Believe it or not, soda is a secret ingredient in many Southern kitchens. Many a grandmother has a family recipe for Coca-Cola Cake or 7-Up biscuits. Something about the carbonation and the sweetness found in most sodas just works in recipes. In the grand Southern style, we’re dishing up our very own root beer baked beans.
In this recipe, using our new red kidney beans, you’ll find all the flavors you’ve come to expect from baked beans. We’ve got your bacon, your chopped onions and your molasses. However, unlike most baked bean recipes, we’ve used a root beer base instead of ketchup or tomato sauce. There’s a hint of tomato paste to thicken, but most of the flavor comes from 24 ounces of root beer. This old-fashioned, sarsaparilla-flavored beverage adds just the right sticky-sweet note to beans. As it cooks, it reduces and forms a delicious sauce. Don’t worry about this being too sweet–apple cider vinegar and a bit of Dijon mustard add enough acid to keep things lively.
If you’re feeling Southern at your next cookout, bring along these beans. They’re an excellent accompaniment to barbecue of any kind, especially ribs.
Root Beer Baked Beans
- 3 slices hardwood smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 24 ounces kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ¾ cup root beer
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Add onions to the bacon grease, stirring often, until browned. Add garlic and stir. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Stir in bacon and bring to a boil. Transfer to oven and bake uncovered until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes.
Summertime is the perfect time to try this tasty recipe featuring Randall Beans Kidney Beans