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Barbecue Beans

Updated on August 4, 2012

My mother has been making these beans since I was a kid. It became one of the mainstays when we had a barbecue. It would always be these beans paired with my mother's home made potato salad and either hot dogs or hamburgers from the barbecue grill. They're so good sometimes I can just eat them and forget about the barbecued hamburger or hot dogs. And I'm not really a bean eater. This is actually the only way I can eat beans from the can if I make them this way.

I've noticed that with this recipe, the meat loaf recipe and the ghoulash recipe, when heated ketchup takes on a more interesting flavor. When it's baked on top of a meat loaf it takes on a bit of a sweet taste. And it takes on it's own unique taste when combined with Pork and Beans and fried onions. It's something to consider in other recipes that could be given a different flavor by substituting ketchup for tomato paste or tomato sauce.

I actually thought my mother was the only one who made beans like that, but I was staying with a friend, her husband liked to make him B & M baked beans the same way, minus the onions. So it must be an old mainstay recipe people learned from a previous generation.

I've notice the beans are best paired with potato or macaroni salad. Maybe because pasta and beans go together better than cabbage or lettuce and beans. The flavors just seem to enhance each other. And they go perfect with any barbecue main dish. Spare ribs, pork chop, hot dogs or hamburgers.

It's really a quick and easy way of making a can of beans your own. Instead of having that fresh out of the can feel, they feel like you made them yourself. And if your guests aren't aware how you made them, they can think you made them from scratch and ask for the recipe, not realizing the beans came from a can. Just adding fried onions and ketchup and warming them up in a pan takes that whole from the can taste from them. You could try experimenting with other canned foods to give them a home made feel to them. In particular canned vegetables.

The best part is they take such a short time to make. All you have to do is cut up an onion and fry it in the pan. Add a can of beans and some ketchup. Then just wait to it starts to boil, and that's it. They're all done. It will take a lot more effort to make the potato salad of macaroni salad. And the beans will have that home made feel as much as the potato salad you make from scratch.

This particular version of Barbecue Beans was made with vegetarian beans instead of Pork and Beans and you can't notice a difference in the taste. Without the ketchup and fried onions you can really tell the difference between Pork and Beans and Vegetarian Beans. So you can save a few calories by using the Vegetarian Beans in place of the Pork and Beans and no one will be able to tell the difference.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: 8 servings


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cans Pork and Beans or Vegetarian Beans
  • 1 cup ketchup


  1. Dice up onion and fry it in frying pan until golden brown. Add the two cans of beans and ketchup. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil, then remove it from the heat.

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    • howardyoung profile image

      Howard Young 5 years ago from California

      Yum! Almost the same as my Wife's recipe except that she adds bacon.