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17th Street's Tangy Pit Beans

Serves 10 to 15 people Servings
Serves 10 to 15 people Servings


  • 2 tablespoon french
  • 3 cup hunt
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup small to medium green or red pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum or honey
  • 1 cup to 1 1/2 tablespoons magic dust
  • 1 cup large can (28 ounces) pork and beans (such as campbell
  • 1 can (19 ounces) large red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chili beans (such as bush
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) large butter beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) of a fifth bean, your choice, rinsed
  • Chef notes

    These baked beans are the most popular side dish in Mills' restaurants. Their sweet, smoky flavor is an excellent complement to barbecue. Each type of bean has a different texture, so the different varieties used in this recipe make these beans a bit more interesting. At 17th Street and Memphis Championship Barbecue, Mills uses pulled pork instead of bacon to achieve a bit of a smoky taste. You could also bake them with a few already-smoked ribs. Just take four or five already-smoked rib bones, with the meat still attached, and lay them across the top of the beans. Or you can push them down into the beans so they're covered. After baking, pull the meat off the bones, discard the bones, and gently mix the meat back into the beans.


    Baking Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, mix the mustard, ketchup, onion, red or green pepper, brown sugar, sorghum or honey and Magic Dust (see accompanying recipe) well.

    Be sure to work out all of the lumps of brown sugar.

    Add the beans, stirring gently with clean hands or a large spatula; just enough to evenly distribute the mixture.

    Over-mixing will cause the skins of the beans to burst and the consistency will become mushy, more like refried beans, which you don't want.

    Pour into a 9-by-12-inch pan.

    Lay bacon strips across the top.

    Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly.


    Reheats well.

    Will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.

    May also be frozen for up to one month.