These beefy Root Beer Baked Beans are summer picnic ready. Filled with ground beef, onion, peppers and a blend of kickin’ seasonings that are smothered in a root beer barbecue sauce. It’s perfectly acceptable to adapt using your favorite brand of thick barbecue sauce for the most tasty result. Serve them as a main dish or a side, either way they’re sure to fill hungry tummies in no time flat.
Root Beer Baked Beans Can Be A Main Dish, Too
We often think of baked beans as only a side dish. That’s how I most often serve them, too. Because there’s both beef and bacon in these hearty root beer baked beans they’re filling enough to be served as a main dish. When serving them as an entree, my pick would be ladled over a piece of fresh from the oven buttered cornbread. I can’t imagine a summer picnic or holiday weekend when we’re grilling without barbecue baked beans. The “secret” ingredient is always a great conversation starter leaving people a bit in awe of the flavor it lends to the dish overall.
Why Root Beer?
The root beer gives the base a pop of flavor without making them overly sweet. I love to prepare these baked beans in my cast iron skillet but, a 13 x 9-inch baking dish will work as well. The root beer base isn’t overpowering, in fact, it gives just an edge and hint of flavor to the barbecue sauce. It’s a fun twist on a classic dish and tends to spark conversation. That’s always a good thing.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
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 16 oz cans baked beans
- 1 16 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 13 x 9 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 10 minutes on the counter before serving to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Garnish with chopped green onion and remaining bacon.