Root Beer Baked Beans – Baked beans are usually considered a side dish. These hearty root beer baked beans are filling enough to be served as a main dish. Ideally with a side of fresh from the oven buttered cornbread, of course. In reality I most often serve them as a potluck or picnic side dish and the “secret” ingredient is always a great conversation starter. The root beer gives the base a pop of flavor but they’re not overly sweet. For the barbecue sauce use your favorite, but choose a thick sauce for the best results.
I love to prepare these in my cast iron skillet, but a 9 x 13-inch baking dish will work as well. The root beer base isn’t overpowering in fact it gives just a tasty hint of flavor to the sauce. It’s a fun twist on a classic dish and tends to spark conversation. That’s always a good thing.
Root Beer Baked Beans
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 small poblano or green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 2 clove garlic minced
- seasoned salt and black pepper
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 2  oz can baked beans
- 1  oz can pinto beans drained
- 1 cup root beer
- 3/4 cup honey barbecue sauce
- 1 Tbsp Dijon or brown mustard
- 1 Tbsp dark chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- dash ground cinnamon
- 3 green onion sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 12-inch cast iron skillet or spritz a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 3 Tbsp drippings from the pan.
- Add the diced onion and pepper to the pan. Season with seasoned salt and black pepper to your taste.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until beginning to brown then add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the ground beef, and continue to cook until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Mix the cooked beef with the remaining ingredients. Add half of the crumbled bacon reserving 1/2 for garnishing. Stir well.
- Pour into the skillet and bake for 1 hour. After baking, stir well and rest for 5-10 minutes on the counter before serving to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Garnish with chopped green onion and remaining bacon.
Want to add more heat? Use a jalapeno in place of the poblano pepper or add hot sauce in desired amounts to the sauce.