I’m always saying, “Simple is better!” I have made simple baked beans as a side ever since I began cooking twenty years ago. This recipe came from Beth’s friend Gail Shoup. The dish quickly became the new baked bean side at our house. It is hearty enough for a meal. Garth loves a smoked barbecue sauce that our friend Charlie Nichols makes and brings to him on a regular basis. Garth calls it Charlie-que Sauce! It’s a secret recipe that Charlie got from his grandmother. I use Charlie-que Sauce in these beans because it’s Garth’s favorite, but any thick barbecue sauce will do. Maybe someday I’ll get Charlie’s secret recipe!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 × 13 × 2-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Add the pork and beans, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Crumble the bacon over the top of the casserole. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.