Ryan’s Favorite Beans

Ryan's Favorite Beans

With all the barbecues, potlucks, and family gatherings that will be taking place this weekend, I thought it was time to pull out my classic recipe for a big pot of beefy baked beans. This is a real crowd pleaser and the perfect thing to bring along to a summer potluck.

I love to cook beans from scratch but when I had a house full of little ones, this was the recipe I turned to most. It uses canned beans, is easy as can be, and my little ones loved it. Especially Boy #1, thus the name. This recipe was published on Allrecipes back when he was just 17 years old.  He is 25 now but I think he is just as fond of them as ever.

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The grocery list – 6 slices bacon,1 pound lean ground beef, onion, 2 large cans pork and beans, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can pinto (or other)  beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, liquid smoke flavoring, salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

My original recipe calls for lima beans but I am using pinto beans here. I know lima beans have a bad rap and apparently my local Safeway feels the same way because they don’t stock them anymore. You can use anything you like. Black beans would be wonderful, white beans would be marvelous. Just reach in your cabinet and use whatever you have. But I’m telling you, give lima beans a chance! They are really good in this dish.

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Start by cooking the bacon till nice and crispy in a large Dutch oven.

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Drain and crumble the bacon. Pour off the bacon grease from the bottom the Dutch oven.

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In the same Dutch oven, cook the ground beef and onion till beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. If there is a substantial amount of grease, pour it off. There probably will not be much if you are using lean ground beef.

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You want to keep the liquid in one of the cans of pork and beans but drain the remainder – one can of the pork and beans, the kidney beans, and pinto (or other) beans. Just let them sit in a colander and allow the liquid to drain off. Don’t rinse them.

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Now you can add all of the beans, the ones you have drained and the can of pork and beans with the liquid, into the pot with the meat. Add the crumbled bacon as well.

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Next goes in the barbecue sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir, cover the pot, and transfer it to a 350 degree oven. If you are making this ahead, transfer the mixture to a Crock-Pot set to low.


After an hour in the oven, your house smells heavenly and the beans are ready.


Ryan’s Favorite Beans
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Servings: 12 to 14 servings
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pork and beans, drained
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pork and beans, with liquid
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto, lima or other beans, drained
  • 1-1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bacon in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Drain bacon grease from pot. Place the ground beef and onion in the Dutch oven. Cook until beef is evenly brown and onion is tender. Drain grease if necessary.
  3. Return bacon to the Dutch oven. Mix in the drained pork and beans, pork and beans with liquid, kidney beans, and pinto or other beans. Stir in the barbeque sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover Dutch oven, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven.
  5. Transfer any leftovers to a freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Crock-Pot Method: Instead of baking in the oven, transfer the mixture to your Crock-Pot set to low. Cover and allow to cook for 3 to 5 hours.


  1. says

    Now that’s a pot of beans! I love beans like this! Sounds like a great side to go with a smoked pork butt. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. says

    Mmm! I can’t remember the last time I had baked beans… like, really good baked beans. these sound so incredible! All these BBQ recipes are getting me in the mood for grilling… now I just need to buy myself a grill, haha!

  3. says

    Hi Valerie! Oh this looks so good! I like beans but my husband and kids are not so into it. I always eat some beans dish outside the home but one day I want my family to enjoy beans like this one! Comforting and delicious… I might try with like 1/3 or 1/2 portion otherwise I’d end up eating it whole week. lol.

  4. RoadLord says

    I like to doctor up baked beans (Bush’s, natcherly) with smoked sausage, onions, and jalapenos, sometimes with some chili flakes and a splash o’ tequila. These look great, and I can’t wait to try them.

  5. CathyP says

    We call these Calico Beans in our family and I have been making them for years…they are always a big hit at potlucks and are often requested. I have also shared this recipe many times and it always gets rave reviews any where it is served!!

  6. Brenda says

    I make something like this but use hot links (Hillshire brand) halved or quartered, chopped bell pepper, jalapeño, Anaheim chili, Worcestershire sauce, & more brown sugar. You can control the spiciness of this by using more or less chilies. My beans were requested every time there was a get together.

  7. Connie Trickey says

    This is a recipe our family has used for years. We call it “Calico Beans” because of all the colors of the different beans used. We also put Garbanzo beans in ours as well as the Limas and (two colors of) Kidneys. A variation you can use also is to change the meat. Hamburger/ground round is typically used, but ground sausage mixed with ground turkey gives it a different flavor; plus you can make it a bit spicy if you use the spicier sausage. This is a great dish for the crockpot also and served with cornbread, makes an excellent cold weather supper.

  8. Rochell says

    I have been making my Baked Beans this way for yours.
    They are my Ryan’s favorite also.
    I add a small squeeze of mustard (adds just a little zing to it), parsley, chives (both dried), and a pinch of garlic powder.
    Awesome beans!!!!

    • says

      Romano beans are a completely different type of bean and I don’t think they would work very well in this recipe. I think you’d be better off looking for a recipe more suitable for green beans.


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