1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut in half crosswise
1 large vidalia onion; chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Parsley, torn, to serve, optional
Sourdough bread, to serve, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, cook the bacon (in batches) until the fat renders but the bacon has not quite crisped. Using tongs, remove the bacon from the pot and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper to the rendered bacon fat and cook over medium heat until the pepper is softened and the onion is translucent. Add in the pork and beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ground mustard, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
Bring to a simmer and adjust seasonings, to taste. If you’re using a pot that’s not oven safe, transfer the beans to an oven-safe baking dish.
Cover the beans with the bacon, slightly overlapping the strips if necessary.
Bake, uncovered, until the sauce thickens and the bacon crisps and becomes glazed over, about two hours.
Sprinkle with torn parsley and serve with warm bread.