It doesn’t matter if you call them Calico Beans or Trucker Beans, or Cowboy Beans or Prairie Beans, this dish is perfect for a summer barbecue or an autumn tailgate party. This recipe is foolproof and flexible and quick to make! Gather your crockpot for no-work cooking and set all the ingredients on the counter. Pour, stir and cook on low for 3-6 hours. Make it a main dish with a tossed salad for a perfect meal. Take it to a gathering and you won’t be bringing home leftovers because it’s always a hit.
Chips* contributed the recipe to a Quasquicentennial community cookbook where I found it. I have tweaked it — of course!– many different ways and it always turns out tasty! Chips’ family prefers the deeper flavor that comes from baking in a 9x 13 pan for about an hour at 350 F. Chips adds 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon chili powder, though she warns against using beans or BBQ sauce with chili flavor. She also uses Splenda brown sugar and has used ham instead of bacon.
My sister Bee uses Campbell’s pork n beans, but I like Bush’s baked beans because they are “thicker”. (We finally brought her over to Bush’s side as you can tell from the comment below — now we are going to work on the attitude toward onions 🙂 ) Kidney beans, dark or light, it doesn’t matter, but do pick up the low sodium version on your grocery shelf. (Less salt = good for you.) Lima Beans bring a texture, size and color variation to the mix. I sometimes add a can of black beans — still tasty! And so are Great Northern Beans. I have also made it with 2 cans of kidney beans. This is a very forgiving combination! You can get about 12 servings if you use this for a main dish or a side dish. Take it to a gathering and the serving size is more likely to be around 1/2 cup since people are generally also “sampling” other things so you can count on about 25 servings. You already know that this is a great dish for crowds because it will fill your crockpot. And then your family.
* Full Disclosure: Chips’ brother married my sister Kay. Millions of beans were consumed in the evolution of this recipe with no harm done.
** Full Disclosure #2 — reposted from the archives as part of A Pinch of Joy Anniversary celebration!
- 2 cans baked beans, 28 oz each
- 1 16 ounce can red kidney beans, drained (dark or light)
- 1 16 ounce can lima beans, drained (or Great Northern beans, drained)
- 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
- 8 slices bacon, crisped and cut into pieces
- ¼ cup catsup
- ¼ c Barbecue sauce
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp chili powder, optional
- 1 tbsp. mustard, optional
- Spray crockpot
- Brown and drain ground beef and bacon.
- While they are cooking, put all other ingredients into crockpot, turned on low.
- Add cooked meats and stir gently until blended.
- Cook on low for about 3 hours and up to 6 hours.
- OR can also bake at 350 in 9x13 pan, uncovered for 1 hour
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