article on doctoring canned beans. This looked like the best idea -

                                  Bourbon Baked Beans


                                  Four 16-oz. jars or cans of baked beans
                                  One 15-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
                                  One 12-oz. jar chili sauce
                                  1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
                                  1/2 cup bourbon
                                  1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                                  1 Tbs. molasses
                                  3/4 tsp. dry mustard

                                  1. Chopped onions, (hot) salsa, ketchup, worches. sauce, bbq sauce mixed in, baked with slightly pre-cooked bacon on top. Spicy, saucy, smokey!

                                    1. Add some chopped up, deep-fried Spam.

                                      1. Pretty much agree with all the comments, the only thing I use that hasn't been mentioned is liquid smoke.

                                        1. Dark brown sugar and ketchup mixed with the canned beans, then half-slices of bacon and slices of onion on top, baked for an hour or more depending on quantity.

                                          1. Though REAL, slow-cooked (even in crock-pot) are preferred... not practical. I don't think I've EVER had canned beans that weren't doctored up. I like to start with lots of chopped onions cooking in the bacon grease from a few slices that will be crumbled into the mix. I add big squeeze of ketchup, medium squeeze of mustard and something sweet (brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, honey). A hefty glug of Worcestershire sauce.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kseiverd

                                              Exactly! Kseiverd's recipe is THE ONE. I would vote for the maple syrup as the sweetner - and as a final touch, a splash of red wine vinegar to accent the flavours and add a piquant touch of sour.

                                            2. So this is on a completely different track from the Bush's beans sweet baked beans flavor and I don't know whether it will fit the criterion of "baked beans"?

                                              Goya canned pink beans: these come in 2 flavors, one plain, another with chiles and cilantro, with pull-off tops. Both will work.

                                              Saute onions in large pan in olive oil, add chopped garlic, no browning, add chopped green poblano or some mix of hot green chiles like thai and jalapeno to your taste. Gently cook for a few moments and then add the beans with liquid. Bring to simmer.

                                              Per 2 cans [c.16oz] you will need one small bottle of turkey or chicken gravy, off the shelf, or a small container of frozen turkey gravy. Add and bring to simmer.

                                              Mash up some of the beans with the back of your spatula and you are nearly done when the beans begin to change color and smell done, a circular reasoning. It takes less than 10 minutes, depending on the quantities and the stove. Add a generous handful of chopped scallion, everything but the root, and shut off the heat. The beans will thicken a lot. A squeeze of a fresh-cut lime and/or a grind or two of pepper may be indicated.

                                              This is a fairly low-key dish but great with 100% whole-wheat tortillas that have been puffed up on flames until slightly charred. Add some pico de gallo, and you have a complete meal. Add a Hass avocado and/or a slice of Cabot Sharp Cheddar or similar with some buttercrunch lettuce, and the superlatives increase.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: GTM

                                                This is an interesting-looking recipe. I'll try it. I am surprised, though, that you indicate adding the beans with the liquid (presumably that in the can). I've always been prone to rinsing canned beans and using broths.

                                                I know Goya is a good brand, though, and maybe their liquid is better, too.

                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                  The pink beans with the green chile + cilantro actually are in a slightly soupy broth. This forms the body of the dish. The other plain pink beans also have this soupy quality in their cans.

                                                  I find PINK beans to be a bit more toothsome than the red kidneys, although botanically they are the same. Just for my mouthfeel, I always go for the pink beans.

                                                  Pinto beans are good for me, black beans, white beans, all of which are botanically equivalent to red kidneys. I really don't like the last type, the only one I avoid of all the beans!

                                                  But I am told that there are slight variations in phaseolin proteins and these come in at least 6 types in the common bean, so are there really any noticeable differences in this and perhaps other storage proteins and the types of starches in the various market classes?

                                                  Oh, you can always add a can of the fat-free refried beans of your choice to this "mess" if you want to create a thicker spread, that is very good stuffed into tortillas.

                                                  I have been guilty of using a can or two Campbell's cream of mushroom soup instead of the turkey/chicken gravy, when I needed to make a vegetarian version. Perhaps I shall be excommunicated from the CH community now!!!!

                                                  The nice thing with this recipe is with the current scares again telling us how olive oil helps the heart muscles function better and animal fats do the opposite, one can feel a tiny bit less guilty when chowing down on this type of food. It is extremely filling, and needs NO cheese, no sour cream, and nothing except a bit of pico de gallo or salsa. Not even tortillas.

                                                  When I cook with canned chickpeas, I do drain the liquid, and proceed as above. NO added gravy, no soups. Just sauteed onions, garlic and green chilies, maybe a bit of cumin powder, add chickpeas, mash them up. Sometimes a little water help with the mashing. Sometimes I am lazy and add the whole can liquid and all, and this helps the mashing, although one needs to watch the sodium content. Just dry it out a little, add cilantro, or green onions, and a squeeze of lime, a pinch of sugar to balance flavors, some more fresh chopped thai chilies if you want. This is a great filling for those fire-puffed whole wheat tortillas, along with some onion relish.

                                                  You can use a mandolin slicer to slice onions into cold water, and then use hands to free the rings. Now you can do things according to your fancy. Maybe just salt and lime juice, or lime juice, orange juice & grape fruit juice, or some zaatar or some sumac. Whatever you want. Gentle crush the onions, and so long there is a tiny bit of salt, they will release water and cure. Great with this type of mashed chickpeas and fresh chapatis or fire-roasted tortillas.

                                                  I love raitas made with Low-fat KEFIR far better than those made with yoghurt: grated carrots, kefir, chopped mint, hint of sea salt, mix. Great with the chickpea + tortilla, and just by itself.

                                              2. My husband loves Dutch's Wicked baked beans recipe.

                                                Here is the recipe:

                                                1. Growing up my mom always made "Heloise's Bootlegger Beans" I have found them to be the best substitute for the home made ones that take forever. I love that they are so very easy and simple to make, and you really cannot tell they are a "cheater recipe." When making them, like Mom, I always bake them in the oven for ~45 min rather than simmering them on the stove. My friends and family love them, and they are always a hit when I bring them to a BBQ or a pot luck.