Growing up, one of my favorite dishes was my dad’s baked beans. He would take a can of plain old Van De Camp baked beans (with or without weenies) and jazz them up with brown sugar, salt, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and probably one or two other things I’m forgetting. They were sweet and tangy and zesty, and they started me on a lifelong love affair with beans.
It’s weird, I don’t know many other people who like beans to the degree that I do. They’re just a great go-to side, and I find even meh baked beans are usually OK by me. But why settle for meh beans when there are such a variety of flavorful beans being sold at grocery stores these days?
I saw these colorful cans of Serious Bean Company beans start popping up at my local grocer a few months ago. Most of the flavors are obviously meant for spicy food aficionados (buffalo sauce, chipotle, jalapeno bacon), and those are pretty good, but the ones that really caught my attention are the two in the picture: Southern Mustard-Q and Dr. Pepper.
First, let’s talk about the Dr. Pepper beans, which are, to be honest, SO sweet. Loads of brown sugar sweetness permeates this batch. Apparently Dr. Pepper BBQ (sauce, beans, ribs, etc.) are a southern thing, because I never heard of it where I’m from in the midwest. It works for me, though: The syrupy sweetness purportedly mixed with the actual 23 flavors of the classic soda really does call to mind a Dr. Pepper. If you don’t like sweet beans, you’ll probably think these are gross.
In a similar fashion, if you don’t like tangy mustard, you’ll probably think the Southern Mustard-Q beans are gross, too. That said, though, if you DO like the idea of tangy, spicy, zesty mustard with pepper, cider vinegar, and hot sauce, these are a treat. Of course, they’re also the hardest flavor to find in my local stores. They’re a must-buy when I do see them, though. I recently got into mustard BBQ sauces, and this is a good enough mustard BBQ flavor that I wish I could buy just the sauce itself. That said, I’m not complaining that there are beans involved. I’ll take the beans anytime.
It’s also worth noting these beans are vegan and gluten free, don’t contain any high fructose corn syrup, and are packaged in non-BPA-lined cans (really, everything ought to be at this point). If you’re a beaniac like me, I recommend picking up a few cans of these if you see them at your local store. There’s apparently a cracked black pepper flavor out there that I haven’t seen or tried yet, but I’m excited to check them out.