Shannon’s Cheater Baked Beans for a Crowd

Shannon’s Cheater Baked Beans for a Crowd
Shannon’s Cheater Baked Beans for a Crowd

by Allyson Kenning

My little brother married into a family with a large number of people on its various branches, and my sister-in-law’s parents’ place is quite often the centre of very large family celebrations.

My sister-in-law and her mother also do catering on the side, so they have an awful lot of catering gear – chafing dishes, serving platters, even a heating lamp for keeping roasts warm if they’re having a carving station. They have three fridges and two freezers. Nothing is done on a small scale, and as an extended member of this family group, I go to a lot of their family functions and get to reap the benefits of the massive meals they prepare.

Holidays are always large affairs, of course, but last summer we had something else to celebrate, my little niece’s first birthday. The first grandchild on either side of the family, this was a big deal, and I was happy to make it home for the celebration, which of course, involved enough food to feed the Canadian army, and almost that many people, too! There was a barbeque, and there were a ton of side dishes. One favourite of the members on my side of the family was the baked beans – my dad and my brother love baked beans, and the more homemade, the better.

Aiming to please, baked beans were a part of this family feast. My sister-in-law was willing to share her recipe, and this is it. As you can see, it’s a bit of a “cheater” recipe, containing tins of pork and beans. But still – it works! It’ll feed 25 – 30 as a side dish and is quick to prepare; once the prep is done, you can let it burble away in a slow cooker until serving time.

Shannon’s Cheater Baked Beans for a Crowd

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb bacon, cut up
10 cans beans in tomato sauce, or beans with pork in tomato sauce (i.e. pork & beans)
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 tbsp mustard
½ cup cooking (not fancy) molasses
¼ cup demerara sugar
½ cup beer

1.  Sautee together the onions and bacon until the bacon is cooked & the onion is soft. You can do this either in a dutch oven or in the bottom of a large crock pot that has been turned on high.

2.  Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. If using a dutch oven, let it burble for a couple of hours on low heat. If using a crock pot, put it on high for a couple of hours.

3.  Serve & enjoy!

Allyson Kenning
Allyson Kenning

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share with us that have been handed down from generation to generation? Or a recipe in keeping with the theme of Bread ‘n Molasses? We’d like to hear all about them! Send an email to Kellie at, and she’ll forward them on to me to try out and write about!

Allyson Kenning hails from the mountain town of Rossland, British Columbia, but felt the coast calling in 2011, and she now lives in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey. She has a writing degree from the University of Victoria and a Baking and Pastry Arts diploma from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. For several years now she has been authoring the blog “ReTorte” – – under the pseudonym Wandering Coyote.