Baked Beans...from scratch or not?
I'm having a BBQ party for 60 and I'm wondering if I should make baked beans from scratch or buy. I'm not at all a fan of baked beans and though I'm a good cook, I've never made them. I don't know if it's worth it. Perhaps it is, and that's why I don't care for them....I've never had good ones. REcipies?
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For a party that size, I suggest getting a basic can beans and just 'doctor' them up.... Some bbq sauce, a-1, garlic powered, chili powder, whatevs...mix it up;, put'em on the stove..it's just easier... chaffing pan, Sterno...
Whether it's worth it depends, I guess, on how you feel about the outcome! I'm a real bean lover, and to me baked beans are the ultimate - homemade, for sure, never canned for us. Cheap, easy, mostly unattended cooking, and the only thing you need for a crowd-sized batch is oven space. I use Jasper White's recipe - can't seem to find a link for it right now, but I think I saw it a few years ago in a thread here on CH about baked beans.
I really enjoy the recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site for The Best Baked Beans Ever. She uses canned beans, then doctors them with BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, onions, peppers and bacon. My husband and I have never been huge baked bean fans, but the recipe converted us both (and the others at the BBQ we took it to).
This is what my husband does - he uses a mixture of canned navy beans and pork 'n' beans, then doctors them with beer, bbq sauce, bacon, onions, vinegar and sugar. I dislike sweet beans so I don't eat them, but people at potlucks and such go CRAZY for his beans. I think the copious quantities of bacon help, but he also makes his quite saucy with the beer, which I think people really like. I often see pans of baked beans that look very dry, which I think people find less appetizing.
I made (or tried to make) homemade baked beans for a party this summer. I had a recipe for 8 servings, and tripled it. Precooked the beans in a crock pot for an hour per directions, then drained and added the rest of the ingredients. Supposed to be done in 6-8 hours, but weren't done even after 12 hours. Eventually they were done (still toothy, though) the next morning.
I think the problem was in tripling the recipe and still using one crockpot. Too much volume. I suspect that's where you might run into problems, unless you have access to some industrial cooking devices. I decided to do the crock pot instead of oven because it was over 90 degrees and I didn't want to have the oven on for several hours before the house filled up with people.
Buying basic canned cooked beans and customizing them might be your way to go. Even if it's not the most satisfying, it might yield the best result.