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Summer is in full swing and that means only one thing, backyard barbecues complete with Root Beer Floats and these sweet and tangy Root Beer Baked Beans!
When I started this blog, I wanted to not only share new recipes I was trying with my friends and family, but I wanted to share the recipes I grew up eating and some of my favorite family memories. You see, like most, a lot of my childhood memories and so many traditions and memories made today, involve food.
From always having seafood gumbo on Thanksgiving weekend and at our family holiday party, to being brave enough to try haggis when we got to travel internationally for the very first time, to marrying into an Italian family and learning how to make manicotti from scratch; I will never forget these moments of my life because of the tastes, smells and people involved.
Another food that can trigger such memories, is A&W® Root Beer! Growing up, soda was a special treat we got to enjoy for special occasions! I have very vivid memories of inviting friends over on a Friday night and having pizza and A&W Root Beer, while watching music videos and trying our best to belt out each and every song.
Then come summer, we would spend our days going to the pool or playing in the backyard, and come home to be surprised by my Mom with Root Beer Floats, made of course with A&W Root Beer!
Today, A&W Root Beer is still a treat and as soon as I open a can and take that first refreshing sip, I am instantly transported back to these moments in my life! I also love that I am creating new memories with my husband and friends, and passing on the love of A&W Root Beer!
Not only are Root Beer Floats a fun treat my husband and I like to enjoy at the end of a much-needed date night, we will serve Root Beer Floats as an easy dessert when we host summer barbecues.
This Root Beer Baked Bean recipe is another backyard barbecue or potluck staple. I created this recipe many, many years ago when we were smoking a brisket for a big family gathering. We of course had A&W Root Beer on hand for those Root Beer Floats and I decided to add some to my baked beans. This recipe for sweet and tangy Root Beer Baked Beans became an instant hit, and not to brag or anything, is one of “those” recipes that everyone asks me to make for barbecues and potlucks.
Recently, we fired up the grill on a sunny, and cooler Sunday and I decided that we didn’t need to wait for a big neighborhood block party or barbecue with friends to make my “famous” Root Beer Baked Beans. So, I picked up all the ingredients while shopping for groceries and grilling supplies at my local Walmart. There, I realized that A&W Root Beer is celebrating 100 years of not only making a delicious sweet drink with that perfect hint of vanilla, but making countless occasions magical and thus creating sweet life long memories.
While my kids are still young, I hope that one day when they look back, they will remember playing in the backyard while Dad fired up the grill and Mom made “famous” Root Beer Baked Beans in the kitchen. And that we gathered around our small patio table as a family to eat dinner, talk and make memories. Memories which include an occasional special summertime treat of Root Beer Floats (made with A&W Root Beer), just like I remember having with my own Mom and Dad many years ago!
What foods remind you of your childhood or other special occasions? Please share in the comments below!
Helpful Tips and Information:
What to serve with Root Beer Baked Beans:
These Root Beer Baked Beans would be great for ANY potluck or backyard barbecue! I’ve served them as a side dish for Slow Cooker Smoked Brisket, baby back ribs, Spicy Grilled Hot Dogs with Bacon Corn Relish and even just plain cheeseburgers!
How to make vegetarian Baked Beans:
While this Root Beer Baked Bean recipe has bacon in it, since I have a number of friends and family members who are vegetarian or don’t eat pork, I have left out the bacon numerous times to make vegetarian baked beans. Even without the bacon, this is still a fantastic baked bean recipe!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5-6 slices reduced sodium bacon, diced (optional, see notes)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 (15-ounce) cans navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 (12-ounce) can A&W Root Beer
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (as needed)
In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add bacon to butter and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Discard bacon grease, leaving about ½ a tablespoon grease in the skillet.
Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add diced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add garlic cloves, paprika, red pepper flakes, celery salt and black pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in beans, ketchup, mustard, barbecue, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and A&W Root Beer. Cook, stirring occasionally, at medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until most, but not all of the liquid has absorbed. If beans become too thick and too much liquid has absorbed, add additional A&W Root Beer as needed.
After simmering, taste and add kosher salt, as needed. Serve at your next backyard barbecue or potluck!