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Grilled Baked Beans

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Baked beans have been a standard staple in terms of a side dish for BBQ seemingly forever. But why settle for baked beans? The grill is already up and running, why not use it to take baked beans to the next level. Why not impart some of that amazing smoky flavor that we so desire permeating the meat into the beans? There are a million ways to do grilled beans. This is just one of them. This is the simplest side dish. The prep time was all of 10 minutes and made a great side dish for a group of 20.

Ingredients:

3 large cans of Bush’s original baked beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mustard (not pictured)
2 tbsp hoisin (not pictured and optional)
3 tbsp garlic, minced
3 slices of maple bacon, cut in one inch sections
1/2 cup apple pie filling, rough chopped

Here we have three large cans of Bush’s Original Baked Beans. You can use anything here. There will be so many more flavors added that I don’t bother buying something other than the original as the added flavors could overpower any specialized beans. Along with the beans there is garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, maple bacon and apple pie stuffing. That’s right. Apple pie stuffing. Bear with me:

If I’m doing these for say 4 or 6 I would pick a pot with a metal handle and do all the prep in the pot and transfer it straight to the grill. But with 20 people coming over I needed something bigger to go on the grill. What I did in this pot on the stove was transferred to a double stack of a good size disposable tin tray.

First things first. Throw in a little olive oil and garlic into a pot and get that garlic sweating over medium heat:

Add about a half cup of brown sugar and more olive oil as the sugar just soaked it up:

While the garlic is sauteing, as well as the sugar, chop up the apple pie stuffing into smaller chunks.

Then add the chunks to the pot to cook them down a bit:

While this is simmering I dumped the contents of the cans of beans into the disposable trays. I doubled them up to give the beans more support. After the garlic, brown sugar, apple concoction had simmered for a few minutes, I added the mustard and hoisin and mixed thoroughly before I dumped them into the pan with the beans along with a healthy dose of fresh cracked black and white pepper and mixed it all through:

At this point I pulled out a few slices of maple bacon and sliced into one inch squares. You won’t need the whole pound. This is a healthy version of the other things I normally prepare with bacon!!

I placed the bacon squares along the top of the beans but left a little space between each one so they wouldn’t insulate each other and thus cook more quickly:

Depending on how much time you have you can place these directly over the heat or off to the side to slow cook. Set up the grill for two zone grilling, with coals on one side and none on the other.  Place the beans over the side with no heat and a couple chunks or chips of smoke wood over the coals. Here are the beans next to the ribs with the Bologna Chub in the background:

Here are the beans simmering on the grill about 90 minutes later. The bacon is cooking nicely and the whole dish could be eaten at this point. But the longer they stay on the more flavors infuse into the beans:

And here are the beans ready to serve. The reason I don’t use whole strips of bacon is because when they are ready to serve I stir the bacon into the beans:

Now I will admit that I had never tried the apple pie stuffing in beans before. Normally I make this recipe exactly the same but without the stuffing. Sometimes I mince up some sweet onion, but this is usually my recipe. I had seen the apple pie stuffing on a couple of sites and decided to try it.

After the food was served and everyone was well on in tearing into their respective plates I asked the crowd for feedback. After a bit of goading I finally got a little more than, “everything is great.” I had to assure them that they would not insult their hosts by giving constructive feedback. I was worried that it would be too sweet but I didn’t get much of that. Even had a suggestion to add molasses next time. A couple people felt that it needed more salt. I figured the salt in the bacon would have taken care of that but maybe I need to add a pinch of salt next time. A couple people thought they were a bit thin. With a shorter cooking time the beans did not cook down as much as my usual beans do. I could’ve poured off a little of the sauce prior to cooking next time if I don’t have as much time like I did here. So plan accordingly on that front.

What I would do differently next time:

  1. Add a little salt. With a pan this big a pinch or two would do the trick
  2. If I only have a couple hours of cooking time I would open the cans halfway with the can opener and pour a little of the sauce off the top using the top of the half opened can as a sieve so I don’t lose any beans. If I have more than a couple hours then I skip this step and just let it cook down normally

As usual, if you have any questions about this recipe, please email me or simply leave a comment below.

If you are interested in other side dishes or appetizers click here.

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  • Kyle Myerscough

    Maybe the best beans ever made. I made these for some friends that I had over last week. I made them in a cast iron skillet, put the slotted pan I use for veggies upside down over the top of the skillet then put fatty on that to drip onto the beans while it cooked.

    I over cooked the fatty a little (oh well, it was my first fatty.) But, the bean endedsup being the highlight of the feast.

    My wife finished the meal off with some boiled mustad/ kale greens, along with lots of adult beverages the evening was wonderful.

    I am making the beans again today for my parents.

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  • http://none jake

    hey just wanted to say that i tried your veggie oil searing technique and got this plasticy black coating all over ruining my steak. you may want to specify what kind of oil and just how to avoid this tragedy. Thanks

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Jake,

      I’m sorry to hear that. I generally use olive oil. Not extra virgin, just plain olive oil. Did the oil smolder at first and not burn right away? I’ve had that happen and the smoke adds that coating. I’ve actually moved away from the oil sear. It’s neat, but all it takes is one time for the coals to not be hot enough and that nasty smoke to cover a steak. I go with the hottest fire I can get and sear that way, and skip the flames. Besides, now that I have a 3 and 1 year old, I don’t want them to get any ideas about fire being fun…

      ……..Scott

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  • http://firefox anita

    while i am not a big fan of baked or grilled beans, I tried this recipe anyway. I must say it was a big hit at the house. Tho i didn’t use 3 large cans i used 2 small and cut all the other ingredients in half. It was very tasty and will be made again. Plus this was the only time all the beans got ate! Thanks for the great recipe.

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Anita,

      Glad you enjoyed them…

      …….Scott

  • RAILROAD RICK

    I made your Ribs and grilled beans and they both turned out great. Thanks I will try other things you put on now.. Happy 4th

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Railroad Rick,

      Glad you liked both and I hope you try everything on the site!

      …….Scott