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
I’m so glad you stopped by today! Follow A Pinch of Joy using the icons on the teal bar at the top of the page so you don’t miss a thing! I’d love to have your company on this venture!! Share: if you found this helpful or inspiring please click one of the buttons below! Your support of A Pinch of Joy is appreciated!
Shared with these awesome link parties here
We all change and so does the way we make recipies. Mine has morphed to aways using Bush’s original beans for “Three Bean” but only use one 28 oz can to 1 15 oz each of the lima and kidney. Depending on my mood use 3/4 to 1 pound of each bacon and browned hamburger. Don’t use near that much onion (can’t stand biting into the nasty things!) usually just brown hamburger with 1T of minced onions, salt, and pepper and that covers those seasonings. Chili powder to taste (again depending on my mood but usually close to the full teaspoon.) My recipe also calls for 1/3 cup each white and brown sugars. Hubby is “required” by workers to take this to their quarterly meeting they have if they are accident free. Never have any leftovers!!
Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your new and updated version! And you figured out my sister code! 🙂 Smart cookie! Like that the dish gets used as the reward for no accidents!