Then, I came across this recipe for “Sheboygan Baked Beans” from Sandra Lee, and thought:
“Hmmm, I can work with that!” ermmm, with a few changes, of course. I cut back on the amount of root beer, added a can of red beans, skipped the bacon entirely, but used duck fat to cook the onion.
•1 tbsp duck fat*
•3/4 cup diced sweet onion
•15 oz can baked beans
•16 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
•2 tbsp ketchup
•1 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
•1 tbsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 cup root beer
*No duck fat? Bummer; but bacon fat will work really well here; or butter.
Melt the bacon fat over medium heat, then add the diced onion and sauté until tender, about ten minutes.
Cover and bake at 300º for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover, stir, raise the oven temp to 350º and return the pot (uncovered) to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Remove and let rest for five minutes before serving.
As I noted above, quite nice fresh from the oven, but, as with so very many things, even better when left to cool, stashed in the fridge over night, then reheated the next day.