Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Van Camp's Baked Beans Showdown

My friend Tricia at Once A Month Mom posted a fun giveaway recently.  The contest required participants to make both Tricia's baked bean recipe as well as Amy's Baked Beans with a Kick (the recipe of her opponent in the showdown!).  We then were to choose a winner.  I made both for a small get-together yesterday.  Tricia's recipe has fewer ingredients, using canned pork and beans (Van Camps, of course).  The additional flavors come mostly from a lot of bacon, ketchup and brown sugar- all good stuff!  The dish looks very appetizing and would get a lot of takers at a potluck.  It does require 2 1/2 hours of baking time- quite a bit during the hot Texas summer. 

Amy's recipe requires the cook to gather quite a few more ingredients and to precook the bacon.  It seems healthier- the sugar content is a lot less.  It only requires an hour of cooking time, and the recipe suggests that a slow cooker might be used.  The recipe makes quite a large batch, so I halved it.

Here is my analysis of the outcome:  Tricia's beans are sweet and flavorful.  The bacon is tender, and the whole dish is infused with a bacon taste because the bacon cooks with the beans.  Amy's beans had a terrific flavor but seemed drier.  However, side by side, Amy's beans had a more appealing taste. 

In four categories, here are the winners:
1.  Overall taste:  Amy
2.  Appearance:  Tricia
3.  Beans that are calling me back to the fridge a day later:  Tricia
4.  Preparation:  Tie - the ease of preparing Tricia's recipe is negated by the long cooking time

I asked each of my guests to try both recipes and declare a winner.  Because we had a large spread, no one went back for seconds.  So, both dishes had the same amount eaten from them.  All three of my adult guests preferred Amy's recipe.  Keep in mind these are Texans, and they like things spicy.  So, judging by taste alone, I declare Amy's beans to be the winner!  (Sorry Tricia!)

In the future, when I make Amy's beans, I'll definitely use the slow cooker (plugged in outside on the patio) or bake for a shorter time.  Eaten as leftovers they are even more dry.  I'll probably save Tricia's recipe for cooler days and make it as is.  These are both excellent recipes.  Try them both!

The top picture is Amy's beans and the bottom is Tricia's.


Tricia@onceamonthmom.com said...

I'm just so excited to see you participate! I love your review! And I'm glad our friendship didn't sway your taste buds. That's what I love about you. Thanks and good luck!

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Thanks for participating! I find that if I bake them with a lid on for the full time, they don't turn out dry at all... You also might omit one of the cans of beans to make them saucier. :)

HoosierHomemade said...

You did a great job! So glad you could join the fun!