how to 'doctor' up canned baked beans ...?

vieja_gwMay 17, 2013

I would like to add something to a BIG (117 oz.) can of Bush's Baked Beans to make it taste a bit 'special' for a BBQ coming up as I don't have the time (or talent!) to cook/flavor beans from scratch!
Any Ideas? Maybe liquid smoke (bottle), McCormick Smoked salt, Claude'a BBQ sauce, etc.?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Try the B&M brand beans, I think they are FAR better than Bush's. I just add a dollop of BBQ sauce and bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Save the liquid smoke, not everyone likes that stuff (I hate it).

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:45PM
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I would add cumin, minced onion, oregano (fresh or dried), and either minced sauteed chilies or some chili sauce (the kind without tomatoes, since baked beans already have tomato). I would NOT add anything smoked, except for chilies, and I would not add additional tomato to it. I have on occasion bought canned beans but never baked beans, as they are too sweet for me. Adding BBQ sauce to them will make them even sweeter, and so I would also avoid that, but then that is my personal taste.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:49PM
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I add bacon,brown sugar ,molasses mm good

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Add finely chopped onion to bulldinkie's suggestion. And maybe a dash of worcestershire.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:22PM
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I always use just pork and beans and this is what I add to them: (This is for one of the big cans, drained)

4 slices bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup barbecue sauce (I use KC Masterpiece)
1/4 cup sorghum or molasses (but sorghum is sweeter)

Cook bacon just to remove grease Combine rest of ingredients Add the bacon and put in large baking dish Bake uncovered in 325 degree oven 60-75min.

You may also fix this in crockpot on low 6-8hours.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:31PM
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What Lars said with a good amount of mustard and cheese on top.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:38PM
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These are really good! I never go home with leftovers! it is my friend Julie's recipe that I have been making since the 70's.

JulieâÂÂs Baked Beans

1lb ground beef, browned and drained
1/2lb bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled
1T Worcestershire sauce
1/2c catsup
1/2c light molasses
1/2c brown sugar
2 medium onions, chopped
1 3lb7oz can B&M or BushâÂÂs beans

Place all ingredients in casserole and bake one hour at 325F

Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook 5-6 hours on low.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Along with the suggestions above, try adding 1/2 cup of white wine to every large can of baked beans. A secret ingredient that makes a difference.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:58PM
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This is indeed ultra simple and effective.

Add a few drops of truffle oil.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:13PM
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I tried lots of different combinations of seasonings for baked beans for years & years. Ended up taking a simple approach & am happy with the results.

I use a combination of canned baked beans & pork n' beans. A tall can of baked beans & a short can of pork n' beans. Saute some onion & bacon in the microwave & drain excess grease. Stir in the beans along with some of your favorite bbq sauce (I like Famous Dave's) along with some chopped jalapenos, if you like. (Be careful with the bbq sauce because it's easy to use too much & end up with too sweet beans. So start of with a modest amount and taste as you go.) Pop back into the microwave to 'bake'. I like my beans to be room temperature or cold out of the refrigerator so try to make them ahead of time.

I know that a lot of cooks add ground beef to baked beans (in my area, anyway) but I never do. Beans are a great source of protein on their own. I prefer bacon for the flavor and I really dislike the texture of the beef in the baked beans so refuse to eat them when I encounter them at potlucks, etc. At home, I use baked beans as a side and save the ground beef for the hamburgers.

I've been a total failure at making baked beans from scratch; despite many attempts, I could never get mine to taste like Mom's so I finally accepted defeat and take the shortcut method.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:44PM
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I like them better made from leftover beans, I have a pot of beans (Mayacoba is my current favorite), then I have baked beans.

I've been known to use Chase's "cheater" baked beans with great success if I don't make them from "scratch". A can of beans, I pour in some catsup, some mustard, some brown sugar. Molasses or maple syrup, whatever suits me. Strips of bacon laid over the top. Bake until they are thick and sticky.

I don't have any measurements, maybe 1/2 cup of catsup, a tablespoon of mustard, 1/4 cup of molasses/maple syrup, brown sugar to taste.

I love baked beans nearly any way but like them best thick, sticky and slightly sweet, and always with molasses.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:49AM
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I think this thread proves that no two people make baked beans from canned beans the same!!! LOL!!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Most popular around here would be Bush's adding bacon, onion, just a touch of BBQ sauce, but not much. If you're going to add meats (not including bacon, which IMO is a spice here) add a spicy sausage. I might try adding some of Trader Joe's South African Smoked Seasoning next time.

I don't like traditional baked beans. I do like kidney beans so I make a baked bean dish using kidney beans. I cheat and use the canned kidney beans, add bacon, onion, BBQ sauce, a little molasses, lemon pepper, a splash of vinegar and some dry mustard. If I have some real maple syrup I might put a glug in there. If I'm not in too big a hurry I make it with basically a BBQ sauce (ketchup, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, etc).

Vieja, where do you find McCormack's Smoked Salt? I can't find it anymore. I used to really enjoy that for certain things but no stores have it and I couldn't find it on their website last time I looked.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:31AM
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Learned "doctoring" from my grandmother. She'd add some finely chopped onion, generous squirt of ketchup, mustard (not as much as ketchup) and a few TBSPs of brown sugar.

I like to start with bacon... either a few strips cooked to very crispy and crumbled, or a few strips diced up and rendered. I LEAVE the bacon grease in and saute onions a bit before dumping everything else in. Also like a generous glug of worcestershire sauce.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:58PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I use pork and beans. Below is the recipe I have used for years and years. People at potlucks always ask for the recipe.

Boston Baked Beans

I have used this recipe since the very early 1960s and have no recollection of where I got it, although it may have been from a magazine that Ford used to publish. Everyone loves them, because they are delicious.

2 No. 2 cans pork and beans (each can 16 oz)
4 T brown sugar (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup catsup
2 T mustard
1 medium onion, minced
1 T honey

Mix all of the above together and place in a baking dish. Cover with two of three strips of bacon. Bake at 250 for about 2 hours. Serves 8

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 1:50PM
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For 'doctored' baked beans I use this recipe from an old red-checked BHG cookbook:

Easy Baked Beans

4 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 - 1 pound cans (4 cups) pork and beans with tomato sauce
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard

Cook bacon till crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tbls. drippings. Crumble bacon. Cook onion in reserved drippings till tender but not brown; add with crumbled bacon to remaining ingredients, mixing well. Turn into 1 1/2 qt. bean pot or casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees about 2 hours. Serves 6.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 1:55PM
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We sauté onion and green pepper in the bacon grease and add those, with the crunchy bacon. to the beans with brown sugar and dry mustard. Pour into an authentic boston bean pot and bake slowly. Definitely B&M beans are the best but here in Atlanta they are not always easy to buy, particularly in large sizes cans. They are a certain sign of Summer.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:36PM
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Bush's baked beans are my standard potluck dish for work.

I add browned crumbled hamburger, well done thick bacon, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Molasses sometimes but you have to be careful... just a very little. Using dark brown sugar is an easy way to get molasses in them.

The bacon I fry and then touch up in a microwave to get it all crispy. I hate soggy bacon in my beans. Chop it into small chunks before frying helps to get all the fat crispy.

When adding sugar I add to my taste and then double that amount for the potluck. Most people seem to like them way sweet. I go easy on the maple syrup... don't want maple beans just a background flavor note.

Local grocer has the large institutional sized cans... way cheaper then buying several small cans. About $6-7 for a 6.6lb can which fills my large crockpot. They were so much cheaper just a couple years ago.

People really like having the meat in there. If I'm short of time or lazy I skip the bacon. Leftovers are great with a slice of buttered bread and glass of milk. Brought fresh milk back into my fridge after a 10 year absence. I like to season my portion with lots of black pepper and salt. I have added black pepper to the potluck beans but people commented they could taste the course pepper as a hot flavor so I skip that now.

: )


Yes the long absent one... my third weekend in a row off from work!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Oh, my goodness ... with so many good ideas now how am I to choose?!! ha

I am going to go through all your great recipes you all have been so kind to send & will take out the things most mentioned by nearly everyone. I will try: some brown sugar, mustard & some of the hickory smoke salt, I would like to add more onion but aso many of my family don't like onions.

Was surprised to find the big cans of the Bush's baked beans at our locally owned grocery.

BTW: I (finally!) found the bottles of smoked salt at a local Alberstons grocery after a futile search everywhere else after I had run out of the one old bottle I had. I bought up all the bottles at Albertsons that I found ... it has been too difficult to find any more!

Thank you all so much for your help!!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:27PM
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'Spice Island Smoked Hickory salt'... found some last year at Albertson's on the spice shelves!! I love those different smoked salts but for the past few years have had no luck finding them anywhere... even though the Spice Island company said it was available in stores! I bought the few (4.8 oz.) bottles I found & treasure them! I do buy & use the small bottles of Wright's Liquid Smoke which seems to be srtill available locally yet.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Is the salt available from Amazon? Almost everything else is!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:08AM
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Atlantic Spice has a Smoked Sea Salt (coarse) but I've not tried it. One pound for less than six dollars.

I've ordered from them a couple of times & have been well pleased with the quality and the price of their offerings. They have a 'Saigon' cinnamon that's every bit as good as Penzeys and is less than six dollars for a pound.

And, Amazon has a wide variety of smoked salts...applewood, alder, etc.

Or, you could make your own smoked salt for pennies. Instructions at link using a stove top smoker (Cameron's is one brand but you could improvise on easily enough).

Make Smoked Salt/a>

Here is a link that might be useful: Atlantic Spice

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:27AM
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I think 'cynic' & I were referring to the salt shaker-like small bottles of the Mc Cormick smoked salt....
this is more like a salty smoke ingredient: not so much salty but 'smokey'? Very fine ...almost like a powder. Correct me if I am wrong 'cynic'?!
Think it also came in different smoke flavors & was so easy to use.
I have used some of the smoked salts but find the Mc Cormick's is easier to use as a flavoring in many dishes.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:44AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Vieja, when my children were little, they did not like chopped onion in any dish. Therefore, I started putting the onion in the blender and smashed it all to such small pieces, they never knew the onion was in the dish. There are some dishes I make that I still like to "smash" the onion just because the flavor seems to permeate the dish better. You can also use the small electric choppers to do the same thing.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Here's a source for just powdered hickory smoke flavoring--no salt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powdered Hickory Smoke flavor

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:29PM
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My "doctored up" canned baked beans include bacon, chopped onion sauteed in the bacon fat, ketchup, molasses, a dash of maple syrup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. No smoked flavoring or meat other than bacon.
A few years ago, I acquired a vintage bean pot and it has taken me to the far reaches of baked beandom. Black beans with peppers, onions and chorizo, Norweigan baked beans with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and celery leaves, and many other varieties with fun and interesting combinations of ingredients.

Right now, I have the large Lima beans baking in a 275 oven with a sauce of bacon, leeks, Sailor Jerry spiced rum, molasses, and a few cloves.

For a picnic, I'd still do the doctored up canned beans because that's what the audience would be expecting but I'll keep enjoying my baked bean flights of fancy at home.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:30PM
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'walnut creek': I don't know what I would do if I didn't have onions to use in so many different ways! We just tried some of the Vidalia onions everyone raves about... and we agree: they are so great: good onion flavor without the strong 'bite' so many of the other onions have! I do with hold onions though if several guests do not like them.. or sometimes I will make a dish with & another without them.

Our family likes (canned) cut green beans cooked with canned Spam chopped up fine, chopped onions & all fried in a big frying pan. Strange... but it is good!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Bourbon and balsamic are my secret ingredients. Of late I am not finding canned B&M on the shelves, don't know what's going on.

CathyâÂÂs Baked Beans
1/2 lb bacon, cooked until crisp
2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
ý cup Heinz chili sauce or ketchup
1 cup bourbon
ý cup molasses
ý large sweet onion, diced and sautéed in bacon grease
1 - 3lb 7oz can B&M beans

1. Preheat oven to 375ð
2. Pour off some of the liquid from the beans; put beans in casserole dish (3 â deep dish)
4. Remove bacon and sauté onion in drippings until tender
5. Add crumbled bacon, onions, and some bacon drippings to beans
6. Mix chili sauce, molasses, balsamic, and bourbon; add to beans and stir well
7. Taste to see if itâÂÂs to your liking
8. Bake in preheated oven at 375ð for 1 hour
9. Check occasionally to see if the beans are getting thick.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:45PM
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Yes Vieja, that was what I was using. What I used to get was their "Gourmet" seasoning. Heavy glass jar with the sort of odd green colored cap on it. Sam's club carries Spice Island version in a grinder but they don't have it at the local ones. I've seen various things online but shipping is usually prohibitive to me. It's not worth that much to me! I would prefer just the smoked seasoning since I'm trying to cut the salt more now. I did pick up some of the Trader Joe's Smoked Seasoning. Haven't really had a chance to try it out yet but for a couple dollars for the big container with the grinder compared to the cost of shipping through the internet, it's worth a try. But the old McCormicks, come to think of it it may have even been called Shilling's back then, I don't recall for sure. And yes, I know they're the same company ("Shilling in the east, McCormick in the west"). It was a great seasoning for burgers and most any meat. FTHOI I sent them an inquiry to see if it's made, or to more likely, confirm it's long since discontinued.

Oh and thanks for the email. I couldn't reply since your mail wouldn't allow it. Nice to hear from you. We don't have Albertson's around here. They were going to buy a local chain called Rainbow Foods but that deal fell through and Roundy's bought them out.

Now making your own smoked salt is interesting. But I don't have a smoker so back to a cost issue.

Sorry to steer it off topic! But back to it, it'd probably be a good spice for doctoring beans! Oh, another seasoning I've come to enjoy is smoked paprika. You can probably tell I like smoky things... :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:13AM
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FWIW, I got a response from McCormick and they no longer make the smoked salt. I didn't thing they did. Oh well, another good product bites the dust.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Lately I've been making Paula Deen's baked beans with apple and bacon. Yum.

Here is a link that might be useful: apple baked bean casserole

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:14PM
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This recipe has been in my husbands family for a long time. It has been at every barbeque since I joined the family 45 years ago and it is still my go-to recipe. You can adjust the sweetness as you choose.

Baked Beans
3 ~ 18 oz. jars of baked beans (or equivalent)
1 pound pork steak
1 medium onion
1 cup ketchup
2 T brown sugar

Brown steak in fry pan, Add onions and stew until meat is tender. Add beans, ketchup and brown sugar. Pour into casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Oops. Sorry. I forgot to mention to cube the pork in my recipe. Also, I often use a leaner cut of meat.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Just throw the beans in a crock pot and add what you like - ketchup, Worcestershire, bit of mustard, ground pepper, maple syrup -- or brown sugar, or molasses (same thing), onions and for sure, bacon or even leftover pork chops pieces. Not sure that liquid smoke does anything for it - but add if you like. I always put shredded cheese on top - you know we Americans love cheese on everything. Cook for 6 - 8 hours or bake in the oven for 3. It will all be good. IMO hamburger deserves another venue than baked beans - detraction to the max, as does bourbon - it's for with not in, IMO.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:48PM
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